(Exclusive Interview by Sevda Uykan) : –
Firat Pektas is a young Turkish lawyer based in Istanbul. He is a high achiever both in Turkey and abroad. We requested him to give an interview for our readers in The London Post. We asked him :
QUESTION-1): – Please tell us about you, your family and your life?
FIRAT PEKTAS: I live and also work in Istanbul. I have some clients who live abroad as well so I based in Istanbul but I can say that when it is necessary I can be mobile and solve my client’s legal issues internationally. About my family, my mother is an anaesthetist, my father is a psychiatrist, my older brother is a gynaecologist and my younger brother is a student in a faculty of law. My family members have medicine background and many of them are doctors so regarded to that I have been grown up in an environment where the ethics and discipline of medicine are dominant.
QUESTION-2) Please tell us about your educational background. How long have you been working and what attracted you to begin a career as a lawyer? Why do you feel this is the ideal profession for you?
FIRAT PEKTAS: I graduated from the faculty of law in 2007. I have been working as a lawyer since 2008 and registered to Istanbul bar association. For me there were two ways to touch people’s life and be able to help them. Either I would have been a doctor or a lawyer. There are many doctors in my family so I chose a career in advocacy and became a lawyer which was something unusual for my family members. I was keen on this occupation since my early ages. The books I have read, the movies I have watched affected me to choose this field and work as a solicitor. My family supported my decision. By the way I would love to state that John Grisham is my favourite one and also a role model as a lawyer.
QUESTION-3) What are the biggest challenges that someone in your position would face? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
FIRAT PEKTAS: I can say that in some ways the system always finds its own way to continue, but the biggest challenge I face in my job are people’s high ego and their personal arbitrariness. So, the main reason that makes this job difficult is a human factor. To start with my clients, judges, solicitors, my colleagues as an opposite side defender and defendants it is obvious that there is a human factor in every part of it. Frankly, I am aware of that I have to work and deal with many kind of people. So apparently both the problem and the solution are human in my job. Having a good knowledge of law and it’s all requirements, working hard, having a sense of discipline and work ethics are the must in my job. My strongest gun is my good knowledge of psychiatry. It’s my strength.
I am so interested in psychology and keep developing myself in this area as well. People’s personality features have a big role on solving legal issues. Everybody has their own personality traits which are special to them. So when I do my job I do not use the same tactics or the same formulas for different people and different incidents in terms of dealing with their legal issues. I customise a tactic which can be specific to the person and to the situation. So, instead of having the same attitude to everyone else, I prefer analysing the character of my clients, judges and advocates to figure out the best way to go to the solution. Let me explain it with an example, it is very likely to see a client with an anti-social behaviour, a borderline opposition and a judge with an obsessive compulsive personality. At that point I find it useful to use atypical methods for compromising. We are living in a world that can be considered as fast life.
People are so impatient and demanding. So related to it, they want their problems to be solved in a short time. Potentially no one wants to wait for years and years to get the results through the long tiring period of many courts. Regarding to that, people may choose to compromise and get the problems solved in a quick way and save time which is an advantage for both sides. My weakness is professional deformation. No matter in which part of law you are specialized, you will be affected by people’s problems and situations as their lawyer. And after a while, the thing that can be considered as a very traumatic incident for someone can be a regular/daily thing to handle for a lawyer. Because of the fact that we deal with these problems in many cases and it becomes a part of our daily life. Many lawyers can be seen as having a lack of emotions. But I can say that I haven’t met any lawyer who sees the world through pink glasses and just thinking that everything goes happily ever after. I haven’t met such an optimistic lawyer yet.
QUESTION-4) Motivation is important with in your profession, so what would you say is your motivator and how do you remain focused in your job?
FIRAT PEKTAS: It is so true Sevda. As you said motivation is something really important in every aspects of the life and especially for my job as well. We have to keep both ourselves and our clients motivated. Even if we feel low sometimes, we have to be professional and we shouldn’t express it to our client. As a person, I wouldn’t prefer working with a non-motivated lawyer either. The advocacy is a team work that includes me as a lawyer, my colleagues who work on the same cases with me and also my clients. It is like a chain that bonds each and every of us like the rings. And what we do is to complete each other’s missing parts not to cause any mistakes. For me it is not like go to the office, fill the time and come back home. During the case I prefer being a part of my client’s life, knowing them, understanding their situation. It always works well and mostly accepted by clients, too as long as the work ethics are kept between both sides. Even if they are not aware of it, our clients are our motivation as well. Their positive approach to us makes a big difference in our motivation. Furthermore, my family and friends’ supportive behaviour is always a good source of motivation for me.
QUESTION-5) How would you manage a stressful or difficult situation or cases at work?
FIRAT PEKTAŞ: I have never faced a problem that can be considered as simple or with minimum stress. When it comes to a thing that can make a deep impact on my client’s life harmony especially on their family life then I am more sensitive and I do take some additional precautions. This kind of cases are more complicating and it may include more than one field of law. So that time, we prefer co-operating with some other lawyers who work for different law offices and specialized in different areas of law. If it is fundamental we also want academicians to be involved in our case so that we can take their opinions as professionals. All of the things I mentioned above make us see the case in different views, move together and try to solve the problem by taking the minimum risk.
QUESTION-6) Thinking back over your career to date, what has been your greatest accomplishment as a lawyer? Tell us about a situation that has made you proud?
FIRAT PEKTAŞ: In our work every case makes us earn the money and also gain new people. We can build a strong relationship with our clients and continue to stay in contact for years. Sometimes we win a difficult and stressful case but after that the client may prefer not to keep in touch anymore. It is a bit upsetting to see that your effort becomes worthless after all. So if l come back to your question, I can say that instead of seeing a person just as a client, I prefer gaining the person and being a part of their life. It really makes me feel so proud. If l couldn’t manage to be a part of my client’s life then after the case it just means that l did my job, earned the money and that’s it. Then actually nothing to feel proud about it.
QUESTION-7) How do you spend your spare time and tell us about your hobbies?
FIRAT PEKTAŞ: I like going on holidays, exploring new places both in my country and overseas. I find it exciting to see different cultures and meet new people.
I play tennis regularly. Also I enjoy diving as a hobby. Laws and regulations are so different under the sea and we are guests there not the host.
QUESTION-8) On the 15th of July 2016, there was a coup attempt in Turkey which was carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces against current government. As a result of that, numbers of soldiers, commanders, police officers and even judges have been suspended, prosecuted or arrested. So now when we look at the judicial system in turkey, what differences have been occurred after this riot? What are the effects of it and do you have difficulties to establish justice in your profession?
FIRAT PEKTAS: On the 15th of July Turkey has faced a really dangerous situation. As you just mentioned many people such as soldiers, police officers, judges, business men and many more have been judged in a court for being a member or a part of the group that had organised this coup attempt. Reforms are made in the courts, in the judicial councils and in the council of state. Moreover there is a government that tries to do its best to regulate all and provide safety and security for the country. The state of emergency has been carried out since the riot took place.
No matter in which country we work as a lawyer, our job is never easy. So it is not easy in Turkey either. But whatever the conditions are, as lawyers we swear an oath to provide justice and we have to do what it requires us to do.
SEVDA: Thank you very much on behalf of the London Post.
Views expressed are not of The London Post
Edited by Chief Editor Dr Shahid Qureshi.