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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. 

Taylor Wessing Bratislava has advised GA Drilling on its recently-closed investment round that saw new significant investors enter the company, including a strong local private equity group (ARKON, a.s.), a venture capital fund (Slovak Venture Fund S.C.A.), and a global multi-asset class fund (InfraPartners Management). Majernik & Mihalikova advised ARKON, AKF Lawyers represented Slovak Venture Fund S.C.A., and Havel, Holasek & Partners represented existing GA Drilling shareholder Schoeller-Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG.

In The Corner Office, we invite Senior and 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 their least favorite part of their jobs. 

Currently, a heavily-discussed topic in Slovakia is the “overkilling” interpretation and application of the concept of illegal employment by state authorities. In Slovakia, illegal employment does not only cover the classical scenario of the factual employment of a worker without the proper establishment of a labor-law relationship, but also a situation where the employment contract was duly executed, but the employer did not register the employee in the country’s social insurance system until the employee actually commenced working. 

As part of the long-planned reform of intellectual property (IP) law in Slovakia, it was finally agreed that IP disputes should be handled by a court system able to truly understand the (often rather technical or technological) nature of IP. This decision stemmed from the frustration of many IP owners with the fact that court decisions sometimes lacked sufficient quality and that the proceedings (especially in some courts) took far too long. 

“There’s a lot going on at the moment in Slovakia,” according to Michaela Stessl, the Managing Partner of DLA Piper in Bratislava, who begins her summary by describing "a boom with regard to suppliers for the automotive sector who are coming with the Jaguar/Land Rover investors.” According to Stessl, "this has a huge impact on several levels and several fields of providing law,” not only to Jaguar/Land Rover itself, “but also to all the suppliers who are doing business with them.”

Hugh Owen, long-time Partner at Allen & Overy, has announced that he is retiring from the Magic Circle firm and will practice independently as Go2 Law going forward. Owen will continue to operate out of Slovakia, where he has lived since 2000 -- though since November 2013 he spent the majority of his time working in A&O's Budapest office.

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