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"The Croatian government is a bit under fire right now for not implementing stricter measures to deal with the uptick in Covid cases,” reports Kallay & Partners Partner Mara Terihaj Macura. Still, she concedes it’s a difficult problem. “There are still businesses that are open and operating despite the numbers being higher now than they were in the spring – but according to the economic experts another lockdown would be disastrous for the economy, so it’s difficult to find the balance.” 

The political situation in Belarus at the moment is “quite challenging,” says Darya Zhuk, the Managing Partner of Cobalt’s Minsk office, referring to the fallout from the August 9 presidential election. “People have been protesting in the streets since the election,” she says, and discontent about the results of that election are being felt “deep inside every sphere of society.”

As it is in many other countries, the reemergence of Covid is the dominant issue in Slovenia. “With restrictive measures on movement and businesses back in place, everybody is trying to just make it through the whole thing,” says Kavcic, Bracun, & Partners Partner Aleksandra Mitic. “Everything else has taken a backseat – all the politicizing and bickering have faded into the background.” 

Ukraine local elections, held on October 25, 2020, resulted in a setback for the country’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, whose party did not secure a single mayoral position in any of the major cities. This did not surprise Dmytro Fedoruk, Partner at Redcliffe Partners in Kyiv, who notes that Zelensky “was not elected for his experience, but rather for his good intentions.” 

“As much as we don’t want to deal mess with politics – it seems to be messing with us,” says Milena Roncevic Pejovic, Partner and Head of the Montenegrin practice at Karanovic & Partners. “Montenegro is waiting for the new government to form, and until that happens, everything is on hold, more or less.”

“Covid has really sucked all of the air out of everything,” begins Vernon David Partner Charles Vernon. “From a legislative point of view things are a bit boring right now,given the imminent parliamentary elections that are due on December 6, everything has been pretty much at a standstill, except for Covid of course.” 

SBGK’s busiest practice over the last few months has been Data Protection, according to Partner Andras Gyorgy, driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and, more importantly, by fines for GDPR breaches raising awareness among companies.

An interview with Stephanie Beghe Sonmez of Paksoy, about her path from France to Turkey.

On June 3, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that White & Case and its associated Turkish firm, GKC Partners, had advised interactive entertainment company Zynga Inc. on its USD 1.8 billion acquisition of Istanbul-based mobile gaming company Peak Oyun Yazilim ve Pazarlama, A.S. Baker McKenzie, working with its Turkish affiliate, the Esin Attorney Partnership, advised Peak on the transaction, which represented the largest acquisition of a start-up in Turkey to date, and makes Peak the country’s first “unicorn.” Dentons, along with its affiliate Balcioglu Selcuk Ardiyok Keki Avukatlik Ortakligi, advised selling shareholder Hummingbird Ventures CVA, Abcoo advised Peak Founder and CEO Sidar Sahin, the Verdi Law Firm advised selling shareholders Earlybird Verwaltungs GmbH, Evren Ucok, and Demet Suzan Mutlu Ucok, and BTS & Partners advised selling shareholder Endeavour Catalyst.

On July 28, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Bulgaria’s Sabev & Partners law firm, working alongside DLA Piper, had advised the Government of Bulgaria on the tender procedure for the 35-year concession agreement for the Sofia Airport in Bulgaria, which was ultimately awarded to SOF Connect Consortium, led by Meridiam and including Munich Airport and Strabag, on its successful bid. We spoke to Sabev & Partners Iskra Neycheva and Boryana Boteva about the firm’s work on the project.

Although Bosnia & Herzegovina is relatively small, and despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Bojana Bosnjak-London, Partner in the Corporate/M&A practice of Maric & Co in Sarajevo, reports that her team has been busy, noting that they were “lucky to land quite a few good deals.”

Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen's Public Procurement team has been running at 115% this year, according to NNDKP Partner and Co-Head of Public Procurement and PPP, Adina Chilim-Dumitriu. And she has reasons to be optimistic that the practice will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

The Hungarian financial market finished 2019 in a strong position. Intrigued by what many have described as a “special” year, CEE Legal Matters sat down with several of the nation’s leading Banking/Finance lawyers at Lakatos, Koves & Partners’ offices in Budapest to learn more.

If one is an example, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend, the three major law firm mergers in Ukraine this past summer demand closer scrutiny.

On July 9, 2018, the CEE Legal Matters website reported the merger of the Avellum and A.G.A. Partners law firms in Ukraine. A month later, the website reported on a second merger, this time between Asters and EPAP, the Ukrainian office of Russia’s Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners. And in September the website reported on yet another merger, between Integrites and Pravochyn. To explore these significant changes in the market, on October 26, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down with a collection of prominent Ukrainian lawyers — including several from firms directly involved in the summer’s mergers — at the Kyiv office of DLA Piper.

