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“We are experiencing quite high economic growth in Slovenia,” reports Matej Perpar, Partner at Kirm & Perpar in Slovenia, "which for the time being has boosted foreign investments and resulted in a couple of sizable transactions.”

On January 4, 2018 CEE Legal Matters reported that Schoenherr had advised BUWOG AG and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer had advised Vonovia SE on Vonovia’s voluntary public takeover bid of BUWOG. The takeover offer placed the enterprise value of BUWOG at around EUR 5.2 billion. We reached out to several of the individuals involved in the deal for information: Christian Herbst, Partner, Schoenherr and Thomas Zottl, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 

Tim Pfister, Managing Partner at Knoetzl in Vienna, is an American lawyer with over 35 years of experience. In addition to his management responsibilities at Knoetzl, Pfister acts as counsel, advising clients and colleagues on New York law matters and regarding conflicts in international transactions, cross-border financings, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, corporate crisis management, and corporate strategic planning. He moved to Austria in 2013 and was a founder of Knoetzl in 2016.  

There are only a few days left until the GDPR comes into force on May 25, 2018. Despite having had a two-year grace period before the new regime becomes effective, companies all over the European Community and their advisors are struggling to meet that deadline. We at Dorda are as well, despite having introduced a nine-person GDPR implementation project team – which is relatively huge for a country the size of Austria.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

Unlike those of its neighbours to the East, Austria’s economy was allowed to operate free of communist interference, allowing the country to hit well above its weight, comparatively-speaking. Thus, although Austria is the 11th biggest country in CEE in population, with 8.7 million people, it has the third largest economy, behind only Russia and Poland. And these days, with the global financial crisis now firmly in the rearview mirror, the country is once again able to capitalize on its happy geographical positioning and historical relationship with the former members of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

“We are experiencing quite high economic growth in Slovenia,” reports Matej Perpar, Partner at Kirm & Perpar in Slovenia, "which for the time being has boosted foreign investments and resulted in a couple of sizable transactions.”

Although Moldova is not part of the European Union, the country strives to stay in-line with EU regulations, Andrei Caciurenco, Partner at ACI Partners says, so the GDPR is as hot a topic there as it is elsewhere.

“In Albania we have a hospitable climate for foreign investors, not just from a legal perspective, but from a business perspective as well, and we are trying to do the best to implement the laws as they are written,” reports Jonida Skendaj, Partner at Boga and Associates.

"The biggest challenge for companies in Russia today is the serious administrative burden," says Andrei Gusev, Managing Partner at Borenius Russia. "There are a huge number of outdated conglomerate regulations in various sectors, applied since the Soviet times, that leads to contradictions among requirements and regulations."

“There are four main new legislative developments which have shaken the market in Latvia,” says Andra Rubene, Partner at TGS Baltic in Riga, who lists the GDPR, amendments to Latvia’s Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, and changes to the country’s corporate and personal income tax laws as of primary significance.

“Generally, the Bulgarian economy is on an upward path, so law firms are busy,” reports Kinstellar Bulgaria Managing Partner Diana Dimova, who describes increased M&A activity, a strong demand for regulatory advice, and significant public sector opportunities.

On January 4, 2018 CEE Legal Matters reported that Schoenherr had advised BUWOG AG and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer had advised Vonovia SE on Vonovia’s voluntary public takeover bid of BUWOG. The takeover offer placed the enterprise value of BUWOG at around EUR 5.2 billion. We reached out to several of the individuals involved in the deal for information: Christian Herbst, Partner, Schoenherr and Thomas Zottl, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 

Tim Pfister, Managing Partner at Knoetzl in Vienna, is an American lawyer with over 35 years of experience. In addition to his management responsibilities at Knoetzl, Pfister acts as counsel, advising clients and colleagues on New York law matters and regarding conflicts in international transactions, cross-border financings, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, corporate crisis management, and corporate strategic planning. He moved to Austria in 2013 and was a founder of Knoetzl in 2016.  

Patricia Gannon is a founder and Senior Partner at Karanovic & Nikolic, where she focuses primarily on the management, business development, strategy, and expansion of the firm. Gannon qualified as a Solicitor in Ireland and after a short period working at the European Commission in Brussels she moved to Serbia and founded the firm. She is a committed advocate of corporate philanthropy, and was amongst the founding members of the Serbian Charity Forum, an umbrella forum of leading foundations in the country.

Jovan Velkovski is the Head of Legal at JAT (Yugoslav Airlines) Tehnika, an Aircraft Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Center in Belgrade. Prior to joining the company, he worked as a Senior Legal Advisor at Privredna Banka Beograd, where he gained professional experience in bankruptcy cases.

Linda Szegvari is the Chief Legal Counsel of MET Hungary, an energy trading company that was established in 2007. The company is a subsidiary of the MET Group, which is present in 28 markets.

CMS Partner Ana Radnev has a unique profile. Born and educated in Romania, joined CMS in Bucharest, then moved first to the firm’s London office (during which time she became English law qualified), then to the firm’s office in Prague. Since 2013, when CMS opened its Istanbul office, Radnev has divided her time between the Czech Republic and Turkey.

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.

On Thursday, April 19, 2018, CEE Legal Matters hosted a round table discussion at the Dentons office in Budapest with leading real estate experts in the market.

On November 9, 2017, the editors of CEE Legal Matters sat down with a cross-section of experts from leading law firms and prominent in-house legal departments in Turkey to learn about the current state of affairs in that ever-changing market.

On the morning of October 2, 2017, representatives from many of the leading law firms in Bosnia – and two senior in-house counsel – gathered in the Sarajevo offices of Wolf Theiss Bosnia & Herzegovina to discuss the state of the legal market in their uniquely structured country.

On August 17, a gathering of Dispute Resolution experts from many of the leading domestic and international law firms in Ukraine gathered in Baker McKenzie’s Kyiv offices for a Round Table conversation. 

On July 18, 2017, an elite selection of Baltic legal experts from both the private practice and in-house worlds gathered at Cobalt’s Riga office for an in-depth discussion about the Baltic legal markets.

From GC Nightmares to Partner Nightmares

In our previous article, we addressed the frustration of general counsel regarding external lawyers pushing against their caps, and we provided some tips for how to defuse this tension. (See Evelaw. GC Nightmares: Assaults on the Cap).

Every year legal marketing professionals try to define the key trends and predictions for the upcoming year – so do we. Most tools and solutions have been around for some time, we just have to adjust them according to our experience and global trends. 

Why can’t you sleep?

When we ask general counsel the question “What keeps you up at night about law firms”, many gnash their teeth about a problem with fee caps. In particular, they express their frustration with law firms requesting cap waivers based on the belief that the matter’s scope has been exceeded.

Until 2009 legal marketing was overregulated in Hungary. Since then lawyer ads are basically allowed, but they have to comply with the Hungarian Bar Association’s guidelines. 

For the last couple of years the issue of attracting foreign investments into Ukraine has loomed large. However, attracting such investment is hardly possible without creating the proper investment climate and implementing necessary reforms. One necessary step is transforming Ukrainian corporate law.