Women in Business - Interview with Partner Tamara Tevdoradze
ICC Georgia Interviewed Tamara Tevdoradze - Partner at BGI Legal
First of all, please tell us about your current activities, as we know you are a partner at “BGI Legal”. what stages you went through, what stage you are at now, and what is your plans?
I have been with BGI Legal since the day it was established in June 2005. Before then, I was part of the legal team at Ernst & Young, the bulk of which then formed BGI. My legal career started when I was hired as a paralegal by GCG Law Office, then the dominant law firm in the Georgian legal services market, back in 1998. Originally, my job responsibilities were quite limited – translations, corporate registrations, preparation of simple drafts, etc. Still, I loved my job and put an effort into doing everything to the best of my abilities. I was soon promoted to a junior associate position, and it was not long before I was an associate. By the time BGI Legal was established, I was a senior associate in EY Law, with several years of experience in corporate and transactional work.
Helping establish BGI and joining its core team was certainly among the best decisions I made during my professional life. 18 years later – it is hard to grasp it has been that long! As I look back at the past two decades, I am filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Needless to say, I am delighted to be part of this amazing team of like-minded professionals, which I too, together with my colleagues, have helped shape over the years. BGI has been a top-ranked law firm in Georgia since its founding. All international legal directories that cover our region rank BGI as a top Georgian law firm in every service area. I too have been ranked for the past several years, which is a much-welcome recognition of my work over the years.
Currently, our team consists of 20 dedicated, hard-working, brilliant minds. Most of our clients are large international companies and foreign investors – the biggest global names you can think of. Every day brings new interesting cases and opportunities to make a difference. To some, legal work may seem boring. Not so in our case, as BGI lawyers are known not just as excellent technical experts, but as commercially savvy, sensible business lawyers. For us, creativity and broader vision are driving factors that help us excel and maintain a competitive edge.
In terms of our plans, grow or die, as they say in business. So we very much plan to continue expanding, adapting to new challenges, going along with the latest trends in ever more globalized business, and capitalizing on the new opportunities that present themselves from various sources – not least from Georgia’s ongoing integration with the EU. All along, we aim to maintain our status as Georgia’s preeminent law firm, a law firm with an impeccable reputation for professionalism and ethics, the number one “go-to firm” on the Georgian market that the biggest global corporations can work with as their trustworthy business partners.
What was the biggest challenge on your career path, an obstacle that seemed insurmountable at first, but you were able to overcome?
I cannot say that there have been many obstacles in my career path. Generally, I believe that in any area of life, if you know what you want and how to get there, there is no stopping you. My family and friends have supported me all the way, in all of my endeavors. Several years ago I left for New York to complete the LLM program at NYU School of Law. It coincided with the start of the pandemic, but I still graduated at the end of the academic year and had my commencement ceremony a year later. That year was difficult – studying and working at the same time is challenging and requires supernatural time-management skills. Passing the NY BAR exam was even harder. I was isolated for several months, had 8-hour lectures, and studied for the next four. I am grateful for the understanding and support my family and friends gave me during those hard times. I could not have done it without them.
What is your main motivation to keep moving forward?
My three kids, or better yet – the understanding that I am setting an example for my kids. Seeing pride in their eyes when someone asks them about their mother is worth all the sleepless nights in the world.
What’s One Thing Every Woman Should Know About Being Successful in Her Career?
Every woman should know that they cannot be successful if they settle. Again – you should know what you want in life and work towards that, irrespective of anybody telling you otherwise. At the same time, success comes with consequences. It is difficult to balance career and family life. Here again, good time-management skills come in handy.
Finally, let’s wrap up with the traditional question, what would you advise aspiring professionals and young people who are now taking their first career steps?
I would advise young professionals to see themselves as part of the team and not to take on more than they can handle. Become a team player. Listen. Observe. Learn. Share. Then lead. Do not rush. Set the goals and work towards them diligently. The success of a team is the success of every member of the team. I have been fortunate to work with brilliant people that I consider my friends. I believe feeling comfortable at your workplace is just as important, as having a “partner” plaque on your door.
The four-partner team at BGI Legal provides a ‘responsive, proactive and solution-oriented service to a wide range of international corporates both directly and on a referral basis from major international law firms; it has built a strong reputation acting for investors and lenders on many of the country s largest projects. The ‘excellent Lasha Gogiberidze has led the team s work in several major energy mandates, including advising an Asian investor on a hydropower project. Gogiberidze is also regularly involved in financing work, including inter-bank lending, regulatory lending (to comply with capital adequacy requirements) and capital markets work, where Unana Gogokhia is also establishing a strong reputation.
BGI Legal is ‘exceptional' in M&A, financing and real estate, and is especially prominent in the energy sector. Lasha Gogiberidze, whom clients regard as ‘the top lawyer in Georgia for banking, finance and capital markets transactions', and Sandro Bibilashvili handled a number of innovative regional energy projects and joint ventures, such as the Adjaristsqali hydropower project.