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I am often asked by my foreign colleagues and clients about how the Czech Republic is doing, and my answer is that we are doing fine. Putting aside the political situation, which is similar to many other countries, economically we are doing very well; there was strong GDP growth of 4.6% in 2017 and almost 3% last year. Part of this growth is clearly attributable to our strong, maturing startup and investor community, which is pushing the country forward. Czechs have a talent for improvisation and finding solutions that work well, using innovation, research and development, and technology. We have invented many tools that have changed the world in fields such as nanotechnology, chemistry, and engineering. At the same time, we now have a pool of investors who are able to invest in new startup companies and back up the research and development that is done.

The Czech Republic was one of the first countries in Europe to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. This was achieved in 2013 by means of an amendment to the Act on Pharmaceuticals, which was subsequently implemented by the “Cannabis Regulation.” Despite this, access to medical cannabis still remains difficult for many patients.

The tobacco products market is heavily regulated in the Czech Republic, as it is across the European Union. A key document is the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU), which sets out a uniform, detailed framework for all EU member states. The TPD thus provides substantial direction regarding tobacco regulation, tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes, as well as novel tobacco products. It includes comprehensive definitions of various types of tobacco products and regulates their labeling and packaging, mandatory health warnings and security features, and how to place them on the EU market.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across CEE about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: How do you do performance reviews, and how important are they to the planning and management of the firm?”

Having been a foreign lawyer abroad for a significant part of my career so far – this last decade in CEE – I can say that the past couple of years have been the most interesting, and I mean that in the Confucian sense.  Not because of local market developments or interesting deals – though there have been plenty of both – but because of the events of 2016 and a certain painful embarrassment and anguish I feel when a well-meaning acquaintance, colleague, or client, in genuine bewilderment, looks me in the eye and asks me, in my capacity as a British citizen and English lawyer, “what on earth is going on?”

Establishing a real and sustainable energy mix is a crucial task for every democratic state. In addition, any energy mix that has been chosen and put in place may change. Indeed, it has to, if the terms and conditions on which it was established undergo important changes. This, of course, applies in the Czech Republic as everywhere else.

After the first industrial revolution, which involved the discovery and use of steam power, the second, which involved the discovery and use of electricity, and the third, which involved the use of electronics and information and communication technologies such as computers, the fourth industrial revolution has now dawned. This one involves the digitization and interconnection of computers, machines, and people. Examples of this new development are cyber-physical systems: Computer-monitored-and-controlled mechanisms, such as vehicle assistance systems, that support drivers in driving or completely replace them altogether (this is known as “Smart Mobility”), thanks to communication and interaction with other vehicles or stationary devices in the vicinity.

The Deal: In May, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Linklaters, Kocian Solc Balastik, the BLC Law Office, Paksoy, and Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski had provided advice on Czech, English, Georgian, Turkish, and Bulgarian law, respectively, to Energo-Pro a.s. on its EUR 250 million Eurobond issue in London. Allen & Overy, BGI Legal in Tbilisi, Boyanov & Co. in Bulgaria, and Turkey’s Gedik & Eraksoy advised the joint bookrunners, BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and J.P. Morgan Securities plc, and the Trustee, Citibank, N.A., London Branch.

In The Corner Office we ask Senior and Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: “What is the one skill, ability, or characteristic that fresh law school graduates in your country most commonly lack?”

With the world becoming increasingly globalized, it is easier for taxpayers to make, hold, and manage investments outside their countries of residence. Vast amounts of money are kept offshore and untaxed, to the extent that taxpayers fail to comply with the tax duties of their home jurisdictions. Co-operation among tax authorities is critical in the fight against tax evasion.

In this age of intricate transnational ties, the international business community is placing an ever-increasing emphasis on the swift and economic settlement of disputes. Major arbitral institutions are adopting rules on expedited proceedings, promoting mediation, and/or embracing summary disposition procedures. All these initiatives are focused on managing the process and the taking of evidence: the focal points of procedural efficiency.

