Very little has changed in the Albanian legal market, according to Besnik Duraj, Partner at Drakopoulos, apart from the judicial reform introduced last year to incentivize foreign investors who have been discouraged by the judicial corruption and political instability in Albania (as described by Besnik in The Buzz he provided CEE Legal Matters on July 20, 2016).
“Still at a theoretical stage, the reform is not going forward as expected” says Duraj, who believes that the impending elections slated for mid-June 2017 will likely slow things further. In Duraj’s opinion there is little reason to believe the election results will change things for the better, but he suggested that the incumbent government’s re-election would at least mean building on what’s already in place rather than starting all over.
Although the legal market has been a bit slow, “the law firm has had a lot of quality work this past month” says Duraj, mostly in the form of foreign clients needing assistance in niche legal matters, such as data protection, regulatory, TMT, IP, and so on. Duraj suggested that foreign companies are more likely to recognize the need for formal law firm assistance than many of their domestic counterparts in Albania.
When asked about the controversial restrictions on law firms imposed by Bar association in some neighboring countries, Duraj laughed, reporting that, “we don’t have such issues in Albania,” and explained that the Albanian Bar is quite liberal about law firm advertising and related issues. “At least Albania can boast of that much,” he said.
In general, the legal market is relatively stable in Albania, Duraj reported, with little movement or change of significance.
As for his own firm, Duraj said that Drakopoulos had hired no lawyers recently, but had expanded its tax and accounting practice.