“We were interested in politics and in all new developments at that time. We did not want to stay aside.”
In the early 1990s, Jaromír Císař mainly focused on the history of law, while Pavel Smutný spent more effort on international relations and organisations. “We were interested in politics and in all new developments at that time. We did not want to stay aside,” recalls Jaromír Císař. “I was very clearly aware of wanting to work full stretch but staying completely free and independent,” adds Pavel Smutný.
Institut pro studium demokracie [the Democracy Studies Institute] was to become the platform for their pursuits. But it was obvious that in the emerging market environment, they needed money even for such an enlightening and commendable activity. “We said: OK, we are lawyers, the fastest way to make money is to open our own practice,” Jaromír Císař describes the decision, with Pavel Smutný seconding. They envisaged building a high-profile and influential law firm since the very beginning but its success has surpassed even their own expectations.
A short time from the Velvet Revolution in 1989, not only solicitors but also ‘commercial lawyers’ provided legal services. Jaromír Císař and Pavel Smutný actually were commercial lawyers in their initial years. First, they founded a firm called Juris Consult together with Otomar Boček, the Supreme Court ex-president and academic, who was also involved in ‘rehabilitation cases’. Unfortunately, Mr Boček died soon after the firm was established. “We didn’t know how to treat this sad and unpleasant occurrence. We were 32 and needed somebody experienced to join us. And then we remembered our most favoured professor,” Pavel Smutný smiles.