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“Croatia has had a wave of NPL transactions which have left behind a need for more lawyers to manage the sold loan portfolios as case managers,” says Ivna Medic of Kallay & Partners in Zagreb. She reports that the Croatian businesses have recognized the need for lawyers as compliance officers and that more and more lawyers are accepting such positions.

Austria’s political scene felt some tremors in the past few weeks following snap elections. Unsurprisingly, potential coalitions became a primary subject of discussion. “The Conservatives won in a landslide, with almost 38% of the vote, with Social Democrats taking a very distant second. with around 21%,” reports DLA Piper Country Managing Partner David Christian Bauer. Another notable result of the election is the low 16% vote for the far-right Freedom Party – the recent coalition partners of the conservatives – following insinuations of corruption. “The Conservatives will most certainly form the Government and any coalition that gets formed will have to go through them,” says Bauer, emphasizing that the Freedom Party will face strong challenges to return to rule, with the scandals and “internal turmoil they’re experiencing.”

Lawyers in Montenegro are talking about the Montenegro Economic Citizenship Program these days, says Vukmirovic Misic Managing Partner Lana Vukmirovic.

Things continue apace in Romania, according to Schoenherr Partner Matei Florea. "It’s not slow, let me put it like this,” he says. "It’s the current new normal, with very diverse projects running at very diverse speeds. We’ve had it for a couple of years and it's professionally both challenging and satisfying.”

“The Lithuanian legal market is really in a good moment,” says Cobalt Managing Partner Irmantas Norkus.

“Compliance and overall tightening of regulations is definitely a hot topic in Latvia,” reports Maris Vainovskis of Eversheds Sutherland Bitans.

“Croatia has had a wave of NPL transactions which have left behind a need for more lawyers to manage the sold loan portfolios as case managers,” says Ivna Medic of Kallay & Partners in Zagreb. She reports that the Croatian businesses have recognized the need for lawyers as compliance officers and that more and more lawyers are accepting such positions.

Austria’s political scene felt some tremors in the past few weeks following snap elections. Unsurprisingly, potential coalitions became a primary subject of discussion. “The Conservatives won in a landslide, with almost 38% of the vote, with Social Democrats taking a very distant second. with around 21%,” reports DLA Piper Country Managing Partner David Christian Bauer. Another notable result of the election is the low 16% vote for the far-right Freedom Party – the recent coalition partners of the conservatives – following insinuations of corruption. “The Conservatives will most certainly form the Government and any coalition that gets formed will have to go through them,” says Bauer, emphasizing that the Freedom Party will face strong challenges to return to rule, with the scandals and “internal turmoil they’re experiencing.”

Lawyers in Montenegro are talking about the Montenegro Economic Citizenship Program these days, says Vukmirovic Misic Managing Partner Lana Vukmirovic.

Things continue apace in Romania, according to Schoenherr Partner Matei Florea. "It’s not slow, let me put it like this,” he says. "It’s the current new normal, with very diverse projects running at very diverse speeds. We’ve had it for a couple of years and it's professionally both challenging and satisfying.”

“The Lithuanian legal market is really in a good moment,” says Cobalt Managing Partner Irmantas Norkus.

“Compliance and overall tightening of regulations is definitely a hot topic in Latvia,” reports Maris Vainovskis of Eversheds Sutherland Bitans.

Earlier this year, CEE Legal Matters reported that Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte had advised Marinomed Biotech AG on its February 1, 2019 debut on the Vienna Stock Exchance, with Weber & Co. advising Erste Group Bank AG (as sole global coordinator) and Goetzpartners Securities Ltd (as co-lead manager) on the IPO. Marinomed’s was the first successful IPO in Austria since BAWAG’s in 2017.

Emmanuel Kaufman has a unique profile: An Argentinian lawyer and commercial and international investment arbitration specialist who has spent the last 12 years in two of the leading law firms in Austria. He has spent the last three and a half years as a partner at Knoetzl, where he focuses on complex arbitration proceedings in the construction, telecommunications, IT, gaming, and soft-beverages industries.

Simona Marin is an English- and New York-qualified partner in CMS’s International Finance team in Bucharest, where she focuses on project finance, real estate finance and other financing structures, both syndicated and bilateral, secured and unsecured. Simona has over ten years’ experience advising on a broad range of high-profile financings and projects throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

The Deal: In April 2019 CEE Legal Matters reported that Clifford Chance Badea had advised Alpha Bank Romania on its EUR 1 billion direct issuance global covered bond programme – the first-ever in Romania. RTPR Allen & Overy advised Barclays Bank PLC as arranger on the programme, which came three years after the country’s covered bond law entered into force.

On April 1, 2019, a team led by Francisc and Carmen Peli left Romania’s highly-ranked and widely-respected PeliFilip, which the Pelis had co-founded in 2008, to start PeliPartners.  We reached out to Francisc Peli to learn more about the reasons for the big change and his plans for the new firm.

Pavel Hristov opened the doors of Bulgaria’s Hristov & Partners law firm in 2013. Since then, his firm has grown steadily, and today competes on even terms with the long-established powers on the Bulgarian law firm market. We sat down with Hristov, himself a highly-regarded commercial lawyer, to learn about his firm’s history, strategy, and success.

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.