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Two concentrations recently prohibited by the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition with limited analysis have been widely criticized for their lack of valid economic arguments. Because both decisions were highly publicized and concern the politically sensitive sectors of media and energy, they are worth special attention.

The particularly-challenging nature of CEE law firm marketing becomes especially relevant as we bid adieu to a good friend in Bulgaria, who, after more than four years doing law firm marketing and business development with several of Bulgaria’s leading law firms, is leaving the profession altogether. We asked her some final questions on her last day, honoring her request for anonymity in the process.

Ever since the CEE market opened for private practice CEE lawyers have sought to work on international mandates in collaboration with international lead counsels. Apart from the obvious (we take an oath to serve justice, but it is no secret that we also in fact work for money), the benefits of this cooperation also include the opportunity to draw on the international counsel’s expertise, particularly in transactional work. Such cooperation has greatly influenced the work of local counsel. Those who seized the opportunity had a steep learning curve and developed their practices to a level that is generally referred to, mostly in lawyers’ own pitches, as reaching an “international standard.”

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: Who was your mentor, and what was the most important lesson you learned from him or her?

After years of anticipation, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force and took effect on May 25, 2018, bringing about several changes to Europe’s current data protection regime.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

Last year was a good year for the Bulgarian economy, which registered 3.6% GDP growth. The Bulgarian Government plans to further boost the economy in 2018, and initial projections vary from 3% to 4% growth. The main trigger for this will be the continuation of spending public funds on strategic infrastructure projects.

The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).

Venture capital investments in Bulgarian start-ups are on the rise, and modern legal structures such as share option plans and convertible notes can, if local law peculiarities are taken into account, be applied in the country.

One of the defects of the Bulgarian tax system and of the enforcement authorities in Bulgaria – the lack of direct access to information for the purposes of administrative cooperation (the automatic exchange of information) between the relevant authorities and legal entities – is on its way to being resolved.

On Thursday, November 30th, leading legal practitioners from across Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Prague to help CEE Legal Matters celebrate its fourth successful year as the leading chronicle of the legal industry in the region, participating in an expert Round Table conversation about the year just concluded and enjoying an evening of dinner, drinks, and bonhomie. 

In The Corner Office, we invite Senior and Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. For this issue, we asked them to describe their least favorite part of their jobs. 

Employment relationships require special protection both at European and national levels. Although largely enshrined in European legislation, those protections remain subject to modifications to ensure efficiency and security of the employment process. 

The 2017 CEE Legal Matters General Summit took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw on June 1-2, 2017, once again bringing together well over a hundred General Counsel and Heads of Legal from across Central and Eastern Europe for two full days (and one entertaining evening) of seminars, panel discussions, best practices review, and networking. This year’s event — the third annual, following the 2015 GC Summit in Budapest and the 2016 GC Summit in Istanbul — was the biggest and most successful yet.

On May 31 and June 1, 2017, CEE Legal Matters was proud to host a rare event: A gathering of those senior lawyers from each Central and Eastern European country identified by peers as being most influential, most important, most uniquely responsible for having created the country’s modern commercial legal market.

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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