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‘Enjoy the journey, everything usually works out better than one thinks’

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Tamara Martirosyan of TK & Partners talks to IFLR1000 about her experiences as a young lawyer in Armenia

Senior associate Tamara Martirosyan joined TK & Partners in 2016 from an in-house counsel position, having earlier completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from the French University in Armenia. Her main areas of practice include corporate and companies law, business law, as well as legal servicing of public-private partnership projects. She speaks exclusively to IFLR1000 as part of its Young Lawyer Interview Series.

Tell us about your career background

I started my career as a junior lawyer at the largest telecommunication company in Armenia during 2015. I was offered the job after successfully completing a two-month internship. Looking back, the experience was particularly valuable for me – as this was the first time that I had the chance to see how the law was used and interpreted in real life, and most importantly, what impact it had on people’s lives.

I later joined TK & Partners in 2016, having accepted the job offer from my academic professor – who was also the managing partner at the firm! Over the last four years, I have gradually been promoted to reach the position of senior associate – becoming the youngest one in the process.

In parallel to my legal career, I have recently started my teaching career and currently serve as a teaching assistant to the professor of the business course in my alma mater, the French University in Armenia.

What does a typical working day involve?

I must warn this differs from what is often presented in the movies or series involving lawyers – even though those can be extremely interesting! Although I am a licensed attorney, the representation of clients’ interests in court is not my main practice, and I spend the majority of my time in the office or in meetings with clients.

For me, early mornings at work start with writing down and prioritising the ‘to-do’ list for that day – accompanied by a cup of coffee, of course. Writing down the list in the morning helps me get into my ‘work mood’ and helps clarify the tasks that should be completed during the day. However, quite often, the day does not go as planned – and I have to adapt as I get multiple calls from clients who have urgent matters to resolve or require help with.

Depending on the tasks ahead, I usually tend to finish the most complicated assignments in the first half of the day, and leave the quick assignments for later on. In case an assignment includes deep legal research, I tend to start working on it early in the morning, prior to when the workday starts and prior to the moment when I start getting those ‘urgent’ calls and emails. In the event that I have a court hearing or a meeting with a client, I always dedicate the morning to preparation.

I often end my work day by following up on pending cases or assignments.

What is the most exciting aspect of your role?

I would say the cases or assignments that require creativity – where I can propose innovative, ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions – as well as the diversity of the clients and their areas of practice.

I would also mention that an exciting part of this role is being both a ‘student’ when it comes to working in the team with the partners of the firm, as well as a ‘mentor or a teacher’, when working with more junior associates at the firm.

What is the most stressful part of your role?

Perhaps the responsibility to live up to the high standards of work set by TK & Partners! This is especially true when considering that the firm works with high profile clients who require high quality and timely legal advice.

Tight deadlines, accompanied with the requirement of providing extremely detailed work, are also stressful. Moreover, trying to maintain a healthy work–life balance also becomes difficult!

Any advice you would give your younger self?

To worry less and do more! To read and read, more and more. Also – to just enjoy the journey, as everything usually works out better than one thinks.

What would you do if you weren't a lawyer?

I am very much interested in psychology and photography. If not law, perhaps I would be a psychologist, or a photographer, or even both!

How do you unwind after a hard day's work?

I am convinced that physical activities are the best way to unwind after a hard day’s work, so I try my best to find time to visit the gym, or simply just go for a long walk. This helps me to ‘restart’ and get ready for a new day and its challenges.