On a warm day of June we entered for the first time the headquarters of Frunza&Asociatii. The entrance portico, part of the elegant architecture from the neighborhood where the law firm operates, introduces us to an intimate atmosphere, as friendly as the people that I am about to meet inside.
“Time is money” is a quotation for many law firms but here, at Frunza&Asociatii, I was about to discover another core values. “Above money there is the satisfaction brought by success. The client who pays the bill has to be pleased by the services you provide. Being wealthy, as a lawyer, implies being competent and famous. If you are not a good lawyer, nobody asks for your services, you don’t get paid and you soon give up the job.” Says Mr. Gabriel Azoitei, consultant for Frunza&Asociatii.
The first conclusion emerging from my discussion with Mrs.Aniela Burlacu, partner at Frunza &Asociatii, is that this law firm has an ethical structure engraved deeply in its DNA. Fifteen years ago, Carmen Frunza started her own law firm and up to 2011 she gathered around her a lot of skilled lawyers with whom she founded Frunza&Asociatii Law Firm.
For Aniela Burlacu and her colleagues, she is a true role model and a cornerstone of excellence and rectitude. “What motivates me in my profession is the team which I belong to, consisted in time, after a very severe recruiting process. There is a strong harmony between us and we are very keen on what we do. We share the same values and we keep improving ourselves, coordinated by our main partner, Mrs.Frunza.”
Mrs.Frunza’s record means a long list of wins in court in both civil and commercial law, seminars and conferences of financial and community law and even publishing in Law Magazine.
From her accomplishments we quote a specialization in European Structural Funds (Bruxelles, 2007), publishing The Complete Guide for Foreign Investors (2009), requested by a government agency from Japan and graduating the mediation classes organized by Pro Medierea Association (2010). This last accomplishment lead to the foundation of a Mediation and Negotiation Department of the law firm.
Expertise and Excellence
At this moment, says Mr.Gabriel Azoitei, there are 5 lawyers working at Frunza&Asociatii. A young expanding team. The access criteria? Competence. “You have to know labor law, civil law, tax law, commercial and company law by heart, you must have a good reputation and to be a great team player. It’s hard to work for a company like Frunza&Asociatii because the demanding is huge and success is a daily request.”
Aniela Burlacu is one of these professionals. She is a partner and runs the Legal Advice department, but is also present in court or at the negotiations implied. She graduated both Law School and Finance, Insurance, Banking and Accounting at ASE, after she previously studied Economics in London. “I started my carrer with Mrs.Frunza as a collaborator and, after a lot of hard work, we founded together the law firm.”
The road is more important than the destination
The enthusiasm on her face makes me ask what keeps her motivated. “I love justice, I am fulfilled when I help my clients solve their problems, it’s part of my personal pride of being a good professional. I enjoy being challenged: efficiency, speed of thought, knowing the human psychology. You often work hard trying to solve a problem, and this effort is more important than the stake itself.”
Mrs.Burlacu’s statement reminds me of a Zen saying: “The Obstacle is the Way.” As Mr. Gabriel Azoitei said, every sacrifice is worth doing, as the reward comes sooner or later. Aniela Burlacu agrees: Being a lawyer is a complex job which brings a lot of satisfactions. A good lawyer is a good psychologist, a good team leader, a righteous man. All in all, this is what matters the most. Some challenges get the best out of us but they can get the worst as well, it depends on the education of each lawyer and the way they choose to work.”
Big companies call Frunza &Asociatii
Many years of experience enriched the clients portfolio with big companies like The National Company ”Administratia Porturilor Maritime” S.A Constanta, Academica Medical Center, The National Centre of Cinematography, The National Company of Airports Bucuresti Otopeni and Baneasa, Mitsubishi, Red Cross National Company, Portico Association, and many more societies with hundreds of employees.
“What recommends us is the determination with which we conduct the tasks we are assigned. The progress from a small law firm to a big society naturally followed the big amount of requests and the satisfaction of our clients. We are in a full process of expansion regarding both the clients and the partners”, explains Azoitei.
Working for the people behind the stories
“We are keen on people, this is our premise when we start any activity, because, behind any case we are assigned, there are people who have stories to tell, and these stories become the center of our concern. This is how we get further recommended, by a select clientele.”
“We take on just the causes we believe in”
We are not only recommended by the passion we imply, but by our know-how as well, and the continuous improvement of the lawyers from Frunza&Asociatii. “We learn something new from every case and every client that we have. Communication is vital, and the challenges force us to grow. This is why we only accept to support the causes we believe in and, the most important is that we don’t betray our core values.” Says Mrs.Aniela Burlacu.
Passionate lawyers who never stop learning
The Civil Code is now adapted to the requests of the society we live in, including the specific language and the solutions of some problems. It also includes the Family Code and the Commercial Code and these three different domains need to be blended in a harmonious way. Regarding The Civil Code Procedures, the cases are solved faster now, due to the mediation process. This occurs before the case goes to court and it can lead to a faster solution between the parts. All these changes force us to keep learning and improving ourselves.
The main obstacles of our profession
“We face bureaucracy where it shouldn’t exist. Authorities often impose bureaucratic barriers although there is the availability to solve the problems from both the litigants and their parts. For example, in order to found a company, one has to take a lot of steps, according to the activity of the future company. There are permits and licenses to be obtained and it takes a lot of time, even if these problems could be solved faster. Afterwards, time in court is another problem. Terms are not shorter than a month or two. So, basically, it takes a lot of time to solve a litigation, even if the Constitution guarantees the settlement process in a reasonable time.”
“Our objective is excellence”
We disembarked at Frunza&Asociatii during the working hours, therefore I cannot help myself asking Aniela Burlacu how does she manage to succeed in both her career and her family life. “I work around 10-11 hours a day. Nevertheless, I also spend time with my family. It’s important to find the perfect balance between the career and family. In both directions I follow the priceless advice Carmen Frunza gave me: Excellence must be your objective!”. A noble thought, which summarizes the work philosophy of the great people from Frunza&Asociatii.