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  •  CEE Legal Matters: Issue 7.11

    CEE Legal Matters: Issue 7.11


    What is music and where does it come from? If hard-pressed enough, most people, myself included, would regress to a simple statement that it comes from the soul of the person composing it. It is a magnificent, human, way of expressing emotions. Indeed, when you listen to a piece as grand as a Chopin sonata, you are carried through the deepest feelings of the composer via his harmonies and even discords.

    David Cope shattered that understanding for all who were reckless enough to expose themselves to his work. Cope, born May 17, 1941, in San Francisco, is an American author, composer, scientist, and former professor of music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For me at least, as I am sure to many who listened to his work, he represents an existential question pertaining to much of what we do. The man – whose memoir is called “Tin Man” – has been accused of churning out music “without a soul” ...

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    2020-12-02
  •  CEE Legal Matters: Issue 7.10

    CEE Legal Matters: Issue 7.10


    England – particularly English law firms, English lawyers, and English law – plays an outsized role in CEE’s legal markets.

    English law firms were among the first international providers of legal services to establish footprints in CEE after the end of communism, and the level of quality they were able to offer clients in CEE (as well as those investing in the region from outside) quickly became the standard in the region. Domestic firms were required, in short order, to learn, improve, and adapt to those standards.

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    2020-11-03

  • These are a few of the real-life exchanges I have recently had the pleasure of being copied on:

    Thread 1, initiated by a CEELM representative: “Dear Partner X, I would like to talk to you about options to incorporate the firm in our upcoming issue dedicated to Y – both commercial and non-commercial options. When/how would it be convenient for you to connect?” The response, not from Partner X but the firm’s marketing team: “Thank you for your e-mail. Please send me your proposal and I will forward it to our partner.”

    Thread 2: Similar initial e-mail with, again, a marketing representative responding: “Please understand our Partners are busy. Communicate with me what options you have.” CEELM response: “Of course, sorry for the inconvenience, there was no marketing contact on the site, here are the options:…” The law firm ...

    2020-09-29


  • In one contentious press conference following a loss several years ago, Bill Belichick, the famous American football coach of the New England Patriots, launched a meme by stubbornly answering every single question he got with the exact same four-word phrase, reflecting his single-minded intention to keep the focus forward-looking and positive, and referring only to his team’s next opponent: “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

    Metaphorically, at least, so are we.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2020-09-02


  • No, the headline of my editorial is not intended to challenge our readers’ understandings of basic math. It’s also not intended to be a brain teaser like those you can find somehow proving that one equals zero using algebra. It’s simply designed to draw your attention to the fact that what you are holding in your hand is a hybrid issue. It is both issue 7.7 of CEE Legal Matters and the very first issue of CEE In-House Matters.

    What is CEE In-House Matters, you ask? Good question!

    CEELM has a long and proud tradition of creating platforms for General Counsel across CEE to exchange best practices, war stories, or simply interesting tidbits from their daily routines. In 2015 we published the first edition of our annual Corporate Counsel Handbook special report. That same year we kicked off our annual GC Summit, which brings hundreds of General Counsel together for professional ...

    2020-08-06


  • A few weeks ago we got what seemed to be a reliable message that a well-known firm with a presence across the region had closed one of its CEE offices. This came mid-afternoon on a Friday, but we sprung into action. We sent the firm several emails, and followed up with a phone call – we got no reply. We contacted that office, and the receptionist who answered told us only that there were no longer any lawyers working there.

    So, we thought, it appears there’s something to this.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2020-06-30


  • On May 18, 2020, bars in Budapest opened up for the first time in what feels like a lifetime. Sure, the perception of the lockdown’s duration is over-isolation-driven to a great extent, and I for one definitely do not miss the clamor of the all-too-common stag parties crawling in a drunken haze from one watering hole to the next that normally plagues downtown Budapest. While May 18 was still too early for the stags to be in town, the Jewish District – one of the city’s primary social neighborhoods – was brimming with people excited to finally have an opportunity to sit down in a bar and enjoy a cold one with friends, social distancing be dammed.

    Human nature – obviously illustrated in the feverous return to life of the streets of Budapest – aside, there are other reasons I believe that this burst of life will be reflected in the general economy once it opens up. From stimulus packages (some more inspired ...

    2020-06-03


  • A few random thoughts, in this unsettling time of social distancing and economic slowdown:

    First, an explanation. This issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine was originally going to feature content, including photos, interviews, and reporting, from the Dealer’s Choice International Law Firm Summit and 2020 CEE Deal of the Year Awards Banquet, originally scheduled for April 23, 2020. As those events were, for obvious reasons, postponed (to October 13), those plans had to be scrapped.

    In addition, we had been planning to run our annual Table of Deals in this issue. Unfortunately, as our coverage and/or the amount of work reported by law firms in the region has grown year-by-year, this year the Table simply became too big to fit in a single issue of the magazine.

    The pdf version ...

