“If the client has a very specific problem, I provide a just as specific and practically manageable solution, as required.”
Axel Bertram co-founded the law firm EMPLAWYERS after working for several years in large law firms. He covers all areas of employment law from settlements to litigation. His priority is to provide constant advice on works of constitutional matters and process management. His clients are primarily active in the area of logistics, trade, as well as business consulting. You can read more about Axel Bertram in the following interview:
What did you study?
Nothing useful many might say – since studying, in general, and especially in regard to law is impractical for this profession. In short, you will certainly not learn how to be a lawyer in law school. This is, however, only half of the story. You learn how to be a lawyer bit by bit when you start working in law, and success most certainly depends on each lawyer’s personality. However, without a general law education that is open for all possible situations, I cannot imagine future success in legal work.
If you were not a lawyer in the field of labour law what else would your profession be?
A boat builder. I like every kind of handcraft and have a big passion for everything that floats on water. That, in combination with the romantic idea of a work place in a wooden boat shed near an upper Bavarian lake, sounds very tempting. One is to assume, however, that reality is a different story. Without any regrets: being a lawyer is my dream job!
What was the best advice you received during your career path?
There were for sure many helpful suggestions, of which I do not remember every detail of any more. It is less a single piece of advice and more a realisation, which has grown over the years, that has a crucial impact on my work as a lawyer today. The advice is this: if the client, who contacts us seeking advice, has a very specific problem or a very specific question, I provide a just as specific and practically manageable solution, as required. And this solution cannot be found in long theoretical analysis or hypothetical considerations but rather in very specific legal and practical advice. Bearing this in mind is the decisive key for me to work successfully as a lawyer.
Please describe your dream client.
In the light of possible sales turnover and profit margins, many could be listed.
To be honest, however, basing my client solely on these qualities would not result in the client of my dreams. My dream client would be someone who gives brief feedback after the work is done. For example, he lets me know how he got along with my product or proposed solution, whether he could implement the developed concepts, and whether or not the whole process went as he imagined. Not because I want to be especially praised for my work, but instead because I want to reflect on every question brought up with my entire legal passion. Therefore, I always ask myself the question: how successful was my client when he used my recommendations?
Thankfully, I do not have to only dream about such clients anymore. Many of our clients, who we’ve been advising for many years, cultivate such exchanges. Therefore: My dream client? – Already found! More are always welcome.
What kind of professional outlook have you developed for yourself over the years?
Every legal task begins by establishing clearly and unambiguously what the basic legal framework is. Once the facts of the case are clear beyond doubt, you can start with a solid legal examination, otherwise, everything else will be a guessing game. Unsurprisingly, this clarity has the effect of you becoming accustomed to a certain style of communicating, which consists of short and precise transmissions of exact facts. Sometimes, I realise that I use this very objective and fact-orientated communication method in my private life, however, I rely on my son to balance out this effect.
Labour courts are…
… bound by the law. Lawyers often get upset about judges and courts. Sometimes for good reason – judges are also only human and can make mistakes. Also, courts can only base their decisions on consisting legal frameworks. It is true that the existing legislation often gives rise to criticism – for example, our inflexible protection against dismissal – which is, as said by many, no longer in keeping with the times. However, you cannot reproach the court for strictly applying the existing laws.
Meadow, sea, or mountains?
All of them. After university and legal traineeship in North Rhine-Westphalia, the question was not whether but rather where to work as a lawyer. Caught in the naive assumption that I would have a lot of free time for hobbies, I now try to focus on where to carry them out the best. Hamburg attracted me at one point with the possibility to spend more time sailing, but Munich had the proximity of the mountains and lakes. So, my passion for hiking won.
Which sport do you practice?
Hiking, sailing, biking – I could answer, if I was able to decide what to do in my free time. Realistically, the following sports have taken the upper hand: running next to my son as he rides his balance bicycle, racing up the climbing frame on the playground and then sliding back down, or throwing pebble into the river with maximum endurance. I could never have imagined, until recently, how energy-zapping these new types of sports are.
Fortunately, the mountains are not far if there is still a bit of time left.
Pizza or Pasta?
Both. Lots and often.