“We look for what is relevant and authentic to the team” – about values and people at JWP

28 March 2024


An interview with Aneta Kaczyńska, who has been helping to better understand and respond to the needs of candidates and employees at JWP Patent & Trademark Attorneys for over six years. She co-authors personnel policies as far as the development of career paths, incentive systems, training and recruitment is concerned.

What does a person need to feel good at work?

For each person, different factors will determine how they feel at work, so an individualised approach to our needs is important.

Until recently, it was assumed that the greatest value for an employee was the provision of various additional benefits, such as a MultiSport card, private health care plan or life insurance. Today this trend has changed, additional benefits offered to employees are important, but they are now standard in most medium and large companies.

Lessons learnt from the pandemic have shown that an individual approach to our needs is paramount. We commute from different places, we have children of different ages, we are in different life situations, some of us find it easier, others find it more difficult. And the point is that the employer should make things easier and be flexible about the needs of employees whenever possible, on condition that there is no harm to the operations of the company and the quality of the services provided.

OK, so what is an employee benefit today?

A benefit is more than just a gym. For an employee today, some of the benefits offered by companies seem to be completely unattractive and redundant.

The most important thing is to feel listened to, to be treated individually and to feel that the employer approaches our needs with respect and understanding.

It is also very important to be able to engage in activities for both personal or professional development as well as to help those in need and to be able to relax together. In this case, it is necessary that the activities offered by the employer are of high quality.

Currently, one of the highest priorities for employers is to ensure work-life balance. One of the most important points here is to take adequate care of the work we do as overtime. In our sector, such situations occur occasionally as this is inherent in the way you work at a law firm. The deadlines for cases are decided by the courts and administrative authorities and there is little room for flexibility here. A lot also depends on how much time our clients have at hand. This is why it is so important for the employer to be flexible about the individual needs of team members, to provide adequate pay and to recognise and reward people’s dedication. Benefits such as a fruit day or massages will not be attractive if there is no good atmosphere in the firm, if employees are tired and overworked.

How is this organised at JWP?

We try to create space for professional development and for work-life balance. This is extremely important, especially when we have a lot of young parents in the firm, and at the same time, we are a team that is constantly perfecting our skills, which is also part of our profession. We support our teams in this area by organising regular training, by co-financing traineeships and university courses, by providing mentoring, and by making it possible to attend numerous national and international conferences.

At the same time, we offer flexible working arrangements, i.e. individual working hours, hybrid work involving three days of remote work per week, as well as reduced working hours on Fridays. The time of the pandemic has shown that we are able to work remotely in an effective manner, but for most of us, working in an office space and being able to communicate face-to-face with our teammates is extremely important. Working in an office strengthens social bonds, gives a sense of belonging and makes communication easier and faster. For this reason, we have chosen to organise work in a hybrid system.

Our Warsaw office has recently moved to new premises. We now work in a beautiful, renovated building that used to be the offices of a printing house in the 1960s. There is a restaurant called Młody Grochów on the ground floor and this inspired us to offer our employees an option to have lunches together. Those who wish to do so meet twice a week for a meal together with their colleagues from the team. This atmospheric restaurant is bistro style and has a very friendly and welcoming staff. It is nice to have a change of scene during the working day and to spend time together in an interior completely different from the office just to have a relaxed chat for a while and get to know each other better.

Another opportunity to socialise within the team comes with our annual Christmas gatherings and picnics, and more recently with parties for children around Saint Nicholas Day. These are the moments we all look forward to.

The recent developments related to the pandemic and the war across our eastern border made us decide to also provide care of a psychologist at our law firm. I think even just knowing that we have something like this is important. You never know when you might need this kind of help. For some time now, fortunately, there has been a better understanding of such services and of the importance and necessity of mental health care.

The traditional benefits, i.e. private health care, holiday allowance, sports club card, life insurance option or foreign language courses, are of course also part of our standard package.

Sometimes, however, people do not want to mix their private sphere with their work…

And they should not be forced to do so.

It is not the point to have as many benefits as possible and to boast that we already have ten of these, including massage, psychologist or yoga. That is absolutely not what it is about.

What we work towards is what really contributes to life satisfaction at work. We do not calculatedly look for solutions that will only sound nice, seem original or valuable. We look for what is relevant and authentic.

Is JWP a family business or a corporation, or something in between?

I think something in between. I have a sense that we are very consciously choosing the elements from the corporation that we need and that are good. We grow in line with the needs of a large organisation, where certain elements need to be arranged, otherwise they start to live a chaotic life.

And we are a family company in that we take special care of our employees and their families. The level of trust and approach to the needs of our employees is different, more open.

Of course, there are times when there is a lot of work, there is turbulence, but we stick together then and support each other. We do really strive to make this place, where we all spend so much of our day and lives, a welcoming place.

I would like to ask you about stress. Is stress necessary at work?

