Vlatko Sekulović, Lawyer and Owner of the Sekulović Law Office

Local Office – Globally Networked

The globalisation process has also encompassed the legal industry, but it will never be able to completely replace the local approach, familiarity with specific laws, the presence of legal practitioners on the ground and integral inclusion in the legal life of the state

The Sekulović Law Office has earned the trust of the Italian Embassy in Belgrade and the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

Its owner, renowned lawyer Vlatko Sekulovć, stresses at the very beginning of this interview that the legal profession is “a profession that has its status guaranteed by the highest legal act, the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and Article 67, which regulates legal aid, guaranteeing one of the basic human rights, that to defence, and advocacy, in the broader sense, is defined as an instrument to protect that right.”

“Legal services, however, are not limited only to providing services related to personal rights, i.e. the rights of private individuals, but rather are related in great measure to legal services provided to legal entities. In relations between the lawyer and the client, it must be considered that it is subsequently regulated by special laws, the most important of which is the Law on Advocacy. This relationship is considered confidential and sui generis and enjoys special legal protection with a rationale derived from the basic right to defence in criminal matters, but then also relates to other issues that may arise in practice. In addition to the law, there is also the Code of Professional Ethics for Lawyers in Serbia, which is fully harmonised with the Code of Conduct for Lawyers in the European Union. It can thus be said that the Serbian legal sector, according to its standards and rules, is part of the European legal space. Of course, these acts represent the framework within which each lawyer must move, but the quality of relations between attorneys and clients depends on the extent to which the individual attorney adheres to these rules.”

Foreign investors in Serbia require a complex approach to contemporary law, which simultaneously also requires narrow specialisation, knowledge and experience

Which specific problems requiring specialised legal teams do Italian investors in Serbia face?

– The trend of specialisation in legal practice has been present around the world for decades and has also emerged in our country in recent years. The causes are numerous, but we can conclude that the development of economics and technological solutions – if we’re referring to “economic law” in the broadest possible sense – has led to an increase in the number of codified rules.

Thus, for example, areas that didn’t exist just a few decades ago, such as so-called “rights in electronic commerce”, have developed due to the development of the internet, and that has happened in many other areas that didn’t previously need regulating. The proliferation of norms leads to the impossibility of a lawyer being sufficiently familiar with all areas of law, such that, besides the classical division between civil and criminal law, in terms of professionalisation, specialisation has also emerged for certain branches of civil law, including economic law. Thus, it’s not so much about specific problems faced by individual investors, rather the complexity of contemporary law, which requires a lawyer’s specialisation, knowledge and experience.

What is your view on the linking of local law offices with those from other countries?

– There are law offices in Serbia today that are linked with partners abroad in various ways, from full integration into their system to business cooperation in terms of client referrals. And in this case, it’s about a general consolidation trend on the domestic market, but also globally.

The process of globalisation has somehow also encompassed the legal industry, but it will never be able to completely replace the local approach, familiarity with specific laws, the presence of legal practitioners on the ground and integral inclusion in the legal life of individual countries. So, according to my understanding, the future of the legal profession is in networking, but also in integration, though this profession – due to its specificity, especially in criminal law – will have its autochthonous ness at the national level.