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  • CEE Legal Matters: Issue 8.9

    CEE Legal Matters: Issue 8.9


    The period between mid-September and mid-to-late-October is usually my favorite time of the year. The summer heat is slowly fading into memory and people are gradually waking up from the haze of their holiday seasons, rolling up their sleeves, and kicking things into high gear. There’s always a sense of a buzz with everyone hitting the ground with refreshed energies. This is the sweet spot in my book – this particular vibe of “let’s get things done,” not yet contaminated by the end of the year craze when everything goes into overdrive with all scrambling to set budgets, hit KPIs, close deals last-minute, and generally wrap up the year before all offices become a ghost town again.

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    2021-10-05
  • CEE Legal Matters: Issue 8.8

    CEE Legal Matters: Issue 8.8


    I joined CEE Legal Matters back in May and found the experience not too dissimilar to moving into a new house – although fewer moving vans were involved.

    I first had to pick the one (job or house) that was right for me, and that would still be right for me maybe ten years down the line. So there was a lot of sorting and unpacking of priorities involved. A significant number of pros/cons lists were drafted. A (much smaller) number of close advisors were consulted during the decision-making process. 

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    2021-09-07

  • Who has time for summer? Not the CEELM team, to some of the team members' disgruntlement! Not allowing ourselves to be swayed by the summer's lazy pace, we've been busy and are excited to share with you a double launch!

    The special August issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine is out today. Subscribers will be receiving their hard copies soon and, because it is a special edition of the magazine, the electronic version of the issue is also publicly available online. Why is it special? Well, it's an issue celebrating the deals that won the 2020 Deals of the Year awards.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2021-08-03


  • As early subscribers of this magazine will know, CEE Legal Matters was founded by “two guys in a coffee shop”, as we fondly like to recall our early days: David and yours truly. Over time, we grew into playing off each of our strengths – David was always a writer at heart, while I started running out of excuses for not writing up the editorial each month. On the flip side, his eyes would glaze over any excel sheet or financial statement, while I thrived on the rare days when I could lock myself away and make projections as to how we can make CEELM bigger and better. 

    The pdf version is available here.

    2021-07-06


  • With this issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine I conclude my day-to-day connection to the company I co-founded seven and a half years, some 80 issues of the CEE Legal Matters magazine, untold thousands of articles on the CEELM website, four GC Summits, and so much more ago.

    Oh, it’s not a complete severance – I’ll still be around. I will continue to spearhead the CEE Deals of the Year Awards voting, and I will continue to manage the annual Dealer’s Choice International Law Firm Summit held in conjunction with the annual DOTY awards banquet (this year on September 16, 2021, in London!). In addition, I will continue as co-owner of the unique and exciting (and long-in-development) CEE Lawyers online directory, the launch of which is now excruciatingly close.

    The pdf version is available ...

    2021-06-03


  • This past month, for the first time in over a year, I traveled across a border. I was both excited and nervous about it. I had to navigate a whirlwind of mixed messages. I was unsure of the conditions under which I could travel, what I needed to do to avoid a quarantine both when leaving and returning, and how likely it was that the rules might change over the three weeks I was planning to be away.

    Since working on this CEEIHM issue was at the top of my to-do list, I couldn’t help but reflect: All of these challenges are keeping me in limbo while I am simply trying to plan a quick trip to visit my parents. I can’t even begin to imagine what dealing with this level of ambiguity and fluidity can mean for a GC trying to steer a company through these times.

    2021-05-25


  • The eagerly-awaited Deals of the Year awards announcement is just around the corner, set to go live on June 3.

    In the meantime, as we’re holding our breath and allowing a drum roll to build up the suspense, this special CEELM Index issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine is a perfect opportunity to look back at 2020 as a whole.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2021-05-14


  • Many of you know I play a lot of tennis. I had always played occasionally, but it was when I moved to Prague the second time, in 2014, that what had been an occasional diversion turned into something close to a passion. In Prague, I found myself playing, for much of the year, four or five or sometimes even six days a week, and even though that calmed down to twice a week when I moved back to Budapest in 2017, it has, in recent years, picked back up.

    You would think that so much playing would lead to a fairly steady improvement in my game, and of course to some extent it has. But it’s also made me aware of a strange and surprising phenomenon: when you do something every day, improvement can start to level off. 

    The pdf version is available here.

    2021-03-30


  • We’ve avoided focusing too much on the COVID-19 crisis over the year since the novel coronavirus first appeared in Europe, both because it’s unlikely we’d be able to say anything particularly new or revelatory about it, but also because it’s been difficult to get a real grasp on its meaning, even for the legal industry. Will the results be transformative? Are its effects significant, or lasting? Who knows? Almost all the evidence, at this point, is anecdotal, at best.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2021-03-03


  • In the summer of 2000 I was a summer associate in the litigation practice of an international law firm in Seattle, enjoying the largesse that BigLaw bequeathed on future worker bees in the form of trips to wineries, lunches at fancy restaurants, tickets to baseball games, and all the other treats they would make available in the hope that we would decide to join them full time after our final year of law school.

    Of course, between the wine tastings and cooking classes, we were also expected to make (probably not-particularly-helpful) contributions to the real work the firm was doing – and the partners and administrators of the summer program made a point of exposing us to a variety of client matters in a cross-section of practices. 

    The pdf version is available here.

    2021-02-04


  • The second issue of our CEE Legal Matters' sister publication dedicated to in-house counsel is packed full, with over 100 pages of insights from GCs working at leading companies across Central and Eastern Europe.

