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Florina Homeghiu spent the first decade of her career in private practice before, in 2017 moving in-house with the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company – Romania, initially as Senior Legal Counsel, then, in 2018, as Country Legal Manager and Compliance Officer. In May of 2020 she joined the Policolor-Orgachim group.

“The in-house advisory role enables a lawyer to go deeper into the mysteries of the banking business and experience the life of a transaction, not just observe it from a distance. I elected to pursue an in-house practice at the beginning of my career, and even though I was tempted to switch to private practice many times, I remain loyal to the in-house life.”

Polish lawyer Anna Wawrzynczak spent 14 years in private practice with two highly-regarded international law firms before moving in-house with the Coast2Coast investment fund, where she was Regional Counsel CEE for almost three years. In October 2019 she accepted an offer to become the Legal Manager, Head of the Corporate Division at the Polish Development Fund in Warsaw. 

Building a successful in-house legal department involves selecting the right people for the right positions, deciding which lawyers to assign to which tasks, instructing and training them, convincing them to work as a cohesive unit rather than a bunch of individuals, and of course addressing and resolving conflicts and crises – all while fulfilling the critical function of legal advisor to the rest of the company. It’s not easy.

In addition to their traditional role guiding companies through legal and regulatory waters and managing disputes, General Counsels are increasingly called upon to provide input on strategic matters. An expert panel at the second annual Balkan GC Summit considered how this change in the nature of the General Counsel role is manifesting itself in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Hyprop Investments – South Africa’s largest listed specialist shopping center Real Estate Investment Trust – operates a portfolio of premium shopping centers in South Africa, other countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeastern Europe. Hyprop’s six current investments in SEE include two shopping malls in Zagreb and one each in Sofia, Podgorica, Belgrade, and Skopje. Hyprop is internally managed and headquartered in Johannesburg.

Peter Malovec is the Group Head of Legal at HB Reavis in Bratislava. He joined HB Reavis in 2010 after spending seven years in private practice with the BBH law firm. We reached out to him to learn more about his background, style, and strategies.

In the October 2015 issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine we spoke with Eleni Stakathi, the Head of Legal at Upstream in Greece. We decided to check in with her and see how things had changed in the last four years.

Bardugov Alexander is the Head of Legal of Banca Intesa in Moscow, a role which he has held since 2013. He first joined Banca Intesa in 2004 as a Junior Legal Counsel, gradually progressing to Head of Sector for Banking Operations Legal Support in 2008, Head of Legal Support for Retail and SME in 2009, and Head of Business Legal Support in 2010.

Ante Sucur has been the Head of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary at Mercury Processing Services International Ltd (formerly Intesa Sanpaolo Card Ltd) since 2009. Before joining Mercury, he worked for five and a half years at Privredna Banka Zagreb d.d. (which is also part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group).

Basak Gurbuz is a Counsel at The Walt Disney Company Turkey, where she oversees the company’s legal and compliance matters. Prior to assuming her current in-house role, she was a Managing Associate with Gun + Partners. Her experience also includes time with Pekin & Bayar, the Yazici Law Firm, the Kasaroglu Law Firm, and Bayindir Holding.

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