Lawyer’s Profession in the Context of Today’s Challenges: It Will Be Relevant as Long as Humanity Lives

Lawyer’s Profession in the Context of Today’s Challenges: It Will Be Relevant as Long as Humanity Lives

Sukurta: 24 May 2022

TF Straipsniams 1920x1280Law is one of the oldest disciplines with the deepest traditions, and in the context of today’s events, it’s more important than ever. What role do lawyers play in solving society’s biggest problems in the context of war or the pandemic? What awaits the lawyer’s profession? Lecturer from the Faculty of Law at Vilnius University (VU) Dr Dovilė Pūraitė-Andrikienė and the student Monika Šukytė discussed their professional challenges, academic life, and topical issues related to constitutional, as well as to International and European Union law.

Brought together by EU law

A student from the Faculty of Law of VU, M. Šukytė, and lecturer Dr. D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė started building a relationship as colleagues when M. Šukytė was a second-year student, during the Introduction to European Union Law seminars. It is because of those seminars that M. Šukytė chose to delve into the field of International and European Union Law in later years of her studies.

“From the very first seminars, my group and I unanimously agreed that we were very lucky to have Dovilė teaching this subject. All of us enjoyed participating in the classes and the academic atmosphere. At that time, I had no idea I would have the honour of becoming her colleague, but that’s exactly what happened at the end of my second year, when we began working together at the Institute of Law of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences,” M. Šukytė said.

“When I learned that Monika wanted to work for this institution, I recommended hiring her because I remembered her as a very active, curious, diligent and intelligent student,” said Dr D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė.

According to M. Šukytė, the most interesting aspect of the seminars on the Introduction to European Union Law was understanding the concept, structure and complexity of the EU. During the classes, the students discuss various topics related to EU law as well as current issues, including the war in Ukraine and the links between this process and European Union law.

TF Straipsniams 1920x1280 4

“Ukraine is currently fighting not only for its own future but also for the future of the whole of Europe, and for European values. These are the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. In the context of Ukraine’s painful contribution to the protection of these values, I believe that it is only a matter of time before Ukraine joins the European Union,” said the lecturer, discussing one of the most relevant issues of EU law.

“Recent surveys show that the people of the major EU countries strongly support Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. This provides hope that the process will be faster than expected. Of course, no one expected Lithuania and the other Baltic states to become members of the EU so soon. Everyone said it could happen no earlier than 2015, but everything happened much faster,” Dr D Pūraitė-Andrikienė shared her insights.

“When I learned that Monika wanted to work for this institution, I recommended hiring her because I remembered her as a very active, curious, diligent and intelligent student,” said Dr D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė.

According to the student, this is only one of the topics that is currently relevant in relation to EU law, as this branch of law touches on many issues important to our region.

“European Union law should be relevant to every lawyer, especially today, when the world needs concentration and unity. It is important to not only understand the theory, but also the aims, aspirations and meaning of the EU in the modern context,” M. Šukytė said.

First steps in the world of law

Both M. Šukytė and Dr. D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė shared a similar story regarding their choice to study law. They were both good at the humanities – Lithuanian and foreign languages, as well as history. In addition, they wanted to choose a practical specialty that could be widely applied and useful in various areas of life.

“Although I was somewhat intimidated by the myth that law is a “dry” discipline, where one must memorise the codes, I can now say with certainty that this myth has not been confirmed in the slightest. For me personally, there is nothing more interesting than law – it is a wonderful and lively instrument that affects all areas of public and personal life,” explained Dr D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė, denying the myths about law.

Monika was also inspired to take the path of law by a role model, her father, the lawyer Raimondas Šukys: “Throughout my life, I have followed the success story of a hard-working and persistent lawyer. I can confidently say that studying law was my own decision, no one had to convince me, but it was my father who encouraged me to choose Vilnius University, and it seemed the natural choice. After all, Vilnius University is the best in Lithuania and has earned a solid reputation throughout the world.”

“European Union law should be relevant to every lawyer, especially today, when the world needs concentration and unity. It is important to not only understand the theory, but also the aims, aspirations and meaning of the EU in the modern context,” M. Šukytė said.

Dr D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė’s professional career has always been an integral part of her academic activities and teaching. After graduating, she started working at the Constitutional Court at the same time as working on her doctoral dissertation. The experience of working for the Court had a strong influence on her decision to continue research in the fields of constitutional justice and constitutional law, as well as various human rights issues. However, in the Faculty of Law, Dr D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė teaches not only constitutional law but also the Introduction to European Union Law course. In her own words, she really enjoys the harmony that exists between research and teaching.

“To me, teaching is more than just sharing knowledge. I also want to inspire my students to believe in their own strength, so that they can use that knowledge. I like to inspire and to pique curiosity. As I teach, I also grow. Sometimes, when my students and I discuss something, they raise questions I don’t have the answers to, and that encourages me to delve even deeper into the issues at stake. When you teach others, you also learn a very important lesson – that you, yourself, will always be a student,” she said.

Lawyer’s role in society

Lawyers face many challenges, and the role of the law is further enhanced in the face of various societal crises and shocks, as many of the societal issues that are arising today need to be addressed and the protection of human rights ensured.

“I believe that the role of the law and lawyers will remain equally important in the future as it is today. As long as there is a society, there will be various disputes, so there are and will remain rules that we live by, as well as different ways of resolving disputes,” the VU lecturer said.

TF Straipsniams 1920x1280 2

The student M. Šukytė agreed: “Throughout my studies, I’ve realised that the law lies everywhere: in the smallest everyday things, in actions and in our very existence. Every day we make deals, we follow social norms, and even when we rest, the law defends and protects us. Thus, the role of lawyers will remain relevant as long as humanity lives. Especially in critical situations, we gain an understanding of the importance of having procedures, rules and professionals who know them. The discussions initiated by the latter in special cases, such as during a war or pandemic, lead to new ideas, solutions and decisions that the public can rely on.”

The interviewees encourage those looking to contribute to the administration of justice and changes in society to start their professional career in the Faculty of Law at Vilnius University.

“I believe that the role of the law and lawyers will remain equally important in the future as it is today. As long as there is a society, there will be various disputes, so there are and will remain rules that we live by, as well as different ways of resolving disputes,” the VU lecturer said.

“The VU Faculty of Law is the first place where I felt part of a real community. Here, you can make contacts not only with peers and those in your group, but also with lecturers, senior students and alumni. I must also mention the lecturers, each of whom is inspiring and talented in their own way,” the student said.

Lecturer D. Pūraitė-Andrikienė seconded this opinion. According to her, the biggest assets in the faculty are the people: “First of all, the lecturers working here are all excellent specialists in their fields, and most of them also do practical legal work. They are inspiring and warm personalities who sincerely care about giving the students in the Faculty what they have come here for: first and foremost, legal knowledge, and not only that but also the belief that they can benefit from that knowledge. Secondly, the students in the Faculty of Law are exceptional. They never cease to amaze me with their curiosity, ingenuity, creativity and good humour.”

No less important, the lecturer explained, is that the university promotes a positive and casual atmosphere between teachers and students, where the students are treated as peers. All of this ensures that students receive the best-quality education and grow into confident, strong, tolerant and wise individuals.

To note the importance of developing strong teacher-student relationships and having the courage to ask questions, VU is presenting an art project and a virtual exhibition in collaboration with the documentary and portrait photographer Tadas Kazakevičius. The exhibition also features a series of portraits of Dr Pūraitė-Andrikienė and M. Šukytė, revealing their sincere and attentive relationship.