Vladimir , good afternoon! Say: Have you known since your childhood that you will be a lawyer, or did this decision come at a later age?
Hello. Every child has so many dreams to become somebody in future. For example, at an early age I wanted to become an ice cream seller. How could a child refused in his years from such a dream? Having grown up a little, I was carried away by the romance of the police service, and the examples of my closest relatives had their influence. My uncle, my father’s elder brother, was an officer, and my older cousin graduated from the Higher School of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and served as an investigator. So there was someone to navigate. I quite consciously decided to become an officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and serve in the investigative bodies.
Was it difficult to determine the specialization? Have you had internal conflicts when you like questions from completely different industries, and it is not clear what to do?
I cannot say that I had some unusual way of life. My career developed very simply. First, after graduating from the Higher Political School of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR in Leningrad (today it is the St. Petersburg Military Institute of the National Guard, a former institute of internal troops), I received an officer’s rank and went to serve as an investigator in the bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Then, having received the necessary experience, worked as a judge, and then became an advocate. It is the work of an advocate that I consider to be truly my calling and I like more than other activities that I have had to do in life. Now I choose my work myself. It is a great happiness to be able to choose. A person comes to me who wants to seek legal aid, I talk with him and already after the conversation, knowing what his problem is, I decide whether to manage his business or not. That is, I do not have internal conflicts, which allows me to experience comfort from my work, helping people.
Tell me: is it possible to compare the qualifications of Russian and foreign lawyers? They are often tried to compare. Mr. Barshchevsky once said that, for example, US lawyers have very narrow specialization, and in Russia they are taught to deal with many issues. Do you agree with this statement?
I quite often came across the work of foreign lawyers. I have to cooperate with them in some cases, and I would note that the principles of work remain the same, despite the existing features, so to speak, «superstructure» over the base of professional activity. Usually I run into foreign colleagues when I run businesses of entrepreneurs who do business not only in Russia, but also in other countries of the world, especially in Israel and France. Then I work in a group with foreign lawyers. Specificity of our work is such that it is necessary to conduct business at once to the whole lawyer collective, in which there are specialists of all necessary branches of law.
What could you advise young lawyers or those who only think to enter the law faculty?
Now very many young people want to become lawyers, the prestige of the profession is still very high. I would like them to decide firmly on whether this is really their way of life, and then go their own way and do what they love. The main thing is to be honest with yourself and always strive for professional perfection, not stopping at what has been achieved.
How did you come up with the idea to write a book about Said Amirov’s case? Were you thinking long? Do not plan to write more? Would it be interesting to know your opinion about other high-profile cases, often incomprehensible for most of the population?
Said Amirov is our pain, I say it very sincerely. I am sure of this man’s innocence, we continue to defend him to this day, but so far, to my deep regret, I do not see a gap in the activities of our courts. Success was achieved only in the European Court of Human Rights. Why did I decide to write a book? I would not call it a book. Every lawyer has to write a lot. My old friend offered to give his texts to the publisher and publish them. So I became the author of the book. I admit that I like to write, but I do not consider myself a writer. I hope that when I have more free time, something will change.
In your opinion, are so-called soft skills or professional skills more important for a lawyer?
The most important thing for any lawyer is honesty before oneself and your trustees. But, of course, professionalism cannot be discounted. It is very important that the client can trust his lawyer and the defender justifies this trust, only in this way it is possible to achieve real success in the business.
How do you manage to manage everything? Do you apply any time management technologies?
No, I just love my job. This is the whole secret.
With such a difficult regime, do you have time to give your family time?
Someone said that the family is a reliable rear. I would not agree with this statement. For me, the family is everything. Therefore, I do not have any conflict between family and work. I love my children, my beautiful wife, my little granddaughter Anya, I have many brothers and sisters — I try to maintain warm relations with all. Where is a man without a family? When a person is well in the family, all other things start to go well for him.
Have you ever regretted your choice of profession?
No, never. I believe that I have chosen the profession of a lawyer quite correctly, and then I became a lawyer. To help people, to save their lives is a very noble and grateful deed. So in this regard I am a happy person.
Were there any dangerous moments in your professional life?
Dangerous moments sometimes arise when you take up resonant criminal cases. It’s been 10 years since I was engaged in the criminal case of Yuri Mikhailovich Yunayev, very brave person. The case was terminated after several years, but during the investigation there was a period when I had to use personal protection. Such were the circumstances.
Do you often have to protect the interests of businessmen?
Yes, I do it pretty often. Now, for example, we are defending Konstantin Ponomarev. One of the episodes – failure to pay taxes, although this person was the first person in the country to exercise the right to an amnesty of capital, became a declarant number one, and therefore, should be released about any liability. But he was put in a remand center and now he has been there for a long time. What is the meaning of this, I do not really understand. He, like other businessmen who are accused of «economic» articles – not a robber, not a murderer or a rapist, does not pose a threat to passers-by. Why should it be isolated from society?
And how do you feel about women’s entrepreneurship?
Women in Russia not only go to burning tents, but they also go to business! Is not it beautiful? I know a lot of talented business ladies, who are doing great things. Interestingly, they effectively manage the huge teams of workers, which include not only women, but also men. Female business is not only beauty salons, hairdressers, cafes. Today, women manage transport, construction companies, factories, actively position themselves in the legal business. It remains only to hope that there will be more women entrepreneurs in Russia, young girls will not be afraid to go into business, and various circumstances will not become a hindrance to business.
Your wishes to our readers.
I wish all of you a life in love. Remain the same beautiful and purposeful and you will succeed. There cannot be any doubt in it.
Lawyer Vladimir Postanyuk