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Interview with graduate of BPP University and managing partner of CIS London & Partners Svetlana Landen

Svetlana, preparing to interview You, I read that You have the skills of a lawyer and a lawyer in Russia and solicitor in the UK and You are the managing partner of CIS London & Partners in 2014. Could you tell us a little about your professional development?

In Russia, I received a law degree in Moscow state University. University. Starting from the second year, I worked while in school. When due to certain life circumstances, I moved to England, I have a problem to understand how works here the legal market. And friends, who at that time studied at CDF, advised that it is done with University and start with GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), since GDL is the most convenient way of converting Russian diploma in English law degree. In the end, in England, I received three diplomas: GDL, LPC and LLM (Professional Legal Practice) have been trained on BPP.

In what area of law You specializiruetsya? What projects are You working on?

My main specialization – support for international companies and foreign investors that conduct business in Russia and the CIS, and the second is to work with clients from Russia, which exercise their commercial projects in Europe, Asia and the USA.

A key project for today is a CIS London & Partners. We position ourselves as a Russian or CIS firm in the heart of legal London, which is unique in the legal market. Basically, our task is to give an opportunity to the international companies (given the fact that most of them present in this financial center) to the Council under the Russian law and law of the CIS countries in London.

It turns out that You are working with Russian clients who want to establish their presence, for example, in the business market in the UK, and also You are helping the British partners, and customers who want to place on the Russian market?

Yes, but I would add that we work not only with British and Russian clients. We assist American, European, Asian customers who come to the Russian market, or organize a business in CIS countries. Our clients appreciate that the team of specialists on Russian law and law of the CIS countries available in London.

What do You like most about Your job? The least?

I specializies in the Russian law. And I like it! Because this is the rare case when you can do what you love, despite the change of residence. It really is a unique opportunity, especially in the legal field. The legal systems of various countries differ significantly, so for me to continue to engage Russian law is a privilege in a sense.

The least... for me Personally, the most difficult area is financial management. It requires specialized skills and different - "non-legal" way of thinking.

Going back to the beginning when You told about your choice of programs, what were Your expectations of studying at University? What would you like to obtain from the educational process and lived up to Your expectations?

My original goal was to understand English law. Accordingly, I went to study in CDF it is to get basic training on English law. From my point of view, it is absolutely justified. And after some time on the basis of the knowledge that I have formed, I passed the QLTS exam (Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme) and obtained the title of solicitor. I was very pleased, because on the one hand, showed that I was able to achieve this goal, and, on the other hand, successfully pass an independent evaluation at delivery of the QLTS.

Before You started your studies at CDF have you had the experience of learning in the Russian University. What are the main differences between the educational systems in the field of law? What was the most difficult or striking in the transition from one training system to another?

This is a trick question (Svetlana smiles), because, on the one hand, there were large differences, and, on the other hand, were professional growth through a certain experience, to another experience starts to feel differently. My Russian education I have gained in one of the best universities in Russia. For the most part it was a classical education which became the good basis and the right basis for further development in the profession. With regard to education in the CDF - this was a completely new experience. Was a stark contrast between oral exams, to which I am accustomed in Russia, and written examinations taken in the English system of education. In the end the exams at BPP taught me a lot: I sometimes joke that you long to teach English; but, when you teach favorite thing in the English language, you learn a language in 10 times faster. In the framework of the training program GDL I have witnessed a significant growth in terms of knowledge of foreign language, English becomes a tool to achieve the goal.

The second aspect is education BPP is indeed a practical education. Me educational approach CDF coincided!

I can conclude that Your training helped You to prepare well and feel that You are ready for professional activities, that has all the necessary skills, knowledge, competence?

Yes. My task was to practice in London the Russian law. Education in England gave me the confidence that working with British law firms who have no Russian, Moscow offices, that is, speaking on a number of projects in the Russian offices, at their request, we understand what are based solicitors. And when we are working, representing the interests of our clients from Russia or the CIS in a team of British lawyers, I have confidence that we are on the same level with these professionals.

What are Your most vivid and memorable experiences from studying at the University of CDF?

What was the most memorable... In the UK I studied part-time, combining study and work. So, perhaps, the end of the LPC was a memorable moment. I was convinced that the English education is worth investing the time and effort. And my expectations and investments in education in England was fully justified.

What are the benefits of learning in London, You could call?

London is a special place!

In my opinion, this place is one of the most dynamic financial centres in the world. The people here are "adapted" to the fact that in parallel with the fact that they are interesting as individuals, they are developed as professionals. The experience of studying in London is an opportunity to dive into this environment, to see how it works, to build some connections and relationships, which then will be very helpful even when returning to Russia.

What was your first job in London? You find it difficult to find the first job?

The first few years after arrival in the country I was working as consultant for Russian law in the North of England. In 2010 he formed the decision and the opportunity to create a Russian law firm in London. This in a sense was the job search, but not with sending resumes and interviews, and writing a business plan, with a fascinating search for a suitable office (in the end we "settled" in the old Staple Inn, "in the heart of legal London") and making the first steps on the market.

What advice can You give to students who decide to study the right in the UK?

I often talk to lawyers that are going to make that decision, and are happy to share their experiences. A qualification in England - it is a way to reach a new professional level in an international environment. One way or another any market is tied to international projects, and this in particular applies to Russia and the CIS. Refresher training promoting professional to constantly evolve. If it was something that I could pass in CDF as a lawyer, I could learn more. So I am proud that after studying BPP and my company CIS London & Partners made MBA program for lawyers, which we are already looking beyond legal skills. This is the next step in the formation of the business skills of lawyers as practicing professionals doing business or qualified to help the businesses that they follow.

My advice: continue to develop and believe in themselves. Education in another country, in a foreign language is a completely different experience... and difficult step. But when it do, I would say from my own experience, over time, becomes easier.

I wish the students who make this choice, good luck, strength and, most importantly, to enjoy the learning process!

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