Advertising is no easy task for law firms in the former Yugoslavia, and law firm marketing and business development specialists in those legal markets face unique challenges in their attempts to promote their firms and obtain new clients.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.
Doing business remotely continues to gain in popularity, both allowing work to continue (often from home) when pandemic conditions require it and actually increasing many individuals’ overall productivity in certain industries. Despite its advantages, however, the data implications of remote working have recently become more complex.
Rare is the opportunity to participate in a wave of enthusiastic transformation – a breaking-away from old ways and a journey to uncharted regions. Duncan Weston, Executive Partner at CMS, has played a fundamental role in several different law firm and legal industry transformations. And he’s not done yet.
I have always been a fan of marketing and felt that there was something special about it, even back before I had any real practical experience with it. My career started at an international law firm – Hogan Lovells – where marketing was handled both centrally and locally. I became a fan of the field and learned to consider the brand as something potentially very valuable and helpful both in attracting new clients and employees and in retaining existing ones. It also showed me that marketing activities must be conducted systematically.
Are you still reading? Despite the title this is not a COVID-19 piece. Quite frankly we have had enough of that. We want life to go back to how it was – but it won’t. Something new is happening. People have been humbled by the effects of the C-word on their very existence. Everyone is suddenly more aware of the need to change – in Turkey, for example, we always kiss and hug upon meeting, and we are not used to the concept of social distancing at all. Now we stand a meter apart and elbow or fist bump – which still feels odd to me. We are aware and we are asking ourselves – “what needs to change? Was this our fault? What is biodiversity? What can we do?”
Already struggling with the international coronavirus pandemic, Bulgaria has recently found itself dealing with a major internal political crisis as well – one which, ironically, despite the general incentive towards social distancing, has brought people outside of their homes and onto the streets of the nation’s major cities.
I began practicing law more than 30 years ago. It runs in my family and I guess this is how I acquired my affinity towards it. Even during the communist period in Bulgaria, being a lawyer was among the few relatively independent professions – unconstrained by political, financial, and other pressures. This is another major reason I became a lawyer. The rule of law is something I was born and raised with.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to nearly all businesses in the logistics and manufacturing sectors in Central and Eastern Europe, enough time has now lapsed that identifiable trends and opportunities are beginning to emerge. CMS Partners Ana-Marija Skoko, Ivan Gazdic, Iain Batty, and Lukas Hejduk agreed to share their thoughts about the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on logistics and manufacturing developments in their local markets and across CEE.
It was nineteen years ago, but I remember it vividly as if it were yesterday: fresh out of law faculty and green with excitement, I was sitting in my very first job interview when the question fell: “Do you know anything about mortgages?” I started reciting: “A mortgage is a real right of a third person …,” when my future mentor smiled and exclaimed: “Ah, never mind, you will learn!”
For our Checking In feature, we reach out to partners and heads of practice across CEE to learn how specific practice areas are faring in their jurisdictions. This time around we asked firm Energy experts: What, in your view, is the most effective scheme currently in place in your jurisdiction to attract investments in renewable energy? If you had to pick one, what additional step from the regulators do you believe would have the most positive impact?
As Europe begins a tentative re-opening following several difficult months of quarantining, social distancing, and working-from-home, we spoke to CMS’s Warsaw-based Employment Partner Katarzyna Dulewicz and Vienna-based Dispute Resolution Partner Daniela Karollus-Bruner for their perspective on the process.