“Prague never lets you go… this dear little mother has sharp claws” – Franz Kafka
The timing of this issue, with its Market Spotlight on the Czech Republic, is fortuitous, as after three years of living in this wonderful country, I find myself moving back to CEE Legal Matters’ Budapest base. The coincidental timing of the issue, then, provides me with the opportunity to reflect on my time here.
I have found Prague, to my delight, to be a pragmatic, clear-eyed city, despite its famously beautiful architecture. Few Czechs claim that history has been particularly unfair to them, and a similarly small proportion believe the Czech Republic basks in divine purpose. As fitting for the only country in Central and Eastern Europe reporting a majority atheist population – the country that elected a poet after the end of Communism and experienced national dissolution that was famously peaceful and respectful – the Czechs tend to have a rational and healthy understanding of their role in European and world affairs. And yet, there should be no mistake: With globally recognized names like Dvorak, Smetana, Havel, Kundera, Kafka, Foreman, Lendl, Jagr, and Navratilova, this land of intellectuals and poets, of athletes and artists, consistently hits above its weight.
The law firms and lawyers in the Czech capital admirably reflect the national character. As the article on the state of the Czech market in this issue demonstrates, the leading lawyers in the country are cautiously enjoying good times while keeping a careful eye on the future. And the lawyers and the law firm marketing experts I have had the pleasure to work closely with have been helpful, accommodating, and generous with their time. I have made good friends in this country, and I leave reluctantly. I hope to come back, often. Dekuji, Praha, a na shledanou!
Of course, I’m also heading back to the land of Erno Rubik, Franz Liszt, Bela Bartok, Harry Houdini, Laszlo Biro, and Ferenc Puskas. So jo napot, Budapest!
As far as updates go, I’m aware that many of our editorials focus on bringing our readers up to speed on changes and improvements, new features and events, developments and plans. Some of that certainly exists now – the 2017 GC Summit and the Market Makers event (summaries to follow in future issues) will take place at the end of May, and planning for the first-ever Hungary Summit, scheduled for the first week of October, is well under way as well.
But I’m also happy to report that we’re also, simply, moving forward with confidence and enthusiasm. The as-of-this-year-monthly issues of the CEE Legal Matters magazine are packed with content, and our new features – including Marketing Law Firm Marketing, which appears in this issue – blend nicely with traditional favorites like The Buzz, Experts Review, and the Table of Deals. We remain proud of our contribution to the CEE legal landscape.
Of course, putting together eight regular issues and four special issues of the magazine, three major events each year, and a website featuring multiple updates each day is a lot of work – and, as we learn of new ways to put our services and publications to use for the lawyers and law firms of Central and Eastern Europe, that workload seems to be increasing almost every day.
But it is also a treat. What a pleasure, to be doing what we want to be doing and to be working among so many good people across this fascinating part of the world. There’s nothing else we’d rather be doing.