Partner, Harris Kyriakides
Nicolas Kyriakides, D.Phil 2016, University College
Could you tell us about your journey to Oxford? Why did you choose to study Law?
It was a unique journey during which I had the honour to meet great personalities such as my supervisor Professor Adrian Zuckerman. My years in Oxford were the most intellectually fulfilling so far in my life. Apart from my field, I was able to learn and discuss about many other topics which expanded my horizons.
I am a second generation lawyer and I guess this played a role on why I chose to study law. In the process, my legal studies helped me to be able to find a balance between different things that I enjoy doing, i.e. being a lawyer, an academic and a lobbyist.
What was the most important lesson that you learnt during your time here?
I saw things from a different perspective. I met academics and students who were devoted and willing to make changes in their fields. As a result, my mindset changed. I learned to take initiatives, gained confidence, be creative and innovate.
Which Oxford scholars (if any) currently live on your bookshelves?
I use Zuckerman's book on Civil Procedure quite often. However, I mostly work with electronic resources so in this sense, many of them!
What is your current role? What are your main areas of practice?
I run a commercial practice at a leading Cyprus firm, where I head the Banking & Finance and Insurance departments. Furthermore, I teach Civil Procedure and Banking Law at the University of Nicosia, where we also established a research centre, the Procedural Law Unit which I co-founded. I am also interested in policy innovations and I am the co-founder of the first lobbying startup in Cyprus, Zenox Public Affairs.
You combine both commercial practice and academic research. How do you understand the relationship between these two areas and to what extent do they inform one another?
Since I am mostly a litigation lawyer and my main area of research is Civil Procedure, one benefits the other because on the one hand I am able to follow the latest academic developments which helps me in practice and on the other hand I have a practical overview of how theory works in practice. From a personal view, this gives me balance because it almost never gets boring!
You are Co-Founder of the Procedural Law Unit at the University of Nicosia. Could you tell us about the work that the Unit does?
We established the Procedural Law Unit with other colleagues in 2019. Our aim was to advance research on civil, criminal, and administrative procedural law. The unit is involved in many activities ranging from the preparation of expert reports to the organisation of conferences on the area of the administration of justice in Cyprus and internationally.
An interesting example of our activities is the translation of Supreme Court decisions of procedural significance in English, with the hope to render the Cypriot case law more accessible to the international legal community. These, in addition to collaborating with research centres worldwide, are ways in which we want to expand our positive influence on procedural law in Cyprus.
Who has been the biggest influence on your professional life?
My DPhil supervisor Professor Adrian Zuckerman, who, apart from giving me academic guidance, taught me by example how to motivate someone and how to simultaneously push a person to their limits whilst not discouraging them. This has proven to be extremely useful to me, both personally as well as while working with so many people everyday.
What is/was your favourite place to visit in Oxford
Port Meadow. During every visit I felt at peace, with the quote “Truth is the offspring of silence and unbroken meditation” by Isaac Newton, coming to mind. I do often reminisce about such moments in my business life.
Which figure(s) do you look up to?
From historical figures, I am inspired by Socrates who placed the laws of his country over his own personal gain, and Jesus Christ who in times in which morality was governed by the ‘an eye for an eye’ mentality, preached love and forgiveness. One man of this current era whom I look up to is Phil Knight, the founder of Nike who turned, as he called it, his ‘crazy idea’ into reality, not only establishing a brand but a concurrent culture. I also admire Michelle Obama. In her book she says: “I was ambitious though I didn’t know exactly what I was shooting for.” She ended up being an inspiration to millions of women.
Which charities do you support and why?
I am a founding member of an NGO called Oxygen; we founded it in Oxford in 2011 with two classmates of mine and symbolically named it as such because of the corresponding first two letters. I support its projects, two of the most important of which are the Cyprus forum, a large-scale annual conference, and the Nomoplatform, a parliamentary observatory. I consider these projects very important because I believe that with more sustainable and transparent policymaking, we will achieve more social justice thus there will be less need for charity as we know it.
What advice would you to give your past self?
Develop the mindset of giving back to the community earlier in my life, travel (even) more and do more sports!
I met academics and students who were devoted and willing to make changes in their fields. As a result, my mindset changed. I learned to take initiatives, gained confidence, be creative and innovate.