    You can find the full edition in electronic format here and in pdf format here or click on the link below to read it in e-reader format. 

    2021-01-22


  • Well, 2020 was an unusual year, to say the least.

    Though … I find myself struck by the extent of the frustration people express with the events of this past year – as if they are almost offended by the year, as if the burdens put on them, the sacrifices required of them, are unfair, somehow.

    This is not only nonsensical; it is, it seems to me, almost disrespectful of the incredible challenges places on previous generations – all previous generations – going back to time immemorial. Even in the past 100 years or so, the world has seen major impositions such as smallpox, polio, the Spanish Flu of 1918, pogroms, genocides, and two World Wars. Take that back several hundred years before that, and we have slave trades, bubonic plagues, inquisitions, Crusades, Viking raids, and so on, and so on.

    The 

    2021-01-05


  • What is music and where does it come from? If hard-pressed enough, most people, myself included, would regress to a simple statement that it comes from the soul of the person composing it. It is a magnificent, human, way of expressing emotions. Indeed, when you listen to a piece as grand as a Chopin sonata, you are carried through the deepest feelings of the composer via his harmonies and even discords.

    David Cope shattered that understanding for all who were reckless enough to expose themselves to his work. Cope, born May 17, 1941, in San Francisco, is an American author, composer, scientist, and former professor of music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For me at least, as I am sure to many who listened to his work, he represents an existential question pertaining to much of what we do. The man – whose memoir is called “Tin Man” – has been accused of churning out music “without a soul” ...

    2020-12-02


  • England – particularly English law firms, English lawyers, and English law – plays an outsized role in CEE’s legal markets.

    English law firms were among the first international providers of legal services to establish footprints in CEE after the end of communism, and the level of quality they were able to offer clients in CEE (as well as those investing in the region from outside) quickly became the standard in the region. Domestic firms were required, in short order, to learn, improve, and adapt to those standards.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2020-11-03


  • These are a few of the real-life exchanges I have recently had the pleasure of being copied on:

    Thread 1, initiated by a CEELM representative: “Dear Partner X, I would like to talk to you about options to incorporate the firm in our upcoming issue dedicated to Y – both commercial and non-commercial options. When/how would it be convenient for you to connect?” The response, not from Partner X but the firm’s marketing team: “Thank you for your e-mail. Please send me your proposal and I will forward it to our partner.”

    Thread 2: Similar initial e-mail with, again, a marketing representative responding: “Please understand our Partners are busy. Communicate with me what options you have.” CEELM response: “Of course, sorry for the inconvenience, there was no marketing contact on the site, here are the options:…” The law firm ...

    2020-09-29


  • In one contentious press conference following a loss several years ago, Bill Belichick, the famous American football coach of the New England Patriots, launched a meme by stubbornly answering every single question he got with the exact same four-word phrase, reflecting his single-minded intention to keep the focus forward-looking and positive, and referring only to his team’s next opponent: “We’re on to Cincinnati.”

    Metaphorically, at least, so are we.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2020-09-02


  • No, the headline of my editorial is not intended to challenge our readers’ understandings of basic math. It’s also not intended to be a brain teaser like those you can find somehow proving that one equals zero using algebra. It’s simply designed to draw your attention to the fact that what you are holding in your hand is a hybrid issue. It is both issue 7.7 of CEE Legal Matters and the very first issue of CEE In-House Matters.

    What is CEE In-House Matters, you ask? Good question!

    CEELM has a long and proud tradition of creating platforms for General Counsel across CEE to exchange best practices, war stories, or simply interesting tidbits from their daily routines. In 2015 we published the first edition of our annual Corporate Counsel Handbook special report. That same year we kicked off our annual GC Summit, which brings hundreds of General Counsel together for professional ...

    2020-08-06


  • A few weeks ago we got what seemed to be a reliable message that a well-known firm with a presence across the region had closed one of its CEE offices. This came mid-afternoon on a Friday, but we sprung into action. We sent the firm several emails, and followed up with a phone call – we got no reply. We contacted that office, and the receptionist who answered told us only that there were no longer any lawyers working there.

    So, we thought, it appears there’s something to this.

    The pdf version is available here.

    2020-06-30


  • On May 18, 2020, bars in Budapest opened up for the first time in what feels like a lifetime. Sure, the perception of the lockdown’s duration is over-isolation-driven to a great extent, and I for one definitely do not miss the clamor of the all-too-common stag parties crawling in a drunken haze from one watering hole to the next that normally plagues downtown Budapest. While May 18 was still too early for the stags to be in town, the Jewish District – one of the city’s primary social neighborhoods – was brimming with people excited to finally have an opportunity to sit down in a bar and enjoy a cold one with friends, social distancing be dammed.

    Human nature – obviously illustrated in the feverous return to life of the streets of Budapest – aside, there are other reasons I believe that this burst of life will be reflected in the general economy once it opens up. From stimulus packages (some more inspired ...

    2020-06-03


  • A few random thoughts, in this unsettling time of social distancing and economic slowdown:

    First, an explanation. This issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine was originally going to feature content, including photos, interviews, and reporting, from the Dealer’s Choice International Law Firm Summit and 2020 CEE Deal of the Year Awards Banquet, originally scheduled for April 23, 2020. As those events were, for obvious reasons, postponed (to October 13), those plans had to be scrapped.

    In addition, we had been planning to run our annual Table of Deals in this issue. Unfortunately, as our coverage and/or the amount of work reported by law firms in the region has grown year-by-year, this year the Table simply became too big to fit in a single issue of the magazine.

    The pdf version ...

    2020-05-05