The lawyers of “Legal lab” decided to build a working culture in the legal field

The founding partners of “Legal Lab” law boutique Stepan Khzrtyan and Narek Ashughatoyan think that it would be better to have more appropriately specialized law and advocate companies with the sense of responsibility. In their opinion it may lead to the increase of the legal consciousness of citizens, which is a mandatory condition for having a permanent statehood. continues to familiarize the readers with the law companies functioning in Armenia. The third interlocutors of the series “Armenian Law Companies” are Stepan Khzrtyan and Narek Ashughatoyan, the founding partners of “Legal Lab” law boutique.


It is a fact, that… 

Narek Ashughatoyan holds a General LLM degree from the American University of Armenia Law Department. He has worked in “Arlex International” law firm. Narek works as a Legal Counsel in “Ayb” Educational Foundation.


Stepan Khzrtyan held his Bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences from Yerevan State University and a General LLM degree from the American University of Armenia. He has graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2011 and got a Commercial LLM degree. He has worked in “Arlex International” law firm specialized in international business law, drafting major financing contracts concluded between foreign creditors and domestic banks and companies.

– I am aware that “Legal Lab” law boutique is specialized in matters pertaining to repatriation. Would you, please, detail what kind of services do you provide? 

Stepan Khzrtyan: “Legal Lab” generally provides services in the sphere of civil law, but the legal matters from A to Z pertaining to repatriation are one of the narrow specializations of the firm. Namely it starts from obtaining visa to the matters concern citizenship, registration, starting a business, foundation of a company, drafting an employment contract, research, etc.


Narek Ashughatoyan: Another direction of our firm’s specialization is business law sphere, as well as conducting various legal researches. We conduct quite extensive legal researches, which include both the business law and other matters.


– Do you provide free legal assistance to the Syrian-Armenians because of the current warlike situation in Syria? How many Syrian-Armenians have applied and on what matters?


– Narek Ashughatoyan: At the moment about 40 Syrian-Armenians have applied to us: They apply on the matters concerning acquisition process; passports, whether the obtaining of residency card is cheaper than the passport; the procedure to get a driver’s license etc. That is, people come to a country, where they face certain difficulties in everyday life. Those are sometimes not difficulties: people just do not know. This is another system, and they are used to have the legal system of their country. There is just a need to direct the people to the place they need to go, to the door they need to knock, and to inform on the sequence of the process. We are still doing this job for free with pleasure.


–  Stepan Khzrtyan: After a week from the foundation of “Legal Lab” we assume that job. Everything is going very smoothly. We are ready to provide free legal assistance until the situation in Syria will calm down, and newcomers from Syria to Armenia will find appropriate tranquility.

 – What kind of specialization has the team working in “Legal Lab”?


– Narek Ashughatoyan: At the moment we are two people. This is a small company, but we have a network of lawyers not only in Armenia, but also abroad, and this circumstance makes our services even more extensive. There is also a research center within American University, which is an integral part of the Law Department of American University and is coordinated by the “Legal Lab”. In the center the researches are conducted on legal issues relating to repatriates. In addition, the students of AUA are involved in the activity of the center as well, and they obtain a research practice in the legal sphere through participation in the Center’s activities.


–  Recently your law boutique recruited the lawyers. What do you emphasize while choosing a partner?

Stepan Khzrtyan: We have several guiding values, such as professionalism, punctuality, great sense of responsibility, as well as confidentiality. We need a person who is willing to devote himself to his work in the sphere of law on a long-term basis, who will contribute to our growth and grew himself with us. Some of the applicants are newly graduated, and as we also were students recently, we understand the difficulties and psychologies of young newly graduates, and try to meet them. It means that if the student has relevant and excellent knowledge, we try to contribute to his professional growth, simultaneously improving ourselves.


Narek Ashughatoyan: By the way, we are still receiving CV-s and have not made a final decision yet.

– What types of obstacles a founder of a law firm may face in Armenia?


– Stepan Khzrtyan: For example, we may motivate the persons who want to be engaged in entrepreneurial activity, and inform that the registration process of commercial organization is facilitated.

– Stepan, in my opinion, as a graduate of Cambridge University you are well aware of the working style of English law firms. Does your law firm adopt anything from the British experience?  

– Stepan Khzrtyan: I worked together with Narek in “Arlex” law firm, the working culture and spirit of which is completely based on the culture of American law companies. The Head of the Company Thomas Samuelian is a graduate from Harvard University and hold public offices in the United States. It means that we may speak of the culture of both English and American law firms. One of the adopted practices is the sense of extreme responsibility towards the client. That is, the information of the client is confidential, is duly treated, and the clarification on the possible conflict of interests is made. If we represent two clients in different cases, we should know whether their interests intersect, because in such conditions we cannot take both cases.

– The Strategic Plan on Judicial and Legal Reforms for 2012-2016 is in the stage of implementation. What is a must for successful implementation of judicial reforms in the country?

– Stepan Khzrtyan: First, it should reflect the current legal practice, meaning that it should be in accordance with the due procedure. Secondly, all concerned persons should be aware of the process and be able to express their opinion, the discussions should be organized, etc. That is why more specialized public hearings are needed for drafting a package of more pertinent legislative reforms. This will bring to removal of the need of reforms from our reality, and we shall not have an artificial document taken from elsewhere.

– Narek Ashughatoyan: The hearings should be wide scaled so that they will assist to collecting the problems that all attorneys and lawyers faced during their practices and include them in the reforms package. This is the only possible way to have a real picture of the needs of the law sphere. Of course, it should be done through selecting the golden mean from all suggestions. 


– Do you familiarize yourself with the Program of Judicial Reforms?

Stepan Khzrtyan: I am aware of the part relating to the Civil Procedure Code. I like the idea to include the mediation in our Code. It means that the disputes will be solved through extrajudicial means – mediation, which allows the courts to be preserved from the extra overload and waste of the time on solving the disputes.

The partner founders of “Legal lab” law firm mention that their company, which was founded on 8 August 2012, is a business with a mission. They started this business with a purpose not only to make money, to build working culture in the law sphere of Armenia, to lift up the standards as a result of their activity, but also to provide free legal assistance to the extremely vulnerable people.

Also read the interviews with “AGRIMENT” and “ArmAdel Consulting” Law firms.


Nune Hovsepyan

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