“At Barcelona Young Bar Association, we want to be the house of the best talent… That’s why we need to provide to all our young colleagues the tools to nurture this talent; excellent legal training, good networking and challenging debates to try to improve our profession.“
Legal Dealmaker: Firstly, congratulations on your recent appointment. How are you planning to achieve all these challenging goals? Do you already have some steps in mind to reach them?
Alexander Salvador: I assume that these starting goals could be deemed ambitious and challenging, but I think that it is our responsibility as young people to create our own path, a future decided and built by us.
At Barcelona Young Bar Association, we want to be the house of the best talent… That’s why we need to provide all our young colleagues with the tools to nurture this talent; excellent legal training, good networking and challenging debates to improve our profession.
¿How could we start? My first step is to design an alternative and solid syllabus specific to young lawyers. We want to set in several initial courses destined for the youngest ones in order to ensure that everyone at the start of their career has the knowledge and skills to prepare a trial, file a claim, face due diligence, etc. The lack of economic resources to attend specialised legal training shall not be more of a problem. No more.
Meanwhile, we want to strengthen the voice and presence of young lawyers at the Barcelona Bar Association and also in Barcelona civil society. As young professionals, we also want to drive the change in Barcelona. And this change shall be built together with colleagues of other professionals or institutions. We will maintain meetings with all of them to raise all the appropriate collaboration bridges.
These bridges are essential to building relationships and debates that are truly important to young people, independently of their profession or careers. What we want is to talk, discuss, confront ideas and achieve consensus. This consensus could be a new path to walk by.
LD: You have been linked to the ICAB for a long time, assuming different roles along the way. One could say that these different perspectives as an insider were probably a privileged scenery to get to know the main barriers that young lawyers have been dealing with for the last years. Do you have them identified?
AS: From my point of view, one of the main barriers that young lawyers are dealing with is the precarious labour conditions at the start of their career: long journeys, low salaries, off-the-books contracts, etc. This is a complex problem; thus, it is probably a structural one. There is no instantaneous and miraculous solution for this problem, but I can assure you that my team is already thinking about different ways to try to face this historical problem.
For me, the important thing is to carry out initiatives with real and effective impact; to obtain big wins by means of lots of little actions; such as the declaration of the Christmas period as a non-working one, achieved by the Spanish Confederation of Young Lawyers (CEAJ), led by the President Maia Román.
LD: Talent retention is one of the legal market’s main problems, mainly for law firms. Partnership quotas seem to be frozen, and lawyers are not willing to stand by waiting for the call. Instead, they are moving more and more to the company world or starting their own law firm. As a young lawyer, what are your thoughts on this debate and its causes?
AS: Some time ago, a career at a big law firm was seen as the best and only option for lots of young lawyers. Now, I think that it exists an interesting “talent retention war” where other stakeholders are also playing hard (such as legal departments of companies). This diversity of options enriches the talent market and creates the necessity for law firms to improve or rethink their talent retention programs.
On the other hand, I believe that it is a healthy sign of our society, as well as of our profession, that more and more colleagues are starting their own law firms. There is a hunger to build alternative law firms, to improve the existing structures, to improve and transform the legal market… That’s how new times and new law firms are created, as my good friend Marc Gericó, managing partner at Gericó Associates, usually says.
“I really believe that the future is a ‘game’ that is won in the present. And this ‘game’ could only be played if we have a far-sighted approach.“
LD: Passion and vocation are no doubt mandatory for successfully accomplishing a task like the one you have. What other qualities (soft skills) do you think are equally important to coordinate a collective like the one you chair?
AS: Vision of future and an institutional mindset, in my opinion, it is important to identify the main challenges that our profession is facing in the following years in order to anticipate the necessary actions to carry out. I really believe that the future is a “game” that is won in the present. And this “game” could only be played if we have a far-sighted approach.
On the other hand, another essential quality necessary for this position is to have an institutional mindset and understand that the presidency chair shall represent all our young colleagues’ interests (despite the beliefs, thoughts or interests of oneself). This is a must.
Passion, vocation, the vision of future, institutional mindset… and if I can add something more, I would say courage. It is necessary to be brave to assume this position with the desire to improve our profession and face all the challenges we have ahead.
Summarise in a phrase your desires/intentions for your mandate.
The Barcelona Young Bar Association will drive the transformation of our profession.
About Alexander Salvador
Data Protection Lawyer at Fundación Bancaria “la Caixa”. Previously, manager of the Digital Dept. at EY Barcelona. Lawyer specialised in Digital Law (IP/IT/Data Protection), with experience in Corporate and Contractual law. More than seven (7) years of experience in international law firms (EY and Grant Thornton). Certified as Data Protection Officer, under the scheme of the Spanish Data Protection Authority. President of the Barcelona Young Bar Association. Member of the Advisory Board for the journal “Món Jurídic” published by the Barcelona Bar Association. Vice-president of the Information and Communication Technologies Law Section of the Barcelona Bar Association.