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Expat on the Market: Interview with Bruno Leroy of Leroy si Asociatii

Expat on the Market: Interview with Bruno Leroy of Leroy si Asociatii

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French lawyer Bruno Leroy is the Founding Partner of the highly-regarded Leroy si Asociatii law firm in Bucharest. Leroy, who is a member of the Paris and Bucharest Bar Associations, has been working in Romania for almost twenty years, specializing in M&A and real estate transactions and on sensitive European law and competition matters.

CEELM: Run us through your background, and how you ended up in your current role.  

B.L.: I started my career in Paris, in 1994 after becoming a member of the Paris Bar Association, working for the renowned international law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel. After four years, I was asked if I would be interested in relocating to become Head of the Bucharest office of Gide Loyrette Nouel as the firm was expanding its presence in South East Europe.

At the time, I didn’t know much about Bucharest or Romania, but I must admit I was curious. The first step was to take a trip and see exactly what I was dealing with, and to my surprise I fell in love immediately with the people, the country, and the culture. Bucharest and Romania were going through major changes in 1998 and the business environment was thriving. It was the right place to be and the right time. 

Over the years, I have advised on the most significant projects in Romania, including headline M&A and real-estate transactions and sensitive European law and competition matters, and I have worked with large European Groups on the privatization of Romanian state-owned companies.

In 2004 I was named Partner and continued to lead the Romanian Gide team until 2014, when, together with my Partner Andreea Toma, I took over the office and created Leroy si Asociatii.  

CEELM: Was it always your goal to work abroad?   

B.L.: I can’t really say that my goal was to work abroad but when I received the offer to move to Bucharest, my wife and I immediately accepted it and saw it as an opportunity to discover a new culture and a new environment, which was very exciting. 

CEELM: Tell us briefly about your practice, and how you built it up over the years.     

B.L.: Over the years we have witnessed constant growth, both in our customer portfolio and in our level of fees.

The early 2000s were booming years for the Romanian market, a period of restructuring and constant development. Back then we were mostly advising French clients, as a result of our origins, but in recent years and since Leroy si Asociatii’s inception in February 2014 our practice has continued to grow at a fast pace, and we have strengthened our relationships with our clients while at the same time growing our new business. Now we are proud to say that we have clients from all over the world, including Germany, Italy, the UK, Turkey, and the USA.

M&A, Banking/Finance, Competition, Distribution and Consumer Law, and Energy are the top sectors in our business. We also advise on Real Estate, Intellectual Property & Data Protection, Employment, Dispute Resolution, Projects & Infrastructure, and Insurance & Aviation. Over the years, we have been involved in some of the largest national and multi-jurisdictional deals and projects and we are renowned for our unique understanding and knowledge of the Romanian legal marketplace.   

As a result of our constant growth we started 2017 with the announcement of two new partners, Cristina Togan and Eleonora Udroiu, who are highly recognized lawyers with extensive experience in business law. 

CEELM: What do your clients appreciate most about you?  

B.L.: My fees! More seriously, I believe they value the fact that I am available and receptive and that I thrive in my discipline without any sort of arrogance. They also appreciate my involvement in any issues I’m dealing with or with any case I’m working on. 

Plus, our dedication as a team to delivering excellent legal advice, our attention to each and every detail, our proactive ways, and of course our innovative thinking. Next to that we have always built relationships with our clients, focusing on a partnership and on an ongoing connection rather than on isolated projects.

I consider most of my clients my friends and I value them as both individuals and professionals.

CEELM: Why do you think your personality and skill set has fit in so well in Romania? How have you succeeded in Romania as a foreign lawyer, when so many others have not?  

B.L.: I consider myself as an open-minded person with strong communication skills and with the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances while at the same time dealing with people from different backgrounds. This has certainly helped me to settling in much easier in Romania. 

I was greeted with open arms from both a personal and a professional perspective.

CEELM: If your long-term clients were asked to describe your personality, how would they do so?

B.L.: I believe (and hope!) they would describe me as loyal, hardworking and humble. 

Also, I would like to think they would also describe me as a friend, as I have mentioned before, as I value greatly the relationships we have with our clients, thus my constant effort to deliver excellent legal advice. And of course every business relationship is based on a personal one as well.   

CEELM: There are obviously many differences between the Romanian and French judicial systems and legal markets. What differences stand out the most?    

B.L.: Both systems are actually quite similar, especially in regard of the civil code and EU law compliance. The real differences mainly lies behind the history of the country and the still weak jurisprudence level in Romania. 

CEELM: How about the cultures? What differences strike you as most resonant and significant?     

B.L.: It’s true that both cultures are different and both have their particularities – although both are Latin. I would say that Romanian people are extremely open-minded and welcoming whereas French people are slightly more difficult to approach and share with. 

A huge difference in my opinion is how both cultures deal with success and recognition. In Romania, people who succeed are highly recognized and appreciated for what they’ve done and can be proud of their achievements. In France, however, people are afraid to talk about their success and might even feel ashamed of it. This has nothing to do with the fact of remaining humble, which I think is very important. There is just a lot of judgment going on in France, and this is not a principle with which I identify.  

CEELM: Outside of Romania, which CEE country do you enjoy visiting the most, and why? 

B.L.: For business purposes, I would say Bulgaria. Otherwise, I would definitely visit Slovenia in order to spend some quality time in the mountains.

This Article was originally published in Issue 4.11 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.

Romanian Knowledge Partner

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații is a full-service independent law firm, employing cross-disciplinary teams of lawyers, insolvency practitioners, tax consultants, IP counsellors, economists and staff members. It also operates a secondary law office in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), and has a ‘best-friend’ agreement with a leading law firm in the Republic of Moldova. In addition, thanks to the firm’s dedicated Foreign Desks, the team provides the full range of services to international investors seeking to gain a foothold or expand their existing operations in Romania. Since 2019, the firm and its tax arm are collaborating with Andersen Global in Romania.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii is providing legal services in every aspect of business, covering all major areas of practice: corporate and M&A; litigation and international arbitration; corporate tax; public procurement; TMT; employment; insurance; banking and finance; capital markets; competition; healthcare and pharmaceutical; energy and natural resources; environmental; intellectual property; real estate; regulatory legal services.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii is a First-Tier law firm in all international legal directories and a multiple award-winning law firm both locally and internationally. It received the CEE Deal of the Year Award (DOTY Awards 2021) and the Law Firm of the Year Award: Romania (IFLR Europe Awards 2021). 

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