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Ondřej Dolenský

Lawyer, Real Estate

"For me, the best lesson or takeaway is that working at a big law firm can seem scary at first, but once you get to know your colleagues and learn some of the basics, you'll find that there is nothing to be afraid of because you can rely on help from others and enjoy working with your colleagues on interesting matters."

Life at Clifford Chance 

My career at Clifford Chance began in July 2017 when I joined our Prague real estate team as a paralegal. This was just after I returned from my one-year studies abroad at the University of Sheffield. After graduating from the Faculty of Law of Charles University in 2018, I was offered a position as a junior lawyer, which I gladly accepted. Over the following three years, I worked on interesting and challenging matters, while also studying for the Czech bar exams, which I successfully passed in April 2022. Following the exams, I was promoted to the role of Associate and continued to work for the real estate practice in Prague. 

The work 

What I like most about my job is that I get to meet really smart people, whether they are clients, counterparties, or colleagues. I also really appreciate that the people at Clifford Chance provide support and allow you to grow. When you are early in your career and at this type of law firm, you can get pretty nervous and can easily get stressed. Despite this, I have experienced the support of colleagues who have enabled me to continually grow and develop my skills in areas that I am interested in. 

I've worked on many deals, but one exciting deal that I have worked on recently involved a sale of an office and retail building in Prague. Our client had been planning and developing the launch of the building over a few years and the finished building project is architecturally very impressive and contains some interesting artwork. 

The sale itself was really challenging and complex as the building had been completed only recently and it was necessary to incorporate this fact into the transaction documentation. At the same time, the deadlines were really challenging. For me personally, it was nice to be involved in the transaction from the very beginning and to have the opportunity to participate in the drafting and negotiation of the most important documents. 

Culture and environment 

As you can probably imagine, I was a little worried about the culture and atmosphere at Clifford Chance before I started to work here, as the work is demanding, and I was afraid that the culture would be too competitive. However, I was pleasantly surprised because I found out that it is not the case. I find Clifford Chance and, in particular, our real estate team to be very welcoming, friendly, supportive and collaborative. 

Learning and key skills 

Well, there are many skills that I have developed at Clifford Chance that have proved invaluable to my career. First of all, I have improved my attention to detail, which I consider crucial for a lawyer. Further, you need to be organised and develop the ability to work under pressure as deadlines might be sometimes quite challenging. At the same time, it is crucial to bear in mind that you are working for your client, and therefore commercial awareness is one of the skills that I am still working on and trying to develop. Last but not least, I have learned how to work in a team, and I am really happy that I can always rely on my colleagues. 

My advice 

For anyone considering a career within the legal sector, take into account that the legal sector requires a constant need to learn. As a result, it is not enough to pass the exams and then practice law, but one must constantly keep up to date with the latest developments in the respective area of expertise.

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