    2020-05-05


  • It’s sort of difficult to know where to start, isn’t it? My mind is scrambled these days anyway, shifting constantly from uncertainty, to work, then anxiety, optimism, dread, curiosity, hope, boredom, resignation, and anger. Probably a lot more. In this context, trying to write a simple, straight-forward message is a challenging assignment. In fact, over the past few days, several different potential over-arching themes have proposed themselves to me. The Danube, connecting our two Market Spotlight jurisdictions, Austria and Hungary. The need to emphasize that most of the content in this article was written before the coronavirus crisis hit. Updates about the Deal of the Year Awards. The return of spring. And so on.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version ...

    2020-04-02


  • Even against the backdrop of the general (and some specific) anxieties across the region these days, I have to admit that I’m in a good mood, and experiencing undeniable feelings of pride, excitement, and genuine pleasure. We’re working insanely hard, of course, but … things are going fairly well.

    First, we received the most submissions for the CEE Deal of the Year Awards in the awards’ three-year history, and the votes of the Final Selection Committee should start coming in soon, meaning within two weeks we – and, I’m afraid, only we – will know which firms have won which awards in which countries.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2020-03-06


  • Whew! Managing the CEE Deal(s) of the Year submission process isn’t easy – and it’s getting tougher every year. But the arduous first stage of the process – collecting and organizing the submissions, creating the ballots, and transmitting them to the various shortlist panels – is over, and I now have a total of two whole weeks to focus on other things before the completed ballots will be returned to me and I will need to calculate the results, create the shortlist ballots, and send them out to the Final Selection Committee.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2020-02-04


  • As has been this editor’s tradition in recent years, I managed to switch off my outlook over the last few days of the year and spend the winter holidays right: on a sunny, warm spot by the beach, getting my vitamin D fix. I paid my dues when I returned to cold Budapest, though, as the first signs of a flu appeared on my first evening back.

    The good news, as I woke up the next morning, back and ready to kick off 2020 in style, was that I didn’t have the flu anymore. The bad news was that it had evolved into the plague.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2020-01-09


  • 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.

    Not all of them, of course. Certainly not your firm, dear reader. Your firm, I’m sure, is recognizes value, is ready to spend money to make money, and is aware that, to really capitalize on the business that is potentially available to you, you need to make smart and informed decisions about marketing and brand development.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-12-03


  • 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.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-11-08


  • I recently bought a used car, and the friendly people at the dealership gave me a three-month warranty covering most of the car. The tire pressure warning light was on when I drove the car off the lot, but they reassured me that the sensor had recently been replaced and that the light on my dashboard would turn off soon.

    I was skeptical, but I got a fairly good price on the car, so I figured I could afford to have a new sensor installed on my own, if necessary, and still come out ahead. Sure enough, that light never turned off.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-10-04


  • I was found myself thinking, as we were putting this issue together, about the meta nature of what commercial law firms do – advising clients on mergers and employment and data protection issues while at the same time facing those same internal challenges themselves.

    Much of our content in this issue is related to that paradox. The Corner Office feature, for instance, is (as always) about the challenges involved in running a law firm business, and several contributors this time around draw specific attention to the irony of needing advice on how to handle their own internal employment issues.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-09-03


  • This is our third CEE By The Numbers report, allowing us to compare the gradual transformation of CEE's legal markets over time. Thus, the report, which our subscribers can read now, provides a fascinating snapshot of how the various legal markets are changing, revealing a larger-than-ever number of ranked law firms across the region and a growing numbers of lawyers working in those law firms. It also analyzes the number and percentage of female lawyers -- both associates and partners -- in CEE's leading law firms (the results may surprise you), and much, much more.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-08-13


  • Bit by bit, piece by piece, the parts come together. First, we decide to have next year’s Dealer’s Choice Law Firm Summit and Deal of the Year Awards Banquet in London. Then Slaughter and May agree to co-host Dealer’s Choice. Then we open up sponsorship opportunities – one per country – to the law firms of CEE. 

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-07-04


  • “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there."

    – Indira Gandhi

    "Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people." 

    – David Sarnoff

    We learned, just moments ago, of the launch of a new publication in one of the markets we cover, dedicated to that country’s lawyers and legal industry (and no, I’m not going to tell you which one – stop asking). This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a new legal-industry-focused publication appear in CEE, of course, and obviously a number of them preceded our arrival back in 2013. Still, each time we see a new one, we’re forced to pause and reflect on what this means for us. 

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link ...

    2019-05-31


  • About a week before the 2019 CEE Deal of the Year Awards Banquet in Budapest last month Radu and I took a break to go get a coffee, and I mentioned that, ideally, I would like to announce the location of next year’s Banquet at this conclusion of this year’s event – and I asked if he had any ideas about where we should have the event next year. He replied, flippantly, “of course, we could try London.”

    I was gob-smacked (I’m practicing my British English; I think they say that). The idea of hosting this CEE-centric event outside of CEE – and in one of the most expensive cities in the world to boot – had never occurred to me. Once suggested, however, the appeal of hosting the 2020 DOTYs in The Swinging City was hard to resist.

    You can access the electronic version of the magazine using the link below or you can find the pdf version here.

    2019-05-01