In November 2014, at the conclusion of their publication’s first year of existence, the editors of CEE Legal Matters decided to celebrate by inviting a select number of legal experts from across CEE to join them in Vienna for dinner, drinks, and a rare Round Table conversation on the state of CEE’s legal markets. The event, which took place the next year in Prague, then in Warsaw, and then again in Prague, grew over time, with an ever-growing core group supplemented each year by new friends.
A Budapest Bash
This year’s event, on November 30, 2018 in Budapest, was expanded yet again to mark the occasion of the fifth anniversary of CEE Legal Matters, the leading chronicle of and platform for lawyers across Central and Eastern Europe. It was, thus, by far the biggest End of Year Summit yet, with some 80 private practitioners and senior in-house counsel coming from across Central and Eastern Europe to join CEE Legal Matters Knowledge Partners (see p. 56) at Budapest’s Element Bar and Restaurant near the Hungarian Parliament.
Live music, provided courtesy of the Rafael Mario Jazz Trio, welcomed attendees, and provided an entertaining backdrop to the lively conversation and laughter that dominated the evening.
At several points the music was stopped, however, for special comments and presentations. Wolf Theiss Poland Co-Managing Partner Ron Given – a long-time supporter of CEE Legal Matters, the author of the Guest Editorial that launched the CEE Legal Matters magazine back in February 2014, and an annual attendee at the End of Year Summits – started by reflecting briefly on the publication’s five years of reporting, before introducing the editors.
CEE Legal Matters Executive Editor David Stuckey took the stage next, briefly running through CEELM’s history and commitment to its target audience before retreating from the stage and gratefully allowing the band to replace his drone with more melodic entertainment.
While guests mingled and talked, exchanging bon mots with their business cards, dinner and drinks were served by flying waiters, providing sustenance for the festivities.
Taking the Stage
At 9 pm Managing Editor Radu Cotarcea took the stage, shaking off the fatigue from two sleepless nights to make a detailed presentation about an exciting new (and as-yet-unnamed) product CEELM will be introducing in 2019 which will allow lawyers and firms alike to claim individualized pages on a dedicated and dynamic website which are automatically updated to reflect all stories they’ve appeared in or authored on the CEE Legal Matters website, whether in the form of news stories about specific deals and other client matters, targeted interviews, articles they’ve written … or anything else. This unprecedented tool, available nowhere else in the world, will help members of the CEE legal community promote their capabilities and experience to colleagues, counterparts, and clients, complete with photos, bios, and contact details, in a heretofore inconceivable way. As Cotarcea explained to the attendees, it will be formally launched in early 2019.
After several pointed question and answers, Cotarcea stepped down, and the music and general conversation resumed.
Finally, at 10 pm, Cotarcea and Stuckey took the microphone together one last time to divide the attendees into teams and lead them in a CEE Legal Matters-focused trivia contest, with one member of the winning team (who turned out to Peter Lukascsi, from SBGK Attorneys at Law) selected at random to have his firm receive a free sponsorship to the upcoming 2019 Hungary GC Summit, and the other team members receiving free tickets to the March 28, 2019 Deal of the Year Awards Banquet.
At that point cake was brought out, candles were blown out, faces were stuffed, and the music took over one last time, eventually serenading the guests out into the night. The Budapest Bash was over … and planning for next year’s began.
This Article was originally published in Issue 6.1 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.