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The Viennese Waltz

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Attendees to the 2019 CEELM Winter Party were cornered, over the course of the evening, and asked, without warning or an opportunity to prepare, what achievement over the past 12 months they were proudest of.

"I'm proudest about having a think tank family at our law firm. Most of our partners and a lot of our lawyers were raised at our law firm. We have been together, with good thoughts and values, with the same goals, reaching the same achievements, pushing for the same innovative and creative things, for almost thirty years now."

Andrea Spisak, BD Manager, Lakatos, Koves & Partners

"Our greatest achievement is that we’ve successfully introduced a project management and client collaboration platform – a legal tech solution. With that, we’ve started to transform substantially how Wolf Theiss delivers legal services. We’re just at the beginning, but already 250 lawyers are on the way to automated services, to make our services more transparent and client-oriented." 

Andrea Miskolczi, Chief Innovation and Business Development Officer, Wolf Theiss

"My team is now, I can say for sure, making me proud. For probably the first time in a while now – I can say that they’re the best team in Ukraine. I can trust them, without controlling them all the time. I think that the greatest achievement is the team itself, this is the first time that I can say, with confidence, for all the 13 years I’ve been with Sayenko Kharenko, that we have the perfect team." 

Anton Korebeynikov, Partner, Sayenko Kharenko 

"Closing a complex project financing in Turkey (related to the Alpaslan 2 dam and hydro power plant) despite depreciation, war and sanctions. The finance documents were signed on November 8, and we closed on November 13."

Christian Blatchford, General Counsel, Energo-Pro

"I think that this year… I was thinking about deals, first of all, and I think the proudest that we can be is that we worked with Pannonia Bio on their first large financing two or three years ago, and that financing was refinanced this year and we were also able to support Pannonia Bio with first NKB loan insurance, which was the first Hungarian national bond issuance this year, and ever."

Csongor Tompa, Senior Counsel, CMS Budapest

"Surviving the departure of our Senior Partner Sasa Divjak. He was not just a partner but a friend. Surviving this, keeping people working and operating, being capable to work business, as usual, was a real challenge and real achievement. I can say now, after three or four months, that we managed."

Damir Topic, Senior Partner, Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic

"Well, the biggest issue for our firm so far is having been founded in 1966 and being one of the oldest and most established law firms in the country. This year we’ve taken real substantial steps in moving forward with a young generation of lawyers and young management and we are looking forward to many, many more successful years."

Eda Cerrahoglu Balssen, Partner, Cerrahoglu Law Firm

"The best achievement for the corporate team at our firm is that it’s been growing and that it’s added people in Warsaw, Prague, and Vienna as well as Romania. There’s a lot of work – and we need people to do the work – but we also want to expand because we want to get stronger in all the national markets."

Horst Ebhardt, Partner, Wolf Theiss

"My greatest achievement is having worked on a deal in pretty much every single country in CEE. From Poland, right down the way through Central Europe, through Southeastern Europe, all the way down to the bottom … every country, except for Hungary."

Hugh Owen, Owner, Go2Law

"I am proudest of our firm’s continued growth and the continued expansion of its name, globally, as what it is: a firm focused-exclusively-on-disputes;
the first and most significant such firm in Austria."

Tim Pfister, Managing Partner, Knoetzl

"We experienced this year a challenging case: a large real estate development of a 70-hectar industrial zone for Austrian investors. We were successful in obtaining unusual permitting approval from multiple utility providers. The development was stuck for ten years – and we pushed it through, it thanks to our experienced and unparalleled real estate and infrastructure team."

Jakub Lichnovsky, Partner, PRK Partners

"Our office ran a great challenge across all four offices (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus) by having the staff compete in four categories: running, walking, cycling, and swimming. We had huge numbers there. Just for the offices of Cobalt. There were thousands of kilometers walked, ran, cycled, and swam – a huge thing to be proud of because we’re not only working hard for our clients but also working in a healthy environment, a healthy lifestyl."

Juozas Rimas, Partner, Cobalt Lithuania

"Having the opportunity to see two great institutions at work, both of which have a real eye on the future."

Ron Given, CE Senior Legal Counsel, Deloitte Legal and former Co-Managing Partner, Wolf Theiss Warsaw

"We had a challenging transaction this year. We did the work for Mattoni to acquire the largest producer of mineral water – Knjaz Milos. Also, with the GDPR being perfected in Serbia as well, we had the first international conference on the GDPR and had some real experts and commissioners from Germany and Austria present in Belgrade."

Jelena Stankovic Lukic, Partner, JPM

"The greatest achievement for this year was that, despite the bad circumstances in Serbia, we succeeded in setting up a great management system for the future Adria region. We’re starting to cover all the region and we’ve set up a good management system, with six members in Croatia and eight in Belgrade, through CML – contract management and legal offices – allowing us to cover the entire region, and all six of the republics. Serbia will cover Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro, and Croatia will cover Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia."

Marko Momcilovic, Director/Regional Head of Legal, CML Construction Services

"What we’ve finally achieved this year is that we’ve moved much more strongly into transactional work. We’ve got two very high-profile clients and transactions. They’re unfortunately still confidential at the moment, but I think it’s a good sign of development and us moving up in the legal world in Belgrade."

Milan Samardzic, Partner, SOG / Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic

"We did more than 50% of the largest public deals in Ukraine. We did almost all of the Eurobonds and that makes us really proud, I guess."

Mykola Stetsenko, Co-Managing Partner, Avellum

"It’s been a great year for us. Looking at things from a capital markets perspective, quite a few excellent deals, one big deal in Slovenia, one big deal in Estonia, one privatization going on in Romania and one in the Baltics. These are the deals that keep me busy and I’m looking forward to next year."

Pawel Szaja, Partner, Shearman & Sterling

"The biggest achievement is the consolidation of our team and the affect it brings on the levels of quality of people and what we can do with our team."

Sergiu Gidei, Partner, CEE Attorneys Romania

"This created the foundation on which we were able to develop innovative projects – for example, an AI robot that helped us with the due diligence process on a large number of contracts."

Radu Boanta, Partner, CEE Attorneys Romania

"The biggest achievement this year was Pertunina Ptuj, where we represented the bidder, the buyer, I believe, from Ukraine. This was one of the biggest transactions in Slovenia this year."

Suzana Jamsek, Partner, ODI Law

"What I’m proudest of as I look back on this last year was expanding the priactice area in whci I work, so doing a lot more in the area of financing, renewable energy projects an area that I have not done before, and very very interesting being able to bring together finance, real estate, and new skills, learnign about new area in energy, and also working on transactions which are for a good cause as it were, so feel-good benefits as well."

Marcell Clark, Partner, Dentons

"The biggest achievement of this year is the refurbishment of our offices. It gives more energy and a better environment for our staff. It’s not about our clients, but about our staff, and this is the key element of our work."

Roman Pecenka, Partner, PRK Partners

This Article was originally published in Issue 7.1 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.

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