The importance of boarding the right train

Toomas Prangli
2010

It was in June 1997 when I finally realised that it was time to get serious and to stop fulltime student life and travelling abroad during study breaks. I was just finishing the third year of my studies and most of my course mates were already pursuing their career. I started to look for a traineeship for the summer. I was interested in business law, but had no connections and knew nothing about the local legal market. I asked my friend, a foreign professor at my university, whether he knew any international law firms in Tallinn. He recommended me to a USA lawyer practising with a small firm owned by a Finnish lawyer living in Estonia.

I did probably everything wrong before my first job interview: starting from celebrating the end of my exam session and forgetting my only suit in Tartu when departing for my interview the next morning. The interview with Aku Sorainen and his colleagues was very pleasant, but took about 2-3 hours. I still remember the toughest question that I had ever thought about: "How much salary do you wish to receive?" I answered that I was not applying for legal traineeship for money and this was also what I "got" during the first few months. When Aku sent me away at the door, he discreetly reminded about the dress code in law firms.

Now, 13 years later I realise my luck in choosing the right train. SORAINEN has grown from a small five lawyer team to the largest Baltic-Belarusian law firm. I have been able to realise my ambitions from many angles. I have built up our regional M&A and Private Equity Team and my personal reputation in the market. I have had the pleasure of creating our Quality Management System that actually works in practice. While writing this story, I am co-managing our newest office in Belarus and chairing the SORAINEN Knowledge Management Team.

However, this has not stopped me from following my own personal dreams. During my work with SORAINEN, I have still found time to complete an LLM in Budapest and an executive MBA in Vienna. Every year, I manage to travel to places that package tours won't take. I have trained hard, participated in numerous inline skating and adventure sports races every year - representing the SORAINEN adventure team, of course!

With SORAINEN, I have always enjoyed the energetic vibe and openness to all initiatives. Many firms have corporate values, but these mostly stay on paper. SORAINEN has understood that it is the involvement of all personnel at all levels that guarantees success and makes the office a good place to be. And don't forget about having fun!

Naturally, everybody has ups and downs. I have occasionally considered whether my synergy with SORAINEN is good enough or whether I should rather gain experience from somewhere else. However, I have realised that SORAINEN is the fast track train that fits very well into my work and personal life. I have also told this to my team mates who have second thoughts: you can always jump off but there is no guarantee that the next train is fast enough to get you to your destination in time. So, enjoy the ride while you can!

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