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When I was asked to write this editorial by CEE Legal Matters I started to wonder how I could describe the current situation in Central and Eastern Europe. The first half of the year will definitely remain marked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, this editorial will not be focused on the pandemic, on measures taken (or not taken) by the governments in the region, or on what the consequences will be. Instead, I will try to provide an overview of the market, specifically as it relates to our business in this part of the world – and how I expect it to develop in the years to come.

We decided to lighten the mood this time around by asking our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a non-law-firm related question: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

Over the past few years CMS advised the OTP Bank Group on an extensive series of acquisitions across Bulgaria, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia. This series of separate deals was shortlisted for CEE Legal Matters’ CEE Deal of the Year in each of the countries involved, actually winning the 2018 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria and the 2019 Deal of the Year Award for Montenegro. We reached out to Eva Talmacsi, who led CMS’s multi-jurisdictional team, to learn more about the firm’s impressive work on OTP’s behalf.

In 2010, France’s Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament published the results of tests of breast implants produced by the French company PIP and banned their use, due to an increasing number of reports of incidents related to impaired implant integrity and subsequent health-related complications.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What major initiative or new plan does your office (or firm) plan – if any – for 2020?

The “order for payment procedure” was initially introduced in Bulgaria with the adoption of the new Civil Procedural Code in 2007 as an accelerated enforcement procedure for debt collection. This procedure provides creditors with a relatively fast and easy way to obtain an enforcement order against debtors. In general, the order for payment procedure is like a closed administrative procedure and requires only the submission of a standard application form and payment of a state fee of 2% of the amount claimed.

The automobile part-and-component-production sector’s expansion in recent years has become a motor of the Bulgarian industry and economy. Since the Japanese company Yazaki’s investment some 15 years ago, and following Bulgaria’s EU accession in 2007 – and thanks to the common European market and the globalization of car production – Bulgarian car part manufacturers have successfully integrated into European and international supply chains as suppliers and subcontractors for global brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Nissan, Audi, Ford, Porsche, and Tesla. Nowadays, 80% of all cars have parts produced in Bulgaria. In some specific segments, Bulgarian manufacturers have become absolute market leaders - for example, 90% of the airbag sensors in all European cars are produced in Bulgaria.

Why would anyone knowingly become a law firm marketing specialist – a role that is demanding, complicated, challenging, and stressful? To explore this mystery, we went to the source. Accordingly, this time around we asked the law firm marketing specialists of CEE to complete the following question: “I went into Law Firm Marketing/BD as a career because ____________.“

In 2013, a wide range of changes were introduced in relation to the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate. A staple for a wide range of financial products, LIBOR has been the dominant rate for syndicated loans, bonds, and derivatives entered into on the Bulgarian, CEE, and wider European markets. However, following a series of problems over the past decade, the need to move away from LIBOR has become apparent. As panel banks would not be required to submit their references by the end of 2021, the question has become what the alternatives to LIBOR are and how they can be implemented.

There were more than 2.7 million vehicles in Bulgaria in 2018, 319,639 of which were newly registered. Yet it appears that such figures, even in a country with a population of less than seven million, don’t necessarily create an opportunity for the development of connected car services. Why aren’t connected cars more significant and widely-used in Bulgaria?

In “The Corner Office” we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was the most difficult or unpleasant experience you had terminating someone’s employment?”

It has been over a year since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation became mandatory across Europe, marking a seismic shift in the way that companies collect, process, and handle personal data. Countries across the European Union and beyond have adapted their national laws to meet the requirements of the GDPR – with many introducing local derogations as permitted by the GDPR.

At the end of April, 2019, Sopharma Trading announced the creation of “SOinventure” – a corporate acceleration program in the field of health-tech, organized in partnership with Bulgarian investment fund Eleven Ventures. We decided to ask Mr. Ivaylo Simov, Partner at Eleven Ventures, and Mr. Dimitar Dimitrov, CEO of Sopharma Trading, three questions about the development of the alliance between healthcare and new technology, and we added our experience-based opinion to their answers.

Bulgaria Knowledge Partner

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

Firm's website: www.schoenherr.eu

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