As last year’s upheavals continue to influence finance markets in 2021, Erika Papp, CMS’s Head of Finance CEE/CIS, and CMS’s Regional Finance Partners Paul Stallebrass in Prague, Ana Radnev in Bucharest, and Elitsa Ivanova in Sofia offer their perspectives on what this year might hold for financing in CEE.
Romania lies on the historically and geographically significant crossroads between the East and the West and both its roads and its waterways provide important routes for commerce between continents. It is no wonder, then, that the transportation, logistics, and infrastructures sectors in Romania offer high potential for growth and profit. The prospect of harnessing this potential has attracted investors from around the world – and law firms positioned to help them succeed. Danilescu Hulub & Partners, founded by Partners Lucian Danilescu and Andreea Hulub in April, 2020, is one such firm.
On December 15, 2020 CEELM gathered legal experts from across the region for its annual Year-in-Review Round Table conversation. In a wide-ranging discussion, participants shared opinions and perspectives on their markets, on strong (and less-strong) practices across the region, and the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on both, as well as on how technology is changing the legal industry, and what the industry will look like in 2021.
New technologies are all the rage, as law firms adapt to the telecommuting and digitalization realities that accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic. Accordingly, we decided to ask our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a simple question: “What is the single most important/valuable piece of software you use?” As always, we asked respondents to focus on the question at hand, rather than – as we put it – using the question simply as an excuse to “tell us that their firms are awesome.” Not everyone was able to resist.
In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time: “What one ongoing pro bono initiative or project or charity/volunteering project that your firm is involved with has the most meaning for you personally, and why?”
Over the course of our seven years, CEE Legal Matters has interviewed most of the British lawyers working on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe as part of our recurring “Expat on the Market” feature. We reached out to them recently and asked them to bring us up to speed on what they’re doing and/or share their thoughts on the ramifications of Brexit or the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Employers do not always consider the fiscal impact of granting various types of benefits to employees, which subsequently gives rise to disputes with the tax inspection bodies. This is due to the specific legislation in Romania regarding taxation of employee benefits in the form of benefits in kind, which leaves room for interpretation, consequently raising operational enforcement issues.
According to the 2019 CEE By the Numbers issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine, almost two third of all lawyers and almost half of all partners at ranked Romanian law firms are women. As Romania’s population, economy, and (therefore) legal market are much larger than its chief competitors in both categories, its achievements in this area are particularly significant. Romania’s most prominent female managing partners insist that, indeed, sexism, in the Romanian legal industry, is essentially a non-factor.
The Romanian labor market before the COVID-19 pandemic was very competitive. On the one hand, foreign companies closely monitored the opportunities of a developing market and local labor force, while on the other hand, the tradition of people traveling abroad in pursuit of happiness and the flood of young and bright minds out of the country had spread enough to make recruitment a difficult process and to significantly affect the labor market in general.
The decade that just ended brought significant changes to the banking landscape in Romania. The banks were pushed to restructure their loan portfolios, consumer litigations increased exponentially, the cost of business increased, and Fintech companies started (although timidly) to take a slice of the pie. Populist legislation was enacted to protect consumers years after banking services were contracted. And a wave of acquisitions forced by the increased costs led to changing rankings at the top of the banking sector.
The pandemic caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has profoundly challenged all justice systems, including Romania’s. The country’s judicial bodies had to quickly assimilate and implement numerous special measures instituted as a result of the state of emergency, followed by the state of alert that was declared at a national level.