An in-depth look at Dace Silava-Tomsone of Cobalt covering her career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about her as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.
- Cobalt Latvia; Managing Partner, Member of the Cobalt Baltic Management Board; 2012-Present
- Cobalt Latvia; Partner; 2001-2012
- Cobalt Latvia; Associate; 1994-2001
- Carroll, Burdick & McDonough Riga Office; Associate; 1992-1994
- Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance; Executive Education – Professional Board Member; 2012
- University of Latvia, Faculty of Law; LLM; 1998
- College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law; LLM; 1996
- University of Latvia, Faculty of Law; LLB; 1994
- Out of office activity: Reading, walking, traveling to enjoy nature, motor-boating
- Quote: “The only permanent thing is change”
- Book: Too many to name, but from the latest: I Confess by Jaume Cabre
Top 5 Projects:
- Advising Swietelsky AG as a part of the winning consortium in the international tender for the construction of the Rail Baltica station and related infrastructure at the Riga International Airport with a contract value of EUR 237 million;
- Advising DNB Bank in the process of combining its operations in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with Nordea’s Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian operations to create Luminor Bank;
- Representing Tineo SIA – the owner of a trade center building – in multiple civil cases for moral damages, litigation against the insurers, contractual arrangements with the municipality, and other matters stemming from a collapse of the roof of the trade center building during which 54 persons perished (the Zolitude tragedy);
- Advising Latvian energy generation incumbent AS Latvenergo on reconstructions of its power generation fleet: the Plavinu Hydro Power Plant (HPP), the Keguma HPP, the Riga HPP, the Riga Thermo Power Plant (TPP) 1, and Riga TPP-2’s first and second units;
- Advising 21 banks operating in Latvia, including SEB Banka, Rietumu banka, DNB Nord Banka and others, in a cartel investigation and 13 banks in an appeal against the competition authority’s decision in connection with the payment settlement agreement and establishing local multilateral interchange fees.
CEELM: What would you say was the most challenging project you ever worked on and why?
Silava-Tomsone: The Zolitude tragedy case was the most challenging ever due to the sheer number and volume of cases to manage, the complexity of technical issues involved, and the ethical aspects. It was the largest civil tragedy in the modern history of Latvia resulting in 54 deaths and much grief and anger. Defending one of the respondents in the cases was morally difficult due to public opinion. We had to explore the technical reasons for the collapse and explain a number of events that were pure coincidences not related to the collapse. Additionally, the case involved a number of novel issues underdeveloped in Latvian law such as the liability of a building owner and other persons involved for structural defects appearing after the warranty period.
CEELM: And what was your main takeaway from it?
Silava-Tomsone: As a business lawyer, throughout my career, I rarely had to consider the very essence of our profession: defending the client. The Zolitude tragedy was one of the cases that made me truly understand the calling of our profession: to leave no stone unturned in helping the client and to prevent the application of “mob justice.” Society and individuals often seem to be too eager to judge others while applying different standards to themselves. It is the role of lawyers on both sides to create balance and ensure justice.
CEELM: What is one thing clients likely don’t know about you?
Silava-Tomsone: My dream was to become an archaeologist, which I dropped for purely pragmatic reasons: there were few excavation sites in Latvia at the time when I had to make my final choice. However, I am still passionate about history, partly because I come from the very historic town of Kuldiga which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site this year. My native Kuldiga is an amazing place – its community has worked for decades to preserve its heritage and educate young generations to understand and appreciate its history.
CEELM: Name one mentor who played a big role in your career and how they impacted you.
Silava-Tomsone: Girts Lejins has been my mentor since the start of my career, and continues to be so even now. Much of what I do today I have learned from him. I still remember the countless times I came out of his office with a detailed markup of my work and the long discussions we had on our people, the firm, and its development. He is still the person whose opinion I value the most when it comes to business, strategic, and ethical issues.
CEELM: What is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself fresh out of law school?
Silava-Tomsone: Attitude and passion are above all. Do what you do, and you will not regret it.