There will always be stress because it is natural, it derives from our physiology and natural reflexes of the body. In many situations, there is nothing wrong with it. On the contrary, it has the effect of mobilising us, e.g. if we have a deadline, which in the case of a law firm is an everyday reality. It is bad when you get stressed out every day and even with simple activities, or when you have so many of these activities that you cannot cope with them. This depends largely on external factors, but also on your individual character.

Working in a law firm where you deal with such a large number of diverse cases and clients with individual needs and expectations requires you to be able to handle several different projects in parallel. This is not straightforward for everyone. One person is more multi-tasking, another is less so, if we start demanding this of everyone, it can generate stress. To recognise this, and to adapt, is a demonstration of a personalised approach by the employer to the employee. The manager, by organising the work of the team properly, plays a role in reducing stress and this is the focus of our efforts being to minimise stress levels in the teams and among employees.

People vary. Some are committed and want to give their best, but there are also those with a different approach for whom work is just work.

This is true, and that too is fine. As a firm, we just try to keep our staff engaged and ensure a good working routine. Firstly, in six-month cycles, we set individual goals, which are tied to the development plans of the law firm and the team. The achievement of these objectives is a criterion for the payment of a bonus (on a six-monthly basis) and for promotion, the conditions of which we have defined within our employee development path. It is very important that everyone has the prospect of development, even when they have worked at our law firm for many years. Everyone is eligible for a discretionary bonus, including for involvement in additional projects, which our law firm pays three times a year.

On a day-to-day basis, we try to be involved through the managers or the board of directors, and also create cross-team projects that come about also on the initiative of the employees themselves. Such projects get people fired up because they see that there is some new energy around them, there is something interesting going on, they can develop and get away from their daily routine and have an impact on the operations of the law firm. Being invited to such a project also gives a sense of belonging to a group. This is how we try to keep up the right energy in the firm.

Do experts support each other in the firm?

Yes. This is probably the difference between the smaller law firms and the medium-sized and larger ones. A great value of working at JWP is the opportunity to share knowledge and experience. For junior attorneys, lawyers and professionals in particular, the opportunity to discuss various aspects of the cases they are handling with more experienced colleagues in the firm is valuable. This professional exchange of knowledge and views is enriching, and also influences the quality of work and efficiency. To efficiently support clients and handle cases, expert teams are also set up, e.g. patent litigation is always conducted with patent attorneys with technical backgrounds in the field to which the solution relates and lawyers with litigation experience. Working in such multi-member teams produces better results.

We are just about to launch a programme of regular seminars where we will share knowledge in a more structured way. We want all employees of our law firms to be able to benefit from this programme. Support and administrative professionals will gain a basic understanding of the issues the firm deals with. And specialists, trainees and experts will update and improve their expertise and share their experience gained from the cases they have handled.

Surely, this project will support our professionals and trainees in gaining further professional levels, as the examination for patent attorney trainees includes questions from biology, chemistry and pharmacy as well as from technical and legal fields, so we are creating room to share both theoretical and practical knowledge related to current cases.

There is plenty of this kind of support at the firm; sharing knowledge is naturally part of the profession of a patent and trademark attorney and legal advisor.

And perhaps this is why the firm has so many CSR activities going on? Sharing knowledge, supporting each other or helping each other in general…

We do indeed carry out a great variety of so-called corporate social responsibility activities, on many levels.

We share knowledge in-house, but we also run educational projects to raise awareness of intellectual property rights protection for entrepreneurs, scientists, students and schoolchildren under JWP Foundation, established 12 years ago on the initiative of Dorota Rzążewska, our managing director.

We also undertake activities in the area of ecology or voluntary work. Here, grassroots involvement is important. The role of the employer is more often than not reduced to supporting initiatives and giving people the freedom to act. I need to mention that as part of the Chary Group, which is active in our law firm, we successfully carry out a number of charitable projects every year. The JWP team is made up of people with a desire to help those in need and a commitment to environmental issues. For many people, it is important to do something good for others, to have that sense of a deeper meaning of the activities they carry out and of doing good. The very thing of doing something together is simply great, we meet, we talk and it is a chance to spend time together and get to know each other from a different perspective.



JWP Patent & Trademark Attorneys
ul. Mińska 75
03-828 Warsaw
P: 22 436 05 07
E: info@jwp.pl

VAT: PL5260111868
Court Register No: 0000717985


JWP Patent & Trademark Attorneys
HAXO Building
ul. Strzelecka 7B
80-803 Gdańsk
P: +48 58 511 05 00
E: gdansk@jwp.pl


JWP Rzecznicy Patentowi
ul. Kamieńskiego 47
30-644 Kraków
P: +48 12 655 55 59
E: krakow@jwp.pl


JWP Rzecznicy Patentowi
WPT Bud. Alfa
ul. Klecińska 123
54-413 Wrocław
T: +4871 342 50 53
E: wroclaw@jwp.pl