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“Naturally, nobody in Moldova was prepared for this situation,” says Roger Gladei, Managing Partner of Gladei & Partners in Chisinau. “Still, even though the first reaction of the Government was sporadic, in the end, they were able to put resources together and come up with an articulated response to the crisis."

“The fairly stringent lockdown imposed by the Austrian Government in mid-March resulted in a relatively small number of infections,” says Paul Luiki, Partner at Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners in Vienna. “Apart from being able to get the infection under control, they also introduced a EUR 38 billion package to help the economy recover. Even though room for improvement always exists, given the little time the Government had to act, I think the support package on the whole has worked out just fine.”

“Quite a lot, really —it’s like watching a movie on fast forward,” says Schoenherr Attorney at Law Marko Frantar, from Ljubljana, when asked what’s happening in Slovenia during the COVID-19 epidemic. “As elsewhere, we've been seeing a level of state intervention that is unprecedented in terms of both range and magnitude of measures adopted — all compressed into a period of two months."

“The political situation in Montenegro reflects all the complexities that most Western democracies face at the moment,“ says Vladimir Radonjic, Managing Partner of Radonjic & Associates in Podgorica. “It feels like, in the past few months, since we began battling the crisis, politics has really taken a back seat.“ He says that this may change, though, as the pandemic weakens and a new normal emerges on the horizon.

“I believe that Greece has become an example of how early response to COVID-19 works,“ says Yanos Gramatidis, Partner at Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners. “In particular, Greece’s response helped to stem the crisis of public health and has allowed the Government to undertake a minor digital revolution.”

“To be honest, I think the government handled the crisis as well as possible," says Levente Csengery, Partner at KCG Partners. “The COVID-19 regulations do exactly what they’re supposed to – protect public health and keep us all alive, and they’re working.“ At the time of writing, Hungary has had 3535 confirmed cases (and 460 deaths) from the new coronavirus. 

Ivan Males, from Croatia, is Senior Associate with DLA Piper in Vienna. He is a Finance, Projects & Restructuring practitioner with a focus on financing transactions and the infrastructure sector. In addition, he has gained particular knowledge on corporate and M&A cross-border transactions, notably in CEE and SEE markets.

On September 20 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that BLS had advised Pannonia Bio Zrt. – a company operating a biorefinery in Tolna County, Hungary, that is the largest ethanol plant in Europe – and that CMS Hungary had advised OTP Bank Plc. on Pannonia Bio’s issuance of the first Hungarian forint bond in line with the Central Bank of Hungary’s Bond Funding for Growth Scheme.

The Banking sector in Hungary has been doing well in recent years. Schoenherr Budapest Local Partner Gergely Szaloki walks us through that progress.

On December 12, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons, Magnusson, and TGS Baltic had advised the Avia Solutions group – a Lithuanian aviation services group – on a five-year bond issuance with a total value of USD 300 million, an annual interest rate of 7.875%, and a maturity date of 2024. The bonds were issued in US dollars and distributed in the US and European markets. White & Case and Sorainen helped JP Morgan and BNP Paribas organize the issuance.

Theis Klauberg took a circuitous route to managing his eponymous firm in the Baltics. He began his education in Germany, at the University of Hamburg, Heidelberg University, and Humboldt University of Berlin, before obtaining an LL.M. at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, then concluding his formal education with an MBA at the Baltic Management Institute. His professional career has been no less diverse, as he has worked in Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and Zimbabwe.

Scott Senecal is an American lawyer with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Moscow. His practice focuses on financial and corporate law, and he has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, capital market transactions, and syndicated loans.

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.

Everyone knows that law firm pitches are terrible, and nobody is happy about it – not the lawyers, not the marketing/BD teams, and definitely not the clients.

The coronavirus has had a deep effect on legal services. Now we can start drawing conclusions on how deeply this sector has been affected during the last two months. 

If it seems that both – activity of online communities and the amount of legal content on social media has boomed lately, you are not wrong. LinkedIn reported that the number of articles from February untill March 23 grew by 2196% and 33% of these posts were related to coronavirus (Navigating Today’s Evolving World of Work, LinkedIn, 2020 March). Global research shows that the legal service industry was among TOP10 contributors to the topic and my research in Lithuania confirms that by indicating that the main cause for that was a significant increase in the production of content by law firms and lawyers. 

Crisis time is not a problem. It is an opportunity. Seemingly so solid structures start to shake, opening up new opportunities for those who want to see them. It can be particularly rewarding for those who are open to tune or revise their modus operandi, being opportunistic, attracting the best talent, acting more swiftly, and preparing for the future more efficiently than others.

When drafting an obligation in a contract, which of the following is the preferred format of your office?:

There’s little doubt that when it comes to marketing, few industries have been as active in the last month as the legal profession. And to my professional eye, most of this activity has been focused on the acquisition of new clients. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, a lot of these activities have not delivered their intended business results. I believe the reasons are fairly clear. That is why I have put together some strategic insights that will help law firms and individual practitioners to rethink their Covid-19 marketing strategy for attracting new clients. I hope the following suggestions will inspire new ideas and approaches:

Everyone knows that law firm pitches are terrible, and nobody is happy about it – not the lawyers, not the marketing/BD teams, and definitely not the clients.

Ivan Males, from Croatia, is Senior Associate with DLA Piper in Vienna. He is a Finance, Projects & Restructuring practitioner with a focus on financing transactions and the infrastructure sector. In addition, he has gained particular knowledge on corporate and M&A cross-border transactions, notably in CEE and SEE markets.

The move by the Big 4 firms – Deloitte, KPMG, EY, and PwC – to capitalize on their client lists and their multi-disciplinary capabilities by extending the ability of their legal arms to compete with traditional law firms is by now well-established. In Austria, their legal arms have begun competing aggressively for talent as well.

The coronavirus has had a deep effect on legal services. Now we can start drawing conclusions on how deeply this sector has been affected during the last two months. 

Everybody talks about the speed at which life moves in our globalized world. And the Austrian legal market isn’t evolving more slowly – so keep up the pace!

On September 20 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that BLS had advised Pannonia Bio Zrt. – a company operating a biorefinery in Tolna County, Hungary, that is the largest ethanol plant in Europe – and that CMS Hungary had advised OTP Bank Plc. on Pannonia Bio’s issuance of the first Hungarian forint bond in line with the Central Bank of Hungary’s Bond Funding for Growth Scheme.