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The year of 2016 was marked by relatively low M&A activity in Ukraine. Although transactions were carried out in almost every industry, their total number turned out to be quite moderate.

Looking at it honestly, 2016 has been another year of recession for Russia, with a GDP expected at negative 0.6%. That’s not a surprise, of course. The oil crisis, currency crisis, and a hostile international context materialized by EU and US sanctions have severely impacted the economy.

Few would contest that 2016 was, on balance, a disappointing year. Indeed, by now descriptions of the year just concluded as unfortunate, or terrible, or an annus horribilis are so common as to approach cliché. Still, the year is unlikely to be remembered fondly, in CEE or anywhere else.

As I write this editorial, we are celebrating three years since the CEE Legal Matters website (now already on its third version) first went online. To say that trying to think back and identify one major theme that shaped our last few years is difficult would be a real understatement, but because David has written up one too many of our recent editorials, that challenge falls on me.

After 27 years of a free market economy and parliamentary democracy, 17 years inside the NATO structure, and 12 years of membership in the European Union, it is easy to forget how much has changed in Poland since the fall of communism. Looking back (and having the perspective of over two decades of professional experience), it is safe to say that nothing would ever be the same after Poland’s transformation.

Attorneys tend to navigate their clients through stormy legal waters so that clients do not crash on the rocks of Scylla. But how good are we leaving the paternalistic client-care world and trying to navigate our own destiny in terms of our legal business facing the reality of severe competition, pricing pressure, and the legal profession becoming just a commodity?

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. For this issue, we asked them to describe the first major deal or client matter they generated themselves, and how they did it. 

It has always been considered to be the alpha and omega of the legal profession. The basic assumption that is so often repeated. The standing principle: “We (the lawyers) are just perfect – all we need is to find the clients.”

In a short summary, perhaps we can divide Turkey’s past decade into two halves: The first half a seemingly flourishing economy with impressive growth rates, and the second half a consistent headline in all main international newspapers of mass protests, terror bombings, and coup d’état attempts.

I was born in the USSR – a country that has not existed for almost 25 years. The legal system in Russia before the USSR had been in place since the 10th century. Russia after the USSR, it seems, began its path practically from scratch.

On September 24 the Belgrade Bar adopted a new bylaw, controversial both in its effect and in the manner by which it was adopted, limiting the voting and participation rights of lawyers at major commercial law firms in favor of criminal lawyers and solo practitioners. Leading commercial lawyers in Belgrade are, unsurprisingly, not happy.

In our new Marketing Marketing feature, introduced in this issue, we ask our law firm marketing and business development friends across CEE to share their experience and perspectives on their profession. The premier question is a simple one: If you had three more hours in the day at work, what one part of your job would you prioritize in that extra time?