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One of the most notable recent changes to Ukrainian law, according to Svitlana Gurieieva, Partner at Sayenko Kharenko, involves the Cabinet of Ministers' approval of new resolutions aimed at starting town-planning reform.

“It’s very complicated at this moment, with most people changing their mind very often,” says Irena Georgieva, Managing Partner of PPG Lawyers in Sofia, about the situation in Bulgaria. “Everybody is focused on their personal Covid-19-related problems and it’s hard to adequately measure what the community really thinks about the government, as somehow all political decisions are inextricably linked with pandemic issues.” 

Slovakia’s political life is currently marked by the government's internal struggles, says Martin Magal, Managing Partner at Allen & Overy Bratislava. “We have a fairly inept coalition government and our politicians are much more involved in fighting among each other than fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“There is a lot going on at the moment, politics-wise,” says Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners Partner Ana Grabnar. “One of the coalition parties left the coalition and joined opposition parties in filing for a no-confidence vote for the government – that took place this week.”  The opposition did not gather the necessary majority; “surprisingly it gathered even fewer votes than predicted,” she says.

“The hot topic in Hungary right now is the January 2021 amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure” says Komor Hennel Attorneys Managing Partner Ildiko Komor Hennel. “The act passed in the 1950s had one previous major overhaul back in 2017,” she says, adding that the recent amendments were necessitated by “modern times, technological updates, procedural effectiveness and business reality – just imagine not being able to file documents electronically!”

“Austria has learned in the last year that every choice needs to be evaluated and reevaluated,” says Klaus Pfeiffer, Partner at Weber & Co. in Vienna. “Especially when it comes to making decisions about the pandemic, facts on which assumptions are based can change rapidly.” Having learned this lesson, he says, the Austrian government has “put itself in a good position to be flexible and able to constantly reassess its position – which will lead to better responses to the current crisis and future challenges.”

An interview with Julien Hansen of DLA Piper Moscow.

Interview with Alex Cook of Clifford Chance Prague.

On September 24, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Baker McKenzie’s Prague office had advised Worldline SA/NV on its acquisition of a 53% of stake in GoPay. JSK and Urban & Hejduk advised the sellers on the deal, Pavel Schwarz Jr. and BUDEX Direct.

On July 28, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Olena Kuchynska had been appointed the new Managing Partner of the Kinstellar’s Kyiv office. After a few months of settling in, we spoke with Olena to learn more about the team she’s been appointed to lead and her plans for the future. 

An Interview with Partners Jonathan Marks and Richard Jones from Slaughter and May’s Dedicated CEE Partner Group

Over the course of our seven years, CEE Legal Matters has interviewed most of the British lawyers working on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe as part of our recurring “Expat on the Market” feature. We reached out to them recently and asked them to bring us up to speed on what they’re doing and/or share their thoughts on the ramifications of Brexit or the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The Hungarian financial market finished 2019 in a strong position. Intrigued by what many have described as a “special” year, CEE Legal Matters sat down with several of the nation’s leading Banking/Finance lawyers at Lakatos, Koves & Partners’ offices in Budapest to learn more.

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.

After billing 500 hours for the past month, you finally found some quality time to write an article for your loving clients. After you send it out, you watch your phone with bated breath, anticipating that avalanche of new business that’s just about to pour in. Then, nothing.

Over thirty years ago, journalists reported that a chemical had been released into the water pipes of Durand, Michigan. They warned citizens that the chemical DHMO could accelerate corrosion and in certain situations even cause suffocation. The city’s inhabitants were beside themselves in panic.

Once upon a time, you were a pretty good speaker, dominating the law conference circuit. Now, you find yourself holding webinars in your pajamas. Things got weird, fast.

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. 

One of the most notable recent changes to Ukrainian law, according to Svitlana Gurieieva, Partner at Sayenko Kharenko, involves the Cabinet of Ministers' approval of new resolutions aimed at starting town-planning reform.

“It’s very complicated at this moment, with most people changing their mind very often,” says Irena Georgieva, Managing Partner of PPG Lawyers in Sofia, about the situation in Bulgaria. “Everybody is focused on their personal Covid-19-related problems and it’s hard to adequately measure what the community really thinks about the government, as somehow all political decisions are inextricably linked with pandemic issues.” 

Slovakia’s political life is currently marked by the government's internal struggles, says Martin Magal, Managing Partner at Allen & Overy Bratislava. “We have a fairly inept coalition government and our politicians are much more involved in fighting among each other than fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“There is a lot going on at the moment, politics-wise,” says Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners Partner Ana Grabnar. “One of the coalition parties left the coalition and joined opposition parties in filing for a no-confidence vote for the government – that took place this week.”  The opposition did not gather the necessary majority; “surprisingly it gathered even fewer votes than predicted,” she says.

“The hot topic in Hungary right now is the January 2021 amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure” says Komor Hennel Attorneys Managing Partner Ildiko Komor Hennel. “The act passed in the 1950s had one previous major overhaul back in 2017,” she says, adding that the recent amendments were necessitated by “modern times, technological updates, procedural effectiveness and business reality – just imagine not being able to file documents electronically!”

“Austria has learned in the last year that every choice needs to be evaluated and reevaluated,” says Klaus Pfeiffer, Partner at Weber & Co. in Vienna. “Especially when it comes to making decisions about the pandemic, facts on which assumptions are based can change rapidly.” Having learned this lesson, he says, the Austrian government has “put itself in a good position to be flexible and able to constantly reassess its position – which will lead to better responses to the current crisis and future challenges.”