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In March of 2019, relative unknown Zuzana Caputova won the Slovakian Presidential election, becoming the first woman and – at 45 – the youngest person ever to hold that office. With a background as an environmental lawyer and human rights activist, Caputova is largely viewed in Slovakia as a unifier, taking strong and reasonable approaches to even apparently intractable problems. Her success has inspired a degree of hope for the future from her former peers and colleagues in Slovakia’s legal community.

When I was asked some time age to write an editorial for CEE Legal Matters on the Slovak legal market I thought it would be a nice opportunity to review my last 20 years, approaching the end of another very successful financial year.

In 2009, deep in the throes of the global financial crisis, Mykola Stetsenko, a partner at Baker & McKenzie in Kyiv, stepped away from that secure position to start his own law firm. His ambitious move paid off, and now, eleven years later, the firm he launched – Avellum – is among the most successful and highly regarded in Ukraine.

We decided to lighten the mood this time around by asking our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a non-law-firm related question: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

A CEELM Profile of Daniel Szabo, Central Europe Team Lead at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Budapest.

Over the past few years CMS advised the OTP Bank Group on an extensive series of acquisitions across Bulgaria, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia. This series of separate deals was shortlisted for CEE Legal Matters’ CEE Deal of the Year in each of the countries involved, actually winning the 2018 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria and the 2019 Deal of the Year Award for Montenegro. We reached out to Eva Talmacsi, who led CMS’s multi-jurisdictional team, to learn more about the firm’s impressive work on OTP’s behalf.

On January 1st, 2020, the Hungarian government adopted new legislation making continuing professional education compulsory for lawyers, post-qualification, along the lines of post-certification training and education that tax advisors and accountants had been forced to obtain for many years.

The Spring of 2020 brought the pandemic to CEE, with its “perfect storm” of ingredients – including significant legal ramifications. Whether you are an individual, a business, or a governmental official, the storm made you ask at least one of these questions: “What are my rights in pre-existing contract?”, “Am I still bound to pay?”, “Can I get my money back?”, “Will I be liable for this?”, and “What legislation is needed to help ease the impact on the public?” 

The move by the Big 4 firms – Deloitte, KPMG, EY, and PwC – to capitalize on their client lists and their multi-disciplinary capabilities by extending the ability of their legal arms to compete with traditional law firms is by now well-established. In Austria, their legal arms have begun competing aggressively for talent as well.

The Hungarian financial market finished 2019 in a strong position. Intrigued by what many have described as a “special” year, CEE Legal Matters sat down with several of the nation’s leading Banking/Finance lawyers at Lakatos, Koves & Partners’ offices in Budapest to learn more.

Sounds frightening, huh? When I first encountered this expression a couple of years ago, I thought it was one of those buzzwords that had been created by accountants or other financial wizards to tackle invasively curious tax administration people. “Bottomline” also sounded familiar: that is the very last figure in your financial statements; the one that interests you the most.

Before being elected President of Ukraine last May, Volodymyr Zelensky had virtually no experience in public office. Despite his inexperience – or perhaps because of it – over 73% of the electorate concluded that the comedian and entertainer was the right man to replace Petro Poroshenko, the previous President, and now Zelensky finds himself, at 41, leading an entire nation.

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