Chinese investors and developers are expanding their footprints in Europe, focusing often on green technology and opportunities in the solar, hi-tech, and automation industries, as well as highly-publicized infrastructure development tenders. Over the years, the amount of Chinese investment has increased, as has the number of Chinese professionals settling in CEE to facilitate Europe-China relations and bridge differences in culture, expectations, and styles. In September, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down at the Dentons office in Budapest with three Chinese lawyers to learn about their experiences working on the ground in CEE.

Start-Ups represent a unique subset of clients for major law firms, as they are often unable to pay the fees those firms generally require, but – particularly in the tech sector – hold out the potential of significant profitability down the road. Intrigued by the unique challenges and opportunities for law firms offering their services to these cash-poor but potential-high clients, we invited partners from four prominent law firms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to share their strategies and experiences with Start-ups with us in the offices of Kocian Solc Balastik in Prague. KSB Partner Christian Blatchford moderated the conversation. 

The Hungarian real estate and housing market is experiencing golden days. Although the market took a serious hit during the financial crisis in 2008, today enormous sums are again being invested in office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, residential areas, and retail. In order to map the underlying reasons behind the market’s boom, and to better understand how the country is dealing with the high demand for development lands and properties, CEE Legal Matters sat down with six Hungarian lawyers specialized in Real Estate & Construction and a Legal Counsel from Prologis, a Real Estate & Supply Chain Logistics company. 

On January 30, 2018, a select group of prominent Serbian lawyers gathered at the Prica & Partners law firm in Belgrade for a CEE Legal Matters Round Table to discuss the current economic conditions in Serbia and the country’s legal services sector.

Over thirty years ago, journalists reported that a chemical had been released into the water pipes of Durand, Michigan. They warned citizens that the chemical DHMO could accelerate corrosion and in certain situations even cause suffocation. The city’s inhabitants were beside themselves in panic.

Once upon a time, you were a pretty good speaker, dominating the law conference circuit. Now, you find yourself holding webinars in your pajamas. Things got weird, fast.

Everyone knows that law firm pitches are terrible, and nobody is happy about it – not the lawyers, not the marketing/BD teams, and definitely not the clients.

The coronavirus has had a deep effect on legal services. Now we can start drawing conclusions on how deeply this sector has been affected during the last two months. 

If it seems that both – activity of online communities and the amount of legal content on social media has boomed lately, you are not wrong. LinkedIn reported that the number of articles from February untill March 23 grew by 2196% and 33% of these posts were related to coronavirus (Navigating Today’s Evolving World of Work, LinkedIn, 2020 March). Global research shows that the legal service industry was among TOP10 contributors to the topic and my research in Lithuania confirms that by indicating that the main cause for that was a significant increase in the production of content by law firms and lawyers. 

Crisis time is not a problem. It is an opportunity. Seemingly so solid structures start to shake, opening up new opportunities for those who want to see them. It can be particularly rewarding for those who are open to tune or revise their modus operandi, being opportunistic, attracting the best talent, acting more swiftly, and preparing for the future more efficiently than others.

"The Croatian government is a bit under fire right now for not implementing stricter measures to deal with the uptick in Covid cases,” reports Kallay & Partners Partner Mara Terihaj Macura. Still, she concedes it’s a difficult problem. “There are still businesses that are open and operating despite the numbers being higher now than they were in the spring – but according to the economic experts another lockdown would be disastrous for the economy, so it’s difficult to find the balance.” 

The political situation in Belarus at the moment is “quite challenging,” says Darya Zhuk, the Managing Partner of Cobalt’s Minsk office, referring to the fallout from the August 9 presidential election. “People have been protesting in the streets since the election,” she says, and discontent about the results of that election are being felt “deep inside every sphere of society.”

As it is in many other countries, the reemergence of Covid is the dominant issue in Slovenia. “With restrictive measures on movement and businesses back in place, everybody is trying to just make it through the whole thing,” says Kavcic, Bracun, & Partners Partner Aleksandra Mitic. “Everything else has taken a backseat – all the politicizing and bickering have faded into the background.” 

Ukraine local elections, held on October 25, 2020, resulted in a setback for the country’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, whose party did not secure a single mayoral position in any of the major cities. This did not surprise Dmytro Fedoruk, Partner at Redcliffe Partners in Kyiv, who notes that Zelensky “was not elected for his experience, but rather for his good intentions.” 

Despite the pandemic raging all over Europe, Ileana Glodeanu, Partner in the Corporate/M&A practice of Wolf Theiss in Bucharest, reports that her team has been “the busiest of our practices this year,” noting that “over half” of the office’s lawyers are currently involved in Corporate/M&A projects. 

“As much as we don’t want to deal mess with politics – it seems to be messing with us,” says Milena Roncevic Pejovic, Partner and Head of the Montenegrin practice at Karanovic & Partners. “Montenegro is waiting for the new government to form, and until that happens, everything is on hold, more or less.”