Jan Tibor Lelley is an authority on labour and employment law with excellent experience in the full range of HR issues.
Dr Jan Tibor Lelley LLM (Suffolk) is a partner with Buse Heberer Fromm. Jan works exclusively on labour and employment law cases. With more than 20 years of professional experience, he advises employers and HR executives on the full range of HR-related legal issues and key areas. Clients regularly trust Jan with their most challenging, complex and high-risk matters and negotiations with works councils, unions and representation in the courts.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I think it has probably been a coincidence – but a lucky one! I was looking for an opportunity to work with real people, and also to do work that has an impact on society and the world. I quickly found out the law allows you to have all that and even more: you really can make a difference.
What did you find most challenging about entering the field of labour and employment?
You find out rather quickly that even an excellent academic background and an outstanding legal training can only be the first step. Labour and employment is a legal field of course, and at the same time it is really the business of people. Relationships count a lot. Those relationships, one needs to develop over time.
What is the most memorable case you have worked on and why?
It was a high-profile restructuring case that ended up in a high-stakes, very aggressive litigation with broad media attention. I managed to secure a verdict which my clients were very much satisfied with. The case and the whole set-up taught me again that today’s important cases are not just won in the courtroom; they are, at the same time, fought in the public space, on social media, etc. An attorney has to handle both worlds.
What are the greatest challenges currently facing labour and employment lawyers in Germany?
Although you hear it so often, I still believe it is true: the greatest challenge is the rapidly
changing technological environment. I’m sure that we will find out only in 10 or 15 years from now what this really means. In particular what the digital revolution means for people’s employment relationships and therefore for employment lawyers.
How does Buse Heberer Fromm ensure it stands out from other firms in the market?
We believe in ESP: excellence, speedy advice, and plain language. And we have women in 40% to 50% of our partner and senior attorney positions, without having to push for it.
How is the generational shift changing legal practice at your firm? What do younger lawyers do differently?
They appreciate teamwork – not a traditional strength for lawyers. I see that many of our young colleagues like to work independently, and they are dedicated and focused on the firm’s goals. As digital natives they grew up with technology that now shapes the work of law firms. This allows them a high degree of efficiency.
What is the best piece of career advice you have received?
As a trainee lawyer I heard the phrase: “Always assume that the others are at least as good and as well prepared as you are.” That habit served me well.