Eugen Constantin Iordăchescu is Senior Managing Partner at LLP Iordăchescu & Associates. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree at the Faculty of Law, Babeș – Bolyai University, Mr. Iordăchescu later became a prosecutor at the Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Appeal Cluj, as well as a coordinating financial prosecutor at the Chamber of Accounts Cluj. In addition, he has experience in banking and financial law acquired while being manager of the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Public Finances.
In recent years, he has become a lawyer specialised in criminal and criminal procedure law, banking and financial law, fields in which he is widely reputed to be highly skilled. He is also Chairman of the Insurance Directorate of Lawyers - Cluj Branch.
Lawyr.it: Firstly, we would like to know a bit more about you. What determined you to choose a legal career?
E. C. I.: It is a long story; I made this choice considering the fact that, at the moment of my graduation from high school, my generation had an inclination towards other careers, mainly in medical, mathematical and physical sciences. Law school was a potential target provided you had a certain inclination towards social sciences, particularly towards history and philosophy. The‘70s represented a period of opening to the West. There was also a strong influence coming from youth movements, such as the formidable movement of the hippies, the rockers. This paradigm shift brought along my choice for a legal career.
Lawyr.it: What was the admission process like when you were a student?
E. C. I.: At that time, getting admitted to law school was difficult as there were numerous filters. There was a file-based selection: it had to be impeccable in order for you to hope that there was the possibility to get to the next step, the admission exam. There were very few law schools, with a limited number of students. Cluj Napoca and Iași had, if I am not mistaken, 70 places, which were supplemented for foreign exchange students. There were approximately 100 students per year, 30 of them being from Middle Eastern or African countries. Bucharest had about 120 places, while Sibiu had 30.
Even after the initial selection, there were approximately 3000 candidates on 70 available spots. Between 1975 and 1977, there were 30 candidates per spot. I was unsuccessful in 1975 and opted for the mandatory military service, but, having the strong will to enter law school, I sat the admission exam once again in 1977 and I was the 20th admitted out of 3000 candidates, which was not bad at all.
Lawyr.it: Your specialty is Criminal Law. Why did you choose this direction?
E. C. I.: The temptation in trying to change some aspects in our society was very strong, and I thought that a legal career in magistracy was the most appropriate choice for that. Things could not change in a system built in a certain manner, but the need to counteract the criminal phenomenon has and will always exist. As a prosecutor at that time, I was dealing with the same age-old issues faced by the society: criminal acts which needed to be sanctioned, which were dangerous for the members of the society. I opted for forensics and then I came across my first professional satisfactions. I was confronted with the most serious criminal acts, offences against life, which, eventually, came to reflect one’s value as a professional, considering the fact that, most of the time, one had to uncover the criminal starting with nothing. We were trying to identify his/her persona and the legal measures against him/her, we were trying to rebuild that state of imperative balance. From my point of view, the work of a prosecutor is full of personal satisfactions.
Lawyr.it: Who or what shaped you most as a professional?
E. C. I.: My formation is humanistic par excellence. Few things had an impact on my formation as a professional and as a man. The contact with the Age of Enlightenment was especially significant. The French Revolution - both its good and bad aspects - marked my whole life.
Lawyr.it: Concerning your choice of career, do you see a link between the ideas promoted by the Enlightenment – for instance, freedom of thought – and the situation you were in before the 1989 Revolution?
E. C. I.: This aspect was fundamental, because the concept of ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’ has guided me a lot so far and still is. The human being is the supreme value. This is how the idea of freedom, of life being of utmost importance is born. There is a link between the significant historical period I have lived through my teenage years to youth and my professional choice. As a result, I relate my career to the idea of freedom, of respect for values.
Lawyr.it: What defines you as a lawyer?
E. C. I.: Being a lawyer is not my vocation. If you mean talent or vocation, clearly, my vocation lies in a different domain. But if I chose to become a lawyer, it means that I have to do it as good as I can – me, my colleagues – respecting the same values, which I consider to be eternal.
Lawyr.it: Which are the main challenges that arise from being a Managing Partner?
E. C. I.: Our law firm is built around the need to respect the principles mentioned before. All our collaborators and associates have agreed to comply with these principles, so there is no strife regarding the functioning and organisation of the firm. There is always room for improvement, things which need to be rethought, re-evaluated, improved, but, as long as all of this is based on principles, there are enough solutions.
