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In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was the most useful or valuable piece of software or new technology your firm has acquired in the past five years?

Concerns about how the legal profession will be impacted by the ongoing technological revolution are rampant across the industry. Artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technology (blockchain), and robots, among other things, are already altering the way lawyers serve clients in fundamental ways, and the influence of these new tools and technologies will almost certainly increase in years to come.

I am convinced that most law firms in the region – even those larger firms that have dedicated marketing teams – do a poor job of recognizing and acting on good opportunities.

Why would anyone knowingly become a law firm marketing specialist – a role that is demanding, complicated, challenging, and stressful? To explore this mystery, we went to the source. Accordingly, this time around we asked the law firm marketing specialists of CEE to complete the following question: “I went into Law Firm Marketing/BD as a career because ____________.“

Over the past few years we have seen a sustained interest by South African companies in investing in Central and Eastern Europe. I travel to the region regularly and am often asked to explain why this is so. In particular, what are the drivers of capital outflow and what opportunities does this present for CEE-based businesses?

Ronnie Apteker is a South-African born entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker. He founded the first Internet Service Provider in South Africa, which is now part of the world’s largest TelCo, Japans’s NTT. He has made Kyiv his second home, and is currently busy with a documentary film project about the IT landscape in Ukraine. We asked him to share his thoughts about Kyiv – many of which, it turns out, apply elsewhere in CEE as well.

South Africa is rich. Not just in gold and diamonds – although God knows, in those too – but in everything. There is, in the country, a richness of cultural and ethnic diversity, of languages, of turbulent and joyous history. Of the largest and fiercest animals left on the planet. Of breathtaking sights and majestic tableaus. Of world class wines and remarkable cuisine. Of colors and tastes and sounds and smells and experiences and friendships. And, yes, also in gold and diamonds.

Lawyers get a helicopter view of the deal-making environment, as we have access to various sub-sectors within the private equity space and the general mergers and acquisitions deal-making space. We have access to large corporates, family offices, PE funds, and some pretty savvy transactors.

The legal profession in Slovakia will shortly celebrate 30 years of independence. And as the country itself is not much older than that, the profession-building and country-building have taken place side by side, going through ups and downs.

In the 26 years since its launch in 1993 by Marek Prochazka as a Prague banking and finance boutique, PRK Partners has added offices in Bratislava and Ostrava and grown into one of the largest and most successful law firms in the Czech and Slovak Republics. That growth, the firm’s partners maintain, is a by-product of the firm’s traditions of flexibility, professionalism, and innovation, rather than the result of a predetermined plan.

No doubt we all agree that a good lawyer should not only have extensive legal knowledge and experience, but should also constantly monitor the market. In reviewing the state of the Czech legal market over the past six months, I would like to point out several issues I personally find interesting or important.