An in-depth look at Vaclav Bily of PRK Partners covering his career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about him as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.
PRK Partners, Partner, 2013-present
PRK Partners, Attorney at Law, 2001-2013
Nobel & Hug, Trainee, 1999-2000
PRK Partners, Associate, 1996-1999
Gleiss Lutz Hootz Hirsch, Legal Assistant, 1994-1995
Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law, PhD, Doctor of Jurisprudence, 2002
Europa Institut at University of Zurich, LLM in European Business Law, 2000
Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law, Master of laws, 1996
Out of office activity: golf, history, old books
Quote: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Book: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka; Bloody Novel by Josef Vachal
Movie: The Godfather, Pulp Fiction
Top 5 Projects:
Advising on the acquisition of the Czech real estate portfolio for Austrian real estate investor M&A RealConsult Group (followed by its sale after the client’s sudden death in an accident);
Advising on the acquisition of real estate in Prague and Pilsen for CA IMMO, including representing the client in insolvency proceedings regarding ECM REI;
Advising on the financing of solar power plants by UniCredit – more than 100 transactions within the last 12 years;
Advising UniCredit Bank in 2020 on acquisition financing for the Tekro agricultural group, with the aim to acquire four agribusinesses, one of them located in Slovakia;
Providing legal advice to a major investment group on the sale of the Main Point Pankrac office building in Prague (in the form of a share deal). The buyer was South Korean Hana Financial Investment, represented by the Mint Investments Group.
What would you say was the most challenging project you ever worked on and why?
Bily: Through the decades of working as a lawyer, and particularly working with PRK Partners, I have had a great opportunity to work on a vast number of highly interesting, innovative, and high-profile and high-impact mandates, which have provided plenty of challenges. However, one project that stood out was when my team assisted a Czech state institution with a tender in a public subsidy project. It was challenging mostly because the top representatives of the client had their own ideas on how to tackle the project, including the tender documentation but, unfortunately, these ideas were not really feasible under the laws applicable at that time. The mandate required not only knowledge of public tender legislation and sectorial knowledge, but also a great deal of diplomacy and negotiation skills when dealing with all of the interested parties, including our client’s representatives. In the end, the challenging conditions made us come up with a number of highly innovative and creative, yet legally sound solutions that remain in practice to this day.
And what was your main takeaway from it?
Bily: Apart from the usual – that stress and challenges bring out the best in people – I have validated for myself that it is important to always stay on track and to be tactful and open-minded in any situation. And, also, our firm is very fortunate to have the most talented lawyers in every position, and we can rely upon them.
What is one thing clients likely don’t know about you?
Bily: I love driving my Skoda 1000 MB (1966). Also, not many people know about another hobby of mine – breeding fallow deer. Oh, and I don’t like poppy seed noodles.
Name one mentor who played a big role in your career and how they impacted you.
Bily: That was Jan Krulis-Randa, professor at the University of Zurich and the restorer of the Randa Foundation, established in the 19th century by his great grandfather. He had to leave Czechoslovakia and his law studies after the communist coup d’etat in 1948, so he went to Switzerland to study economics and, after spending a number of years working for various large corporations in the US, he returned to Switzerland and pursued an academic career at the University of Zurich. Thanks to a scholarship he got me, I was able to study European Business Law in Zurich, and this was probably the most crucial factor in the development of my legal career. I call him my mentor but he was also a good friend. Until his death, in 2015, we kept in touch and I could always rely on his valuable advice.
Name one mentee you are particularly proud of.
Bily: The existence of a mentee implies the existence of a mentor. If I compare myself to my own, I’m not sure I can call myself a mentor. However, of the younger lawyers I have had the opportunity to work with, I would mention my colleague Tomas Bures, who has been an important member of our team for 15 years and who is one of the best banking specialists in the Czech Republic.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself fresh out of law school?
Bily: Do everything the way you did; don’t change a thing.