In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What major initiative or new plan does your office (or firm) plan – if any – for 2020?
"CMS has decided to launch a major new training program and registered CMS Hungary as an official training center for the Bar Association. In January 1st, 2020 the Hungarian Bar Association introduced compulsory training for all lawyers. Lawyers have to collect a minimum number of credits from taking part in trainings organized by the Hungarian Bar Association. We have applied for and received a training license from the Bar Association and will provide trainings available for all lawyers in Hungary. We are very excited about this new program because it will enable us to make a meaningful contribution to the Hungarian and Budapest Bar Association’s work, but also provide comfort to our own lawyers, as they can complete the compulsory bar training on our own premises. Our trainings will be subject to registration, given that we have an upper limit of 60 persons per training occasion. Compulsory training is part of lawyers’ life in England and elsewhere in Europe but it is new in Hungary, so we are looking forward to working with the Hungarian and Budapest Bar Association on ironing out the details of the cooperation."
Erika Papp, Managing Partner, CMS Budapest
"Being in a new role at a new firm in 2020 – Senior CE Legal Counsel with Deloitte Legal – my “to do” list is essentially endless and a bit overwhelming. However, I already have one clear objective in mind involving the entire CEE legal community and beyond (as we say in Chicago, “have no small plans”!) with respect to which I will be personally disappointed if I don’t move the needle a bit by the time this particular project on my path ends. Although Deloitte Legal is a relative newcomer on the scene, it has made remarkable progress in being recognized as a respected member of the community and achieving a position of eminence alongside the many fine traditional law firms inhabiting the same geographic and professional space. For real success, though, we need to further work on how our fellow law firms perceive us. For sure, there will always be occasions when we are simply in a relationship with the others as direct competitors, just like everyone else. Sometimes we will get the work, sometimes it will go to others, all on a fair basis and on the merits. But because Deloitte Legal is not really trying to be just another “traditional” law firm (certainly the last thing this world needs), the more sophisticated and confident of those we deal with in the legal community will understand that we should more often be in a collaborative, complementary role with them. Those that “get it” will smartly turn to us as an essential joint client tool for the bundled, technology-enhanced services that only we can provide. Because it will surely lead to a better client delivery and experience, welcoming Deloitte Legal fully into the fold has to