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The Buzz in Serbia: Interview with Tijana Kojovic of BDK Advokati

The Buzz in Serbia: Interview with Tijana Kojovic of BDK Advokati

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The hottest topic in Serbia these days relates to the ongoing Bar issues, according to Tijana Kojovic, Managing Partner at BDK Advokati

“We were supposed to have elections for the Belgrade Bar bodies this Saturday [December 3, 2016], but they were postponed because of the Constitutional Court’s decision to put aside some provisions of the articles of association of the Belgrade Bar,” Kojovic said, explaining that the management of the Belgrade Bar Association has been creating conflict for quite some time between the so-called "individual lawyers" and “big law.” According to the Managing Partner of BDK Advokati, the conflict has culminated in the Bar Association's recent decision to delete some of the lawyers cooperating with law firms from the list of those who are entitled to vote on the grounds that “they are not independent.” 

“What underlies this latest attack on law firms is a struggle within the Bar of the incumbents trying to keep their position,” reported Kojovic. “There seems to be a fear that their power within the Bar will be diminished if law firms become actively involved." Kojovic added that things started getting heated when, “due to personal clashes, one of the partners of a renown Belgrade law firm was deleted from the list of lawyers for something that was really a non-issue [the decision was later successfully appealed]. There is a sense now in the market that if this could have happened, anyone can become a target of the current Belgrade Bar management.”

Kojovic reported that the provisions of the recently-adopted articles of association of the Belgrade Bar, which were cited as the basis for removing 160 lawyers from the list of those entitled to vote in the upcoming elections, have been contested by lawyers before the country's Constitutional Court. While a final decision is still pending, the Court did find enough justification to warrant a Constitutional Court review and issue a provisional measure based on which the elections cannot exclude those lawyers until a final decision is made.

In terms of client work, Kojovic noted that the market had expected there to be more coming from areas related to distressed assets and NPLs in 2016 than has actually occurred, though she reports that many in the country expect these kinds of work to pick up in 2017. Similarly, consolidation within the banking sector increased in 2016 and is now expected to continue into 2017. 

In terms of specific deals, there are two big transactions expected in 2017, according to Kojovic. The first is the sale of the Komercijalna banka — a majority state-owned bank. The second is the privatization of the Belgrade airport, which Kojovic said will most likely complete in the form of a concession.  

In “The Buzz” we interview experts on the legal industry living and working in Central and Eastern Europe to find out what’s happening in the region and what legislative/professional/cultural trends and developments they’re following closely.

Serbia Knowledge Partner

SOG in cooperation with Kinstellar is a full-service business law firm in Serbia that provides foreign and domestic clients with premium-quality legal advice and assistance across a wide range of key areas of corporate law. The firm was founded in 2015 by a group of seasoned, internationally-trained lawyers. SOG has developed a distinctively dynamic culture, bringing together top talent, fostering entrepreneurship, and maintaining exceptional relationships with its clients.

SOG has achieved consistent growth in the volume of its business, accompanied by an exponential increase in the number of hired associate lawyers and the firm’s network of business contacts. SOG has a robust client base of multinationals, investment and private equity firms, and financial institutions. Clients praise SOG for being commercially minded, very responsive and knowledgeable.

Establishing permanent cooperation with Kinstellar is part of realising SOG's long-term development strategy to be the leading provider of legal services in the Western Balkans market.

Firm's website: https://www.kinstellar.com/


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