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“The main thing right now is the upcoming amendment to Act on Corporations,“ starts Kinstellar Partner Tomas Cihula, describing the situation in the Czech Republic. “The Parliament is considering proposals which seek to clarify some parts of the current legislative framework and that aim to ease the regulatory burden companies are facing.“ Cihula said that this overhaul was met with “approval from the business sector.“

“It has been busy in the business arena,” says Marko Ketler, Senior Partner and Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners, citing ongoing consolidation in banking sector with the potential sale of Abanka, the third largest bank in Slovenia, and recent major M&A transactions, including the sale of Intereuropa, the largest Slovenian logistics company, to Posta Slovenije. "We can expect a busy summer with several large M&A deals pending."

“Belarusian markets are abuzz with two things right now,” explains Arzinger & Partner’s Klim Stashevsky.“The new strategy for attracting FDI and the M10 highway reconstruction project.”

Divjak, Topic Bahtijarevic Partner Mario Krka says that “there are currently three major legislative changes that everybody in Croatia is talking about: changes to the Corporate Law Act, certain tax bylaws amendments, and upcoming changes to the Civil Procedure Act.”

“Things are pretty quiet, and there aren’t any big developments,” begins Sead Miljkovic of Miljkovic & Partners, when asked for the Buzz in Bosnia & Herzegovina. He reports that “infrastructural projects and consolidations in the bank sector” are active at the moment, as well as “financing of public projects,” but he adds that “none of it is large-scale."

“We are living in historic times,” says Janos Toth, Wolf Theiss Partner in Hungary. “Not only our legal system is transforming, but also a whole new approach to business is evolving.”

“The main thing right now is the upcoming amendment to Act on Corporations,“ starts Kinstellar Partner Tomas Cihula, describing the situation in the Czech Republic. “The Parliament is considering proposals which seek to clarify some parts of the current legislative framework and that aim to ease the regulatory burden companies are facing.“ Cihula said that this overhaul was met with “approval from the business sector.“

“It has been busy in the business arena,” says Marko Ketler, Senior Partner and Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners, citing ongoing consolidation in banking sector with the potential sale of Abanka, the third largest bank in Slovenia, and recent major M&A transactions, including the sale of Intereuropa, the largest Slovenian logistics company, to Posta Slovenije. "We can expect a busy summer with several large M&A deals pending."

“Belarusian markets are abuzz with two things right now,” explains Arzinger & Partner’s Klim Stashevsky.“The new strategy for attracting FDI and the M10 highway reconstruction project.”

Divjak, Topic Bahtijarevic Partner Mario Krka says that “there are currently three major legislative changes that everybody in Croatia is talking about: changes to the Corporate Law Act, certain tax bylaws amendments, and upcoming changes to the Civil Procedure Act.”

“Things are pretty quiet, and there aren’t any big developments,” begins Sead Miljkovic of Miljkovic & Partners, when asked for the Buzz in Bosnia & Herzegovina. He reports that “infrastructural projects and consolidations in the bank sector” are active at the moment, as well as “financing of public projects,” but he adds that “none of it is large-scale."

“We are living in historic times,” says Janos Toth, Wolf Theiss Partner in Hungary. “Not only our legal system is transforming, but also a whole new approach to business is evolving.”

Competition/Antitrust expert Sam Baldwin is a British national in Budapest’s Szecskay Attorneys at Law. Before joining Szecskay he spent eight years as an attorney in Copenhagen with the Gorrissen Federspiel law firm. He has significant experience advocating before national competition authorities and the European Commission and is successful at fending off accusations of wrong-doing on behalf of clients. He has represented companies in national court proceedings as well as at the General Court and European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

In January 2019 CEE Legal Matters reported that Deloitte Legal had advised K&H Bank on long-term non-recourse project financing provided to Photon Energy Group for Photon Energy’s 11.5 MWp proprietary PV power plant portfolio in Hungary. Pontes Budapest advised Photon Energy on the deal. We reached out to both firms for more information.

In honor of CMS Budapest’s 30-year anniversary – the Pearl anniversary, formally, in the city often called the Pearl of the Danube – we reached out to several of the prominent partners to learn a bit more about the changes they’ve seen over the years, and the practices they manage.

