Cakmak Avukatlik Ortakligi — the firm in Ankara formerly doing business as the Cakmak Avukatlik Burosu and, until last year, formally associated with White & Case — has announced a number of substantial changes, including its name change, the promotion of two lawyers to the firm's partnership, the return of a Partner after several years away, and the addition of a new US-qualified lawyer to the team.
In explaining the firm's new identity — leaving behind (in translation) the Cakmak Law Office for the Cakmak Attorney Partnership — Managing Partner Mesut Cakmak explained that "since May 2016 we have been in the process of structuring our firm into an incorporated law firm from a simple partnership with a view to position ourselves better in the market as a response to some recent and expected changes. The main idea is to make the firm more institutional growing up on its own corporate and practice culture."
The firm's new Partners are part of that process, Cakmak explained, noting that "one of the first things ... we decided was to increase number of partners from two to four by year end and we did it." Thus, the firm promoted Senior Associates Ozlem Kizil Voyvoda and Naz Bandik Hatipoglu to partner. According to a formal statement released by the firm, "they will continue to make valuable contributions to the success and growth of our firm in their new capacity as partners."
Voyvoda, who has been with Cakmak since 2007, specializes in energy and infrastructure projects, and focuses on aspects relating to financing, privatizations, corporate and commercial law, international arbitration, and public procurement. According to the firm, "Ozlem has represented both sponsors and lenders in the acquisition, development, and financing of a number of projects in the energy, mining, natural gas, defense, health, infrastructure and transportation sectors. She advises clients on corporate governance, employment, and regulatory matters. Ozlem is also involved in international transportation of goods, telecoms, media and competition matters. She holds an LL.M. from the University of Westminster in international commercial law."
Hatipoglu has been with the firm since 2006. She focuses on corporate and M&A transactions, particularly in cross-border transactions for multinational and Turkish clients and has significant experience in the energy, mining, oil and infrastructure sectors. According to Cakmak, "in addition, Naz has represented sponsors and lenders in the development and financing of a number of major projects in the energy and health sectors (PPP projects). She obtained her M.S. degree in International Financial Management from Queen Mary University of London."
A new partner, Cem Cagatay Orak, has re-joined the firm this month after spending the last year and a half away. According to the firm, "Cem previously worked with us from 2008-2015 as an Associate and then Partner, and we are excited to have him rejoin our team."
Orak specializes in energy, mining, construction, and arbitration matters. Cakmak describes him as having "extensive experience with public-private partnerships, multi-party civil and administrative law contracts, permitting, environmental law and M&A transactions in the energy, infrastructure, mining and defense sectors," and says that "he has represented sponsors and lenders in the financing of a number of major projects in highly-regulated sectors including energy, transportation, defense and health. Cem also focuses on dispute resolution and arbitration. He has represented Turkish and foreign clients in various complex disputes before courts and arbitral tribunals. He holds a Ph.D. on administrative law from Ankara University and an LL.M. from Columbia University School of Law. He also passed the July 2016 New York Bar exam."
Finally, the firm reports, Courtney Kirkman Gucuk — "a new foreign associate and U.S.-qualified lawyer" — has joined the team.
According to Cakmak, "the promotion of Ozlem and Naz to partnership, and the addition of Cem and Courtney, reflect our growth strategy and our intention to add services that will most benefit our clients."
Last year the Cakmak Avukatlik Burosu's formal relationship with White & Case ended (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 19, 2016), bringing W&C's 31-year presence in the Turkish capital to a close, though it retains its formal relationship with the Cakmak-Gokce Avukatlik Burosu in Istanbul. Nonetheless, Mesut Cakmak reports, "we maintain our working relationship with White & Case LLP and Cakmak-Gokce Avukatlik Burosu. While they benefit from our special position and expertise in certain areas we (and thus our clients) enjoy the benefit of having access to their resources in and outside Turkey."