Mari Mohsen

Mari Mohsen is Attorney-at-Law and Partner at Roihu Attorneys Ltd. Roihu is a law firm with strong specialization in the field of employment and labor law. Mari is enthusiastic about HR related questions, she enjoys being surrounded with a topic that really concerns people in their daily lives. She guides companies to towards responsibility and believes that preventive HR practices reduce controversies and solve the working life challenges.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m an Attorney-at-Law, I deal with wide range of labor law matters, disputes and dispute resolution. I have a bit over ten years of experience working as a lawyer. Earlier I worked in the court system but shifted to a law firm about 4 years ago. Now, I’ve been a partner at Roihu Attorneys Ltd since 2016. Altogether we have ten partners and six employees, in our four offices in Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and Kuopio.

While I was working alongside my studies I noticed, that HR related questions and employment matters were not always handled well enough and sometimes even against the law. As a young student, I got quite intrigued by employment law and found several ways for improvement. Employers and employees are too often set on opposite sides, which is not beneficial in the long run.

How could you describe yourself?

I’ve always wanted to actively develop and influence my own work. I never thought that I’d become an entrepreneur, I’ve always felt that I’ll continue as a civil servant and valued that feeling of security. So maybe it describes me the most, that I now find myself running a company with my colleagues. I guess I’ve always had that sort of courage and guts, that is now needed. At least my friends were not surprised by my move to a rocky road of entrepreneurship!

I have a strong professional self-esteem. I know that I’m good at my work, and when the partnership was offered, I crabbed the moment. We have a good spirit with likeminded colleagues. I truly enjoy working with my own clients nowadays and get to know them personally. I find it remarkably rewarding when I get to understand the circumstances the clients struggle with and help them in their daily challenges.

What drives you at your work?

I’m an attorney specialized in employment law and I get to work with wide a spectrum of HR related cases. And I get to learn new all the time! I negotiate, write contracts, consult and assist the upper management, litigate, provide training... I get to work both with very practical and with complex legal questions. There’s always a choice between a strictly legal solution for my client or a reasonable solution that will eventually have better long-term effects. I aim to tell my own opinion and recommendation and reveal the risks of every choice. I’m passionate about employment law, I get to handle issues that really concern people in their daily lives. HR matters always involve people.

What brings meaning to your work? What do you respect, what’s valuable for you?

I find it satisfying to be able to help my clients. I advocate employees, employers and organizations during difficult situations and I value the support that I’m able to give – both legal and mental. A healthy working environment benefits everybody and is definitely an advantage for the employer. A satisfied employee is flexible and co-operative. Taking good care of the employees is valuable for the business.

We have a diverse skillset in our employment law team, no one of us has a similar background. It’s a cliché to say that together we are more, but it truly is beneficial to have a multidisciplinary team. We have experienced professionals and low hierarchy. We’ve done marketing more that the law firms usually do, and have found open ways to communicate outside. The extent of own network has been surprising, and it has been a valuable resource.

What does the word ‘responsibility’ mean to you?

I perceive responsibility as responsible employment practices. It means appreciating and listening to people, building a dialogue. Even in the smallest companies, there are always problems concerning communication and information flow. Dialogue and open communication would prevent this kind of problems. Too often sensitive and difficult discussions are thought as uncomfortable, which causes even bigger problems and complexity in interpersonal relations. At the very moment the problems show up, employers should crab them. The management might think the HR issues are difficult, but it’s about legal risk management and minimizing the future risks. Anticipatory HR management is the employer’s responsibility.

We find it important to work openly and meet the expectations and trust the clients have on us. We strive to think the advantage of our client, but we also have to tell news that the client would possibly not want to hear. But I also have to be able to tell when things really failed. My job is to explain how to move on in a heated situation. Even though I’m sometimes worried to tell the difficult facts, the clients normally value the critique they receive.

Is responsibility visible in your free time?

I think I got two children at the same time – my child and the company. I feel that I have to carry responsibility also of my own well-being to be able to handle this all. I try to take good care of myself and in that way keep my life in balance. It has required some creativity to find the ways how to steal some minutes for myself. I value every small moment just by myself – it might just be fifteen minutes, but the more precious it is.

What skill are you still going to learn?

A lot! Now that I’m an entrepreneur I have to trust that life carries and not to worry too much. I want to learn how to live with this insecurity that comes with entrepreneurship. I want to learn more optimism, and the good start with the company has already taught it! The success produces faith.

Who or what inspires you?

I feel satisfied when I’ve succeeded to help my client, and it results in improvements in the well-being of the client’s work community. Co-operation negotiations can be managed so much better than they often are conducted. If the employer would have better social and communication skills, would the negotiations be much more fruitful and contribute to the needs of both sides. It is always inspiring when the clients understand and I’ve been able to describe how the situation can be better managed, and thus, improve the quality of working environment.

I never get tired to talk and educate about anticipatory management practices, about soft HR practices. With better practices, the companies could avoid many problems beforehand and plan the change processes well in advance. It is inspiring to work with responsible clients, yet on my behalf, it requires an understanding of very diverse industries and practices within.

What would you tell for the teenager Mari?

Ha-hah! I’d like to tell her that the more absolute principles you’ll have, the more surely life sets you in a position where you have to bend and adjust your opinions. But yeah, she would not listen!

What are you looking for (in the future to happen)?

In the next years, I expect that the future prospects of the company would have settled. And I hope, the insecurity of an entrepreneur will eventually decrease. But I go forward with a strong faith and trust!

How would you describe your style?

I appreciate timeless design and fashion. I do follow trends but some sort of sustainability always resonates. I don’t mean boring, but fashion that stands the test of time. I find it great, that nowadays there are so many new Finnish fashion brands that offer sustainable fashion.

I’ve always had some sort of minimalistic style. Now that I have to dress up smart at work, it for sure also affects free time. But you’ll always, always find also jeans and sneakers in my wardrobe!