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In the last five years significant changes have occurred in the Serbian business and political environment. This has been a time of dramatic change – with the general goal of transforming the position and the image of Serbia both regionally and globally, strongly affirming a pro-EU stance and making Serbia much more attractive for foreign investment. Obviously, both of these goals are interconnected because improving the image of a country brings more investments, and foreign investors generating profits in Serbia improves Serbia’s global image.

In recent years, a principal aim of Hungary’s energy strategy has been to make the country self-sufficient in electric energy. In figures, this means reducing the import to 0% within ten years – as the country’s current dependency on import of approximately 30% is significantly above the EU average. The increasing price of gas and the decreasing price of electricity led to a decrease in the domestic production of natural gas, so the Hungarian energy policy had to turn to alternatives.

The significance of recent developments in Law Firm Tech in the past five years are widely documented. As the provider of one widely-used and highly-praised transaction tool, we thought we would take the opportunity to share the results of a survey we conducted about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in Real Estate transactions. We undertook research with real estate professionals across Europe to find out their views on the current use of AI, their predictions for its use in the future, and what may be preventing its adoption.

The Serbian legal market has changed rapidly over the past five years. After less than 30 years of existence in this form, our legal market is still relatively young and its pioneers emerged in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, it is also a dynamic market and brings change every year, especially due to the European Union accession negotiations and additional harmonization of the country’s legislation with EU legislation. On the other hand, frequent changes in law have become a general rule, providing more work for law firms, but also bringing a high level of uncertainty for their clients.

The brain drain of highly trained and otherwise qualified professionals is increasingly felt in all industry sectors of Romania. We have lost people from all professional backgrounds and levels, low- and high-skilled alike. Statistics are disconcerting: in 2017, nine Romanians left the country every hour and we were second in the world after war-stricken Syria in emigration rankings. In the space of only ten years, about 17% of Romania’s population left the country. How many of them will ever come back? Romania needs a strong country project, sustained, ongoing efforts meant to encourage return migration, and policies to dissuade those who consider leaving the country. In 2018, the centenary year of Romania’s Great Union, I wish for a stronger, more united Romania, looking for ways to entice the next generations away from emigrating and into returning to their home country.

A transformation of the legal profession is happening globally, and its effects are also felt, slowly but surely, in the law firms of Southeast Europe. Due to the changing expectations concerning the quality, speed, and commerciality of services, we are seeing a move towards even more client-oriented solutions. Traditional sectors are being replaced with emerging industries, and where we previously had slow processes, with low profit margins, we see value being generated at lightning speeds. Also, a new generation that entered the workforce recently is slowly imposing their own values and approaches, necessitating changes in structure and the values of traditional legal practices.

In November 2014, at the conclusion of their publication’s first year of existence, the editors of CEE Legal Matters decided to celebrate by inviting a select number of legal experts from across CEE to join them in Vienna for dinner, drinks, and a rare Round Table conversation on the state of CEE’s legal markets. The event, which took place the next year in Prague, then in Warsaw, and then again in Prague, grew over time, with an ever-growing core group supplemented each year by new friends.

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