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The winner of this year’s Stellarship competition for Bulgarian law students talks about his experience at Kinstellar

July 2019 – Interview with Ilia Lassin, the winner of this year’s Stellarship competition for law students in Bulgaria

In this year's edition of the Stellarship competition, you were awarded with the individual prize among your colleagues/co-students. What made you interested in participating?

To be frank, there are two main reasons that caught my eye and made me consider the competition besides the overall opportunity that was provided: brand and process clarity.

It was thanks to a previous event organised solely on career development for law students that I first heard about Kinstellar. Unfortunately, the event took way too long and the representative only had a limited amount of time to speak about what the firm does that it left me hungry for more. I knew that I had to make contact while I still had the opportunity, because the topics that were presented regarding “Law”, “HR Processes” and “Business Development” were such that I never imagined could be used in a single sentence by a law firm in Bulgaria. Since then I became interested in Kinstellar.

It was several months later when I found out about the Stellarship competition, and when I looked into it I was pleasantly surprised. Not only by the type of opportunities it promised, but also by the concept and clarity in the way the competition is held. It had a business-like image that definitely brought a feeling of professionalism.

Why was it that the business elements caught your attention, and how do you connect them to the legal profession?

I am quite the patriotic idealist. Ever since I entered university, I’ve constantly looked for development opportunities both for myself and for the environment that we live in. This brought me to many organisations and enthusiasts working towards such a goal, and I saw that it was the private sector that was bringing positive change in Bulgaria. I’ve taken part in many initiatives in organisations like the Academy for Civil Education, AIESEC in Bulgaria and others, and through this I was able to meet many professionals and companies that engaged me with the entrepreneurial spirit and business attitude.

It was exactly this dynamic environment that showed me how the legal practice and knowledge contributes to overall development. All these organisations had one thing in common—they were facing a lot of issues during their activity. Therefore, being able to resolve those problems and provide people with solutions was the thing that charmed me about studying and working in the field of law. It was then that I started defining law as the backbone of interpersonal communication and realised that in order to be able to assist people, a law firm needs to be relevant for the clients it supports and be able to speak their language.

What proved to be a challenge while working on the Stellarship competition? Are you satisfied with your participation?

Honestly, there were far more challenges than I imagined when I started working on the essays and the case. As a whole, they were much more practical than what we are usually presented with at university. Being able to work on a case and to be provided with actual agreements on which you have to make legal research and analysis is something that rarely happens in the university curriculum. To add to that, I was quite invested in several other domestic and international moot court competitions, and being able to work efficiently on all of them while maintaining my studies in my final year proved to be rather challenging.

It all was rewarded quite satisfactorily at the end, though. I really appreciate my time at Kinstellar, as I now feel welcomed by everyone here to join them in their work. I am also extremely motivated by the energy and effort that I see in the people here when it comes to their work, especially when I saw the latest success that they experienced in a large infrastructure project. Being able to work in the fields of law that I’m most passionate about, such as private international law, employment law and commercial law, while learning about new practice areas like competition and concession law, is also something that definitely surpassed my expectations.

Is this how you pictured your experience in Kinstellar?

Definitely not. In all fairness, it’s quite dangerous to have expectations while being a student, especially in the field of law. There are so many law firms that can either disappoint you when it comes to the legal profession or make you really invested and passionate about it. So, I believe it’s much safer to avoid expecting things and simply to hope for the best. Little did I know, however, that my hopes would be so easily surpassed and that I would be presented with a completely new understanding of the legal market and the way one can be engaged by it.

The thing that caught me off guard the most was definitely the scope of investment I received in the form of Learning and Development since enrolling. Not only was I presented with numerous courses on legal and financial education, but being able to attend specialised trainings on Business Development personally facilitated by global players like the Head of BD at Kinstellar and the Head of BD of a global law firm led me to a completely new view of the scope and possibilities that are available for young professionals in the field of law.

For more information on the Stellarship programme and recruitment, please contact Lilia Stoykova, HR Manager, Sofia, at