Cem CONGAR, the esteemed founder of Congar Law Ltd, earned his law degree from Istanbul University in 2006. As a distinguished member of the Istanbul Bar Association, he has consistently demonstrated commitment and integrity in his legal practice. His professional journey commenced with the founding of Congar Law Firm in Istanbul and later expanded with the establishment of Congar Law Ltd and Doris Consultancy LLP in London. Notably, he interned under a respected professor, a distinguished lecturer, and the former Dean of Commercial Law at the Istanbul University Faculty of Law.
Throughout his career, Mr. CONGAR has provided expert services as inhouse lawyer to esteemed institutions, including the Antalya Coast Guard Command, Ceynak Logistics & Samsunport Harbour, and the notable AXA Sigorta General Directorate.
His expertise encompasses maritime, air, and land transportation law, insurance law, energy law, international arbitration, and litigation. As a respected thought leader, Mr. CONGAR frequently contributes to industry publications and has authored thirteen books. His insights are regularly sought after, leading him to speak at numerous venues including universities, professional associations, chambers of commerce, and international symposiums.
Beyond the courtroom, Mr. CONGAR is deeply engaged in the legal community. He played a foundational role in establishing several professional associations and is the proud founding president of the Young Maritime Lawyers Association of Turkey. Additionally, he is an esteemed member of the European Lawyers Association.
This year, Mr. CONGAR will augment his legal pursuits by undertaking doctoral studies in maritime law in London, aiming to deepen his specialization and foster his academic progression in the discipline.
Establishing Congar Law Firm
In 2017, Cem parted ways with AXA Insurance and established his boutique, Congar Law Firm. Over the past three years, Cem and his team have proudly operated as Congar Law Firm in Istanbul and Congar Law Company in London. The boutique law firm’s dedicated team of 35 professionals delivers legal and industry-specific consulting services.
“Our firms are boutique in nature, with specializations in maritime law, insurance law, international arbitration, transportation law, corporate law, and commercial contracts. In addition, while these areas remain our core strengths, we also serve clients in niche domains like international employment law and domestic relations.”– he explains.
A notable aspect of Congar Law Firm is its multilingual proficiency; virtually all of its lawyers are adept in multiple languages, which has proven invaluable globally. Congar’s affiliations with numerous international professional associations further bolster the firm’s reach, enabling swift resolutions to its clients’ legal disputes across various countries through collaborative efforts.
“What sets us apart is our innate ability to ‘speak’ our clients’ language. Our primary clientele, which consists of transportation firms, seafarers, and insurers, benefits from our deep understanding of their industry’s nuances and terminology. This deep-rooted knowledge equips us to identify solutions with greater efficiency and precision,”– states Cem.
“Without this specialized understanding, lawyers might find themselves navigating a labyrinth of legal research or, worse, providing advice that isn’t congruent with practical industry operations. It’s this expertise that instills confidence in our clients, making their interactions with us smooth and trustful.”
A Steadfast Leader
Cem pioneered the concept of a voluntary training organization in Turkey. Typically, lawyers expect some remuneration for training. However, recognizing the initial stage of the Turkish Maritime Law, Cem embarked on a mission to elevate its status. Since then, he has provided hundreds of free trainings at institutions, bar associations, chambers of commerce, and sectoral associations.
That’s not all; Cem’s commitment to sharing knowledge is further exemplified by his monthly columns in a well-known sectoral magazine. He also founded the Young Maritime Lawyers Association of Turkey to mentor the next generation of lawyers. In 2012, Cem helped establish the Transport and Logistics Commission at the Istanbul Bar Association and became its Founding Vice President. Cem’s engagement with European legal circles soon saw him participating in various European Union legal studies and later contributing articles to the European Union’s annual law journal following his involvement with the European Lawyers Association meeting this year.
“2023 has been a whirlwind, marked by my travels to 18 countries. These journeys facilitated meaningful exchanges with law and bar associations and ambassadors. My insights into Turkish and International Law were well-received, leading to publications in Greece, Germany, Azerbaijan, and England. Collaborative efforts saw us interviewing lawyers across 25 countries, enriching the perspective of young Turkish legal professionals,”- he explains.
Promoting the Culture of Unity and Acceptance
Cem has consistently strived to embody and promote inclusivity. His affiliation with the International Rotary and Lions Clubs since 2007 enriched him with a culture of acceptance and unity.
“Turkey, in its essence, is a tapestry of diverse ethnicities, nationalities, and beliefs. At our office, we resonate with this ethos, welcoming everyone with open arms and fostering an environment of mutual respect and cooperation,”– he explains.
During his tenure as the president of the Rotary Club, Cem started the tradition of celebrating religious festivals from all faiths and named that initiative “Let’s Recognize Our Differences.” This noble endeavor not only bridged gaps between communities but also helped Cem earn the “Young People Making a Difference Award” from the USA, a testament to his unwavering commitment to building bridges and fostering a more inclusive society.
Making the Industry a Better Place
Cem feels with all the technological leaps; legal professionals need continuous learning and education. He firmly believes that continuous education is essential to keep pace with the ever-evolving landscape of the law. As technology reshapes industries, legal practitioners must adapt and expand their knowledge base to provide the best counsel to their clients. Like many others, the legal profession is not immune to the transformative power of technology, and staying informed and educated is paramount to staying on top of it.
On the other hand, he feels the planet’s escalating environmental crisis underscores the urgency for more robust environmental legislation and enforcement. This global issue demands local solutions, with nations collectively tightening environmental statutes.
Also, with a more interconnected world, increased collaboration is needed to confront international crimes and facilitate commercial dispute resolutions. Furthermore, Cem strongly believes that the arc of law must bend towards safeguarding individual and community rights. He feels it’s not enough for the law to be static; instead, it must evolve to address society’s changing needs and concerns. This means strongly emphasizing pillars like gender equality, minority rights, and other pivotal societal matters. The law should remain a dynamic instrument of justice and equity, constantly adapting to uphold the principles of fairness and inclusivity in an ever-changing world.
The Future Roadmap
Over the next half-decade, Cem is dedicated to carving a distinct niche in the fields of Maritime Law and International Law within Turkey. While of paramount importance, these sectors have traditionally been overshadowed by other branches of law, and Cem sees this as an opportunity to bring these areas to the forefront and elevate their significance in the legal landscape of his country.
“It’s my fervent belief that despite the challenges, we possess the tenacity and expertise to hold our own against attorneys from countries with more entrenched legal frameworks in these areas,”- he explains.
Above all, Cem’s ultimate ambition is to make a mark as a Turkish lawyer in a nation like England—a country that has, for centuries, not only been a cornerstone in maritime affairs but also a formidable force in shaping maritime law.