26
Fri, Apr
22 New Articles

Latest Analysis

Grid List

While current affairs seem to be stable in Montenegro, according to Tripkovic & Raicevic Founding Partner Pavle Tripkovic, the recent bankruptcies of Invest Bank of Montenegro and Atlas Bank have alarmed the local banking market.

“The talk about the entrance of two regional players – CMS and Schoenherr – onto the Macedonian market last year is still on everyone’s lips (among lawyers),” says Apostolska & Partners’ Founding Partner Emilija Apostolska-Temov in North Macedonia, who says that the presence of such law firms in the market will undoubtedly influence business, increasing both the quality of legal services and competition. “It also gives us a hint about investments coming in – such big law firms would not come without any plans,” she says. “They must know something that the rest of us will learn later. I think it will be a positive experience.”

“These are really exciting times in Croatia,” says Kallay & Partners Managing Partner Ivna Medic. On January 1, 2019, she says, the rule book of electronic communications in commercial court procedures was changed to provide the conditions for communicating in electronic form. Medic explains that the regulation represents something completely new for the Croatian legal system. “For the very first time we have the opportunity to communicate with courts electronically, and most definitely this will speed up court proceedings and reduce costs for the proceedings,” she says.

“There was a very big scandal few weeks ago that involved top Lithuanian judges getting detained in an anti-corruption crackdown,” says Metida Partner Erikas Saukalas, referring to the eight judges from the country’s Regional Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court who were arrested at the end of February. The arrests were apparently made, Saukalas reports, following the discovery that the judges had accepted bribes ranging from EUR 1000-100,000 in criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Saukalas describes the case as “a huge disappointment for our society.” 

In the last five years significant changes have occurred in the Serbian business and political environment. This has been a time of dramatic change – with the general goal of transforming the position and the image of Serbia both regionally and globally, strongly affirming a pro-EU stance and making Serbia much more attractive for foreign investment. Obviously, both of these goals are interconnected because improving the image of a country brings more investments, and foreign investors generating profits in Serbia improves Serbia’s global image.

In recent years, a principal aim of Hungary’s energy strategy has been to make the country self-sufficient in electric energy. In figures, this means reducing the import to 0% within ten years – as the country’s current dependency on import of approximately 30% is significantly above the EU average. The increasing price of gas and the decreasing price of electricity led to a decrease in the domestic production of natural gas, so the Hungarian energy policy had to turn to alternatives.

While current affairs seem to be stable in Montenegro, according to Tripkovic & Raicevic Founding Partner Pavle Tripkovic, the recent bankruptcies of Invest Bank of Montenegro and Atlas Bank have alarmed the local banking market.

“The talk about the entrance of two regional players – CMS and Schoenherr – onto the Macedonian market last year is still on everyone’s lips (among lawyers),” says Apostolska & Partners’ Founding Partner Emilija Apostolska-Temov in North Macedonia, who says that the presence of such law firms in the market will undoubtedly influence business, increasing both the quality of legal services and competition. “It also gives us a hint about investments coming in – such big law firms would not come without any plans,” she says. “They must know something that the rest of us will learn later. I think it will be a positive experience.”

“These are really exciting times in Croatia,” says Kallay & Partners Managing Partner Ivna Medic. On January 1, 2019, she says, the rule book of electronic communications in commercial court procedures was changed to provide the conditions for communicating in electronic form. Medic explains that the regulation represents something completely new for the Croatian legal system. “For the very first time we have the opportunity to communicate with courts electronically, and most definitely this will speed up court proceedings and reduce costs for the proceedings,” she says.

“There was a very big scandal few weeks ago that involved top Lithuanian judges getting detained in an anti-corruption crackdown,” says Metida Partner Erikas Saukalas, referring to the eight judges from the country’s Regional Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court who were arrested at the end of February. The arrests were apparently made, Saukalas reports, following the discovery that the judges had accepted bribes ranging from EUR 1000-100,000 in criminal, civil, and administrative cases. Saukalas describes the case as “a huge disappointment for our society.” 

“From the perspective of a finance lawyer, my general observation is that the biggest problem is of course the political issue,” says Herbert Smith Freehills Partner Olga Davydava, referring to the sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union. “The political situation really affects the legal market.”

“On the business side,” says Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Partner Friedrich Jergitsch, when asked what’s happening in Austria, "people are interested in artificial intelligence, data protection, and cyber-issues. These topics are always important to our clients.” Jergitsch says that data protection responsibilities and concerns “reach far beyond the GDPR.” He explains that “it’s an enormous subject in M&A, and M&A-related due diligence, because a lot of the M&A work involves clients purchasing data companies or cyber companies, and of course it’s a common post-M&A dispute topic, as well as a contractual topic, including in finance transactions.”

On January 25, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported on the split of Polish powerhouse Kochanski Zieba & Partners into two new firms: Zieba & Partners and Kochanski & Partners. CEELM sat down with Zieba & Partners founders Rafal Zieba, Adam Piwakowski, and Przemyslaw Kordel to learn more about the new firm’s plans for the future. 

Joerg Menzer is a German citizen based in Bucharest, where he coordinates Noerr’s CEE practice for international clients. He specializes in M&A transactions and concentrates on structuring major foreign investments and business expansion projects in CEE.

The Deal:  In July 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Reff & Associates had advised Dutch shipbuilding group Damen on its take-over of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd.’s participation in Romania’s Daewoo Mangalia shipyard. DSME was advised by CMS. The yard, which was renamed the Damen Shipyards Mangalia, is now operated as a joint venture with the Romanian Government, with Damen assuming operational control. We reached out to both firms for more information.

This year marks Maravela | Asociatii’s fifth anniversary. To mark the occasion, we sat down with Maravela | Asociatii Partner Alina Popescu to learn more about the challenges the firm has overcome in its first five years, its successes, and its plans for the future.

Adina Calfa-Dudoiu is Legal Director at Rosia Montana Gold Corporation S.A., the gold mining project of Canada’s Gabriel Resources in Romania. Before joining RMCG in February 2017, she spent three years as Legal Director of UPC Romania, and another ten in private practice with CMS.

CEE Legal Matters is a proud media partner of Lexpo - The Legal Innovation Event, which aims to be the number one source of information about the latest trends in legal innovation in Continental Europe. With the conference drawing closer and closer, CEELM sat down with Ari Kaplan — an attorney and legal industry analyst who will be acting as the Master of Ceremonies at the event — to learn more about what participants can look forward to.

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.