This is a very difficult job, as most jobs are, provided you want to do them well. It requires sacrifices and additional efforts, based on your ultimate goal. The problems do not lie inside our firm, they appear in our relationship with third parties – clients, the magistracy, the system that we are a part of. Our biggest regret is that our job is, unfortunately, not where it should be. Many people, law scholars, have noticed that. There is a groundless negative perception induced towards the lawyer’s profession. Seemingly, there are strong voices which criticise the decision-makers of our profession for having failed to protect it against unjust perceptions.
Lawyr.it: In that sense, do you believe that the lawyer’s profession is slightly disadvantaged compared to other legal professions?
E. C. I.: Not necessarily disadvantaged. An unjustified anathema has been cast over this profession. That attitude is reflected by the inappropriate way in which many of our colleagues, mostly the very young ones, are being treated by the magistrates. Unfortunately, the treatment applied to lawyers by the magistrates is being induced including by leaders at the highest level in our justice system.
Lawyr.it: What would be the stake in inducing such a perspective?
E. C. I.: Stakes are hard to define, but they are visible for the public opinion, through the results brought by the acts of justice. Unfortunately, ‘televised justice’ and the constant political use of the magistracy’s power have harmed the act of justice, as well as the legal profession we represent. It is, nonetheless, true that many lawyers, out of their desire to win money and trials, have strayed from fundamental principles. The issue is spread throughout the system, which is why we criticise the governing body of our profession. The Bar Union has failed to find the best way to protect our profession from the turmoil present in the Romanian society. There is, however, the hope that, in years, things will improve. Regrettably, we will not live enough to see it.
Lawyr.it: Where does the hope stem from?
E. C. I.: It stems from my everyday life and from the people I work with. We know exactly what we have built, that is, a firm based on solid principles. I believe there is hope.
Lawyr.it: Would you say that our society is in transition and, at some point, the values brought by our recent opening to the West will become inherent to it?
E. C. I.: We are not in a transition, we are in the process of building a better society, we wish to be treated as equals by other societies. We are aware that we need to solve economic and social problems and that, throughout this construction, permanently, day by day, hour by hour, many things have to be achieved. I would not call it a transition, because a transition implies that we are done with something, we are on a deadline and we begin something else, whereas, this is a permanent construction, which will evolve according to the ever-changing aspirations and requirements of the Romanian people. People evolve, their requirements multiply and, while the foundation remains stable, the collateral aspects are always modifying. We know what we want to build: a better society, in which the individual becomes more significant. I believe that the Romanian society is built just as other societies are. At the moment, there are lapses, indeed, but at least we are building something. If it is a lot and badly, little and well, chaotically or organized, that is another question to address.
Lawyr.it: Would you say the educational system in law schools is missing something highly important?
E. C. I.: Nothing is perfect and that includes law schools and no one knows that better than those belonging to the system. However, no matter how the system functions, real value always finds a way to flourish. Obviously, some values may have to work harder than the others. I believe that, at faculty level, there is definitely room for improvement. The firm supports the BBU Law School as much as it can. To us, the BBU is a symbol and all its achievements rejoice us. The amount of support we offer to the faculty is probably best reflected by the results achieved by the students. We care for them and we are proud of them. Most of the lawyers at our firm have graduated from this faculty. Moreover, we have a strong academic component in the firm. As a consequence, it is vital to us that the faculty functions at the highest standards.
Lawyr.it: If you were to give advice to law students, which personal qualities should they focus on improving?
E. C. I.: Their options should be based on principles, they should be stubborn, perseverant, they should uphold and never abandon values, they should never forget that they are human beings and fight for what they think freedom is. An actress whom I appreciate greatly, Olga Tudorache, was asked during an interview, somewhere in the ‘70s: ‘What do you like about the world of today?’ and she answered ‘I like people’. The journalist asked why and she said ‘Because they are good and beautiful’; then, he asked what was it that she did not like about the world of today and she said ‘Well, people’. Puzzled, the journalist asked how come she liked and disliked people at the same time. She said ‘It is easy, people can be better and more beautiful’. Students need to realise that they are not only biological beings, because firstly they are human beings. If they are aware of that, if they know exactly what they want to achieve, if they have a system of values, then they have the premise of a successful evolution.
This interview was originally published in the fifth issue of the magazine, which can be accessed here.