In 2013 the SNR Denton, Fraser Milner Casgrain, and Salans law firms merged into one entity: Dentons. The firm capitalized on its momentum by merging two years later with China’s Dacheng law firm, making it the largest law firm in the world. On the occasion of the firm’s 5th anniversary, CEE Legal Matters reached out to Dentons Partner and Europe Chief Executive Officer Tomasz Dabrowski in Poland and Dentons Partner and Global Vice Chair Evan Lazar in Prague to ask about the first five years and to see what’s next in Denton’s strategy for Europe and CEE.

Less than 30 years after the wholescale introduction of computers into the legal profession, we find ourselves on the brink of a 4th industrial revolution. Today, we have cars that can drive on their own, we can print almost anything (including entire buildings and human body parts) on a 3D printer, and the Internet of Things is becoming a natural part of our everyday lives. All these tools are making our lives easier and more comfortable. And as the business world adapts to this new era, the legal profession obviously cannot stay behind.

The Prague-based European Centre for Career Education focuses on providing students a practical and complimentary education, focusing on kinds of practical experience and inspiration they rarely receive in their university studies. After they complete the program, ECCE helps participants obtain useful internships with companies such as Siemens, Unicredit, Exxon Mobile, T-Mobile, and Lego, and with law firms including DLA Piper, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, and Dentons.

45 days. That’s how long it took Roman Kramarik, Partner at JSK in the Czech Republic who recently became the first-ever Czechoslovakian pilot to fly around the world, to complete his 36,863-kilometer mission. After crossing three oceans, surviving monsoon rains, facing the cold of Alaska and the warmth of the Far East, all behind the controls of his Cessna P210N Centurion airplane named the “Winged Lion,” Kramarik returned to his office at the Prague law firm, rightly proud – and more than a little exhausted.

In its most recent annual report, the Czech Competition Authority stated that the investigation of bid-rigging cartels would be its highest priority. The issue of bid rigging is a hot topic that has attracted the attention not only of the CCA, but also that of the Czech police and public prosecutors, who have been very active in investigating bid-rigging cartels in recent years.

The legal regulation of transactions with virtual currencies and Initial Coin Offerings / Initial Token Offerings is a topic of ever more frequent discussion in the Czech Republic. The ano-nymity of cryptocurrency transactions has been reduced by the introduction of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules, while the Czech regulator’s approach to the regulation of trading with virtual currencies is very liberal.

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

PRK Partners, one of the leading Central European law firms, has been helping clients achieve their business objectives almost 30 years. Our team of lawyers, based in our Prague, Ostrava, and Bratislava offices, has a unique knowledge of Czech and Slovak law and of the business environment. Our lawyers studied at top law schools in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland and elsewhere. They also have experience working for leading international and domestic law firms in a number of jurisdictions. We speak your language, too. Our legal team is fluent in more than 15 languages, including all the key languages of the region.

PRK Partners has one of the most experienced legal teams on the market. We are consistently rated as one of the leading law firms in the region. We have received many significant honours and awards for our work. We represent the interests of international clients operating in the Czech Republic in an efficient way, combining local knowledge with an understanding of their global requirements in a business-friendly approach. We are one of the largest law firms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Our specialised teams of lawyers and tax advisors advise major global corporations as well as local companies. We provide comprehensive legal advice drawing on our profound knowledge of local law and markets.

Our legal advice delivers tangible results – as proven by our strong track record. We are the only Czech member firm of Lex Mundi, the world's leading network of independent law firms. As one of the leading law firms in the region, we have received many national and international awards, in some cases several years in a row. Honours include the Chambers Europe Award for Excellence, The Lawyer and Czech and Slovak Law Firm of the Year. Thanks to our close cooperation with leading international law firms and strong local players, we can serve clients in multiple jurisdictions around the globe. Our strong network means that we can meet your needs, wherever you do business.

PRK Partners has been repeatedly voted among the most socially responsible firms in the category of small and mid-sized firms and was awarded the bronze certificate at the annual TOP Responsible Firm of the Year Awards.

Our work is not only “business”: we have participated on a longstanding basis in a wide variety of pro bono projects and supported our partners from the non-profit sector (Kaplicky Centre Endowment Fund, Tereza Maxová Foundation, Czech Donors Forum, etc.).

Firm's website: www.prkpartners.com

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