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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?

It may perhaps be symbolic that I pen this rather reflective article for CEE Legal Matters now, considering that August 2016 marks twenty years to the month since I first stepped off the plane at Otopeni Airport in Bucharest, Romania, to serve as a liaison for the American Bar Association’s Central and Eastern European Legal Initiative (CEELI), having taken a one-year leave of absence from my litigation practice in Los Angeles.

 
Poland Doing Better than Most

According to Ron Given, Partner at Wolf Theiss, “the Polish market is doing better than most of the world where M&A is down.”

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about the strategies they employ to keep their teams motivated, effective, and focused. For this issue, we asked them to reveal what sorts of firm retreats and activities they host and/or organize for their lawyers.

Over the last two decades the London-based legal press has grown into a sector which must have the combined revenue of a top 20 UK firm. It is a success that has proven difficult to replicate in continental Europe, particularly on a regional basis. 

Whereas the leading commercial law firms in Serbia report growth and opportunity, their counterparts in Croatia demonstrate an acceptance of the stop-and-start nature of that market. In an extended lunchtime conversation about with CEE Legal Matters, Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic Partner Damir Topic and Wolf Theiss Managing Partner Luka Tadic-Colic displayed a resigned sense of humor about the challenges they face in Croatia and a willingness to take things as they come.

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