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Mia Kalas, Partner at Selih & Partnerji, says that recent conversations with her peers in Slovenia have generally focused on one pleasant topic. “When we meet we mostly discuss how the work load is really increasing, which is good.” Kalas says, “this is the busiest time we’ve had in the past few years. The economy is really growing, and what we’re seeing is quite a lot of M&A transactions in the private sector.” 

The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures. 

“A lost year” is how Gjorgji Georgievski, Partner at ODI in Macedonia, describes the current state of deal-making in his country. “From April onwards things got really slow because of the culmination of the ongoing political crisis,” he explains, adding: “Since the formation of the new Government in June it was normal for things to calm down but soon after we got into a state of waiting for the local elections which eventually took place on October 15, 2017. 

Martin Simovart, Partner and Head of Global Relations at Cobalt in Estonia, is fairly confident about the state of affairs in his country at the moment. “For the first half of the year we saw what we actually predicted — about a five percent rise in GDP — and I hope it’s going to continue. The momentum is there, and I don’t see any indicators that it’s going to slow down. And the overall feeling is fairly positive.”

We are now only two days away from the Hungary General Counsel Summit. CEE Legal Matters spoke with Erika Papp, Partner and Head of Banking and International Finance, Hungary with CMS, one of the sponsors of the conference to hear her thoughts on the upcoming event. 

As the CEE Legal Matters team prepares for the upcoming Hungary General Counsel Summit, we sat down with Daniel Gera of Schoenherr to learn about the panel discussion he will be leading titled "Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation - Challenge or Opportunity." 

Mia Kalas, Partner at Selih & Partnerji, says that recent conversations with her peers in Slovenia have generally focused on one pleasant topic. “When we meet we mostly discuss how the work load is really increasing, which is good.” Kalas says, “this is the busiest time we’ve had in the past few years. The economy is really growing, and what we’re seeing is quite a lot of M&A transactions in the private sector.” 

“A lost year” is how Gjorgji Georgievski, Partner at ODI in Macedonia, describes the current state of deal-making in his country. “From April onwards things got really slow because of the culmination of the ongoing political crisis,” he explains, adding: “Since the formation of the new Government in June it was normal for things to calm down but soon after we got into a state of waiting for the local elections which eventually took place on October 15, 2017. 

Martin Simovart, Partner and Head of Global Relations at Cobalt in Estonia, is fairly confident about the state of affairs in his country at the moment. “For the first half of the year we saw what we actually predicted — about a five percent rise in GDP — and I hope it’s going to continue. The momentum is there, and I don’t see any indicators that it’s going to slow down. And the overall feeling is fairly positive.”

The primary Buzz in Kosovo at the moment, according to Kujtim Kervishi, Managing Partner at the Judex Law Firm in Pristina, relates to the increasing prospect of a new “vetting” of judges and prosecutors in the country.

"Romania is in a good shape right now,” says Gabriel Zbarcea, Managing Partner at Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii. "It’s one of the fastest growing countries in the region. Estimated real GDP growth in 2016 was five percent, according to the IMF, which is huge, and it's 4.2% in 2017. The unemployment rate was 5.9% last year, well below the EU average. And we’re a very good market for investors, because of relatively inexpensive labor and a relatively diversified industry.”

Things seem to be picking up a bit in Greece, according to Drakopoulos Managing Partner Panagiotis Drakopoulos — but he knows better than to relax. "I’m much more hopeful than I was last year,” he says, “but you have to adapt to the environment. You can only hear so many times that 'now things are changing.’ We’ve heard this for three or four years, but things don’t, in fact, change. The same thing happened in 2014 — things picked up a lot, and then the crisis hit again.” He sighs. “We definitely have more work than last year, but I don’t see a clear path to the light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s hard to be too confident about how things will develop.” 

Martin Simovart, Partner and Head of Global Relations at Cobalt in Estonia, is fairly confident about the state of affairs in his country at the moment. “For the first half of the year we saw what we actually predicted — about a five percent rise in GDP — and I hope it’s going to continue. The momentum is there, and I don’t see any indicators that it’s going to slow down. And the overall feeling is fairly positive.”

We are now only two days away from the Hungary General Counsel Summit. CEE Legal Matters spoke with Erika Papp, Partner and Head of Banking and International Finance, Hungary with CMS, one of the sponsors of the conference to hear her thoughts on the upcoming event. 

As the CEE Legal Matters team prepares for the upcoming Hungary General Counsel Summit, we sat down with Daniel Gera of Schoenherr to learn about the panel discussion he will be leading titled "Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation - Challenge or Opportunity." 

Slaughter and May and Wolf Theiss were the two Chairman Sponsors of the 2017 General Counsel Summit in Warsaw, and the individuals from both firms who actually chaired the proceedings – Jonathan Marks, Partner at Slaughter and May on Day 1 and Ron Given, Partner at Wolf Theiss on Day 2 – were kind enough to speak with us about their involvement at the event.

Building upon the successes of the three past regional GC Summits in Budapest, Istanbul, and Warsaw, CEE Legal Matters is excited to be hosting the Hungary GC Summit – our first ever country-specific GC event. We sat down with the Chairman of the conference, Miklos Orban, Partner at Orban & Perlaki, to get his thoughts about the upcoming event. More information about the event itself can be found on the event website, here

English lawyer Daniel Cousens has been based in Linklaters’ Warsaw office since 2006. He advises international corporates, private equity sponsors, and strategic investors on M&A deals and inbound and outbound investments in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Turkey, Ukraine, and Poland. Cousens co-heads Linklaters’ Turkey desk and is a member of the firm’s CEE and CIS teams. Before moving to Warsaw, he spent five years in Linklaters’ Moscow office. He studied English and French law at University College, London and Universite Aix-Marseille, and he speaks English, French, Russian, and Polish.

The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures. 

On January 30, 2017, eight members of the In-House Advisory Panel for the 2017 GC Summit gathered at the offices of Squire Patton Boggs in Budapest for a Round Table conversation on the challenges they face and strategies they employ in dealing with external counsel. The event was moderated by Akos Mester, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs.

On the evening of December 8, 2016, at the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, CEE Legal Matters hosted the 2016 Expert Summit – our annual gathering of experts from across the region to discuss the state of affairs in CEE Legal Markets. 

On Thursday, November 4, a select cross-section of Managing and other Senior Partners at a number of leading law firms in the Czech Republic together with one General Counsel gathered at PRK Partners’ offices in Prague for a Round Table conversation on the state of the Czech market. 

On October 5, 2016, representatives from the Ukrainian and Turkish business communities, from the Ukrainian Consulate-General in Istanbul, and from the co-hosting Gun + Partners and Vasil Kisil & Partners law firms met at the Gun + Partners office in Istanbul for a round table discussion, moderated by CEE Legal Matters, on the opportunities in Ukraine for Turkish investors.

On July 26, 2016, a cross-section of eminent lawyers from leading law firms in Ukraine gathered at DLA Piper’s Kyiv office for a wide ranging Round Table conversation about the state of the Ukrainian economy and legal market and their expectations for both going forward.  

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.