Maros Pogany is the Head of Legal at KIA Motors in Slovakia – a position he has held for the past nine years. Before joining KIA in 2004, he spent over three and a half years as a litigator in private practice and one year as a lawyer with the Matador Automotive Group. He is a 1999 graduate of the Law Faculty at the Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice, Slovakia, and in 2017 he obtained an MBA from the DTI University in Dubnica nad Vahom, Slovakia.

In February of this year CEE Legal Matters reported that Partner Octavian Popescu had left Musat & Asociatii to set up his own firm: Popescu & Asociatii. CEELM sat down with Popescu to learn more about his new firm and his plans for the future.

Joe Clinton is a Partner at Allen & Overy in Istanbul, where he advises sponsors, borrowers, and lenders on a range of transactions, including project development and financing as well as real estate, leveraged and structured financing transactions, and general lending, with particular emphasis in the Middle East and Eastern European energy and infrastructure sectors.

If one is an example, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend, the three major law firm mergers in Ukraine this past summer demand closer scrutiny.

On July 9, 2018, the CEE Legal Matters website reported the merger of the Avellum and A.G.A. Partners law firms in Ukraine. A month later, the website reported on a second merger, this time between Asters and EPAP, the Ukrainian office of Russia’s Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners. And in September the website reported on yet another merger, between Integrites and Pravochyn. To explore these significant changes in the market, on October 26, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down with a collection of prominent Ukrainian lawyers — including several from firms directly involved in the summer’s mergers — at the Kyiv office of DLA Piper.

Chinese investors and developers are expanding their footprints in Europe, focusing often on green technology and opportunities in the solar, hi-tech, and automation industries, as well as highly-publicized infrastructure development tenders. Over the years, the amount of Chinese investment has increased, as has the number of Chinese professionals settling in CEE to facilitate Europe-China relations and bridge differences in culture, expectations, and styles. In September, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down at the Dentons office in Budapest with three Chinese lawyers to learn about their experiences working on the ground in CEE.

Start-Ups represent a unique subset of clients for major law firms, as they are often unable to pay the fees those firms generally require, but – particularly in the tech sector – hold out the potential of significant profitability down the road. Intrigued by the unique challenges and opportunities for law firms offering their services to these cash-poor but potential-high clients, we invited partners from four prominent law firms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to share their strategies and experiences with Start-ups with us in the offices of Kocian Solc Balastik in Prague. KSB Partner Christian Blatchford moderated the conversation. 

The Hungarian real estate and housing market is experiencing golden days. Although the market took a serious hit during the financial crisis in 2008, today enormous sums are again being invested in office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, residential areas, and retail. In order to map the underlying reasons behind the market’s boom, and to better understand how the country is dealing with the high demand for development lands and properties, CEE Legal Matters sat down with six Hungarian lawyers specialized in Real Estate & Construction and a Legal Counsel from Prologis, a Real Estate & Supply Chain Logistics company. 

On January 30, 2018, a select group of prominent Serbian lawyers gathered at the Prica & Partners law firm in Belgrade for a CEE Legal Matters Round Table to discuss the current economic conditions in Serbia and the country’s legal services sector.

On Thursday, April 19, 2018, CEE Legal Matters hosted a round table discussion at the Dentons office in Budapest with leading real estate experts in the market.

From GC Nightmares to Partner Nightmares

In our previous article, we addressed the frustration of general counsel regarding external lawyers pushing against their caps, and we provided some tips for how to defuse this tension. (See Evelaw. GC Nightmares: Assaults on the Cap).

Every year legal marketing professionals try to define the key trends and predictions for the upcoming year – so do we. Most tools and solutions have been around for some time, we just have to adjust them according to our experience and global trends. 

Why can’t you sleep?

When we ask general counsel the question “What keeps you up at night about law firms”, many gnash their teeth about a problem with fee caps. In particular, they express their frustration with law firms requesting cap waivers based on the belief that the matter’s scope has been exceeded.

Until 2009 legal marketing was overregulated in Hungary. Since then lawyer ads are basically allowed, but they have to comply with the Hungarian Bar Association’s guidelines. 

For the last couple of years the issue of attracting foreign investments into Ukraine has loomed large. However, attracting such investment is hardly possible without creating the proper investment climate and implementing necessary reforms. One necessary step is transforming Ukrainian corporate law.