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The CEELMDirect Profile Pick: An Interview with Djordje Novcic of JPM

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CEELMDirect Profile Pick: A series of interviews with partners and firms with profiles on the new CEELMDirect online legal directory. Today’s interview: Djordje Novcic, Partner at JPM.

CEELMDirectAccording to your CEELMDirect profile, you specialize in Dispute Resolution at JPM. Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

Novcic: I have been a part of JPM's team for the last 15 years. I started as a Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution team and, after five years, I was promoted to Partner and made the Head of the Dispute Resolution team. Since my childhood, I have always been interested in finding a solution to problems that involved more than one person. To my mind, any problem can be solved if the parties have the will to discuss the issue at hand. At the same time, I am against resolutions that serve to benefit only one party, as settlements need to be fair and just.

With that in mind, you can imagine my work in JPM has been, and still is, a fantastic ride. Honestly, I enjoy every day of it. Most of my work comes from commercial disputes that are brought before the Serbian Commercial Court. However, my work related to advising and representing clients in arbitration has significantly increased in the last five years, as it appears Serbian companies enjoy the advantages arbitration has over proceedings before local courts. That is something I am particularly proud of as a member of Belgrade Arbitration Centre’s working group for promoting arbitration in Serbia.

CEELMDirectTell us more about the Dispute Resolution team at JPM. 

Novcic: JPM’s Dispute Resolution team has ten lawyers, in three teams covering commercial disputes and arbitration, civil disputes, and white-collar crime. I’m proud to note that my colleagues are among the most experienced and appreciated in the Serbian market. We represent clients in almost every industry and sector, from emerging start-ups in growth industries to established heavyweights in more mature markets.

CEELMDirectTell us a bit about the judicial system in Serbia. In your opinion, is it reliable, efficient, transparent? Are there problems you would like to see addressed?

Novcic: In general, the judicial system in Serbia can be perceived as fair and transparent, especially when it comes to proceedings in Serbia's Commercial Courts. There is always the issue of efficiency – i.e., the duration of proceedings. Truth be told, it has significantly improved over the last decade, especially after introducing the concept of time duration for the proceedings, where, at the very beginning of the proceedings, the parties and the court set forth a timetable of the events to be undertaken, as well as specific dates for each event. At the same time, I am of the opinion that there remain a lot of things to be enhanced and refined, like appointing and educating judges with special fields of expertise, introducing paperless proceedings, and also enhancing the involvement of advocacy in resolving the problems of the legal community.

CEELMDirect: What drew you into the law? Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

Novcic: When I look back, it appears there was never a different choice for me. Coming from a family of legal professionals, I was first surrounded by and then very curious about the work my close family members did. I remember Sunday lunches where we discussed interesting points from well-known cases, often leading to an argument without general consent. Now, we agree to keep these kinds of discussions away from Sunday lunches.

CEELMDirectOn a personal note, what do you like to do when you’re out of the office? What other passions/interests do you enjoy?

Novcic: Aside from my work, I enjoy spending time with my family. We are all very much into sports, from weekend walks in the park to winter skiing or summer paddle boarding. Every now and then, my wife and I try to find time to hang out with our friends or enjoy a concert.

CEELMDirectFinally, you have a Premium profile on the CEELMDirect platform. What potential do you think the platform has to help you and your colleagues? 

Novcic: The platform seems to be a great place to share experiences with the regional law community. We are happy for the opportunity to follow professional developments in other jurisdictions and compare those to the work in Serbia. I find this exchange both interesting and valuable.

CEELMDirect: Thank you, Djordje, and enjoy the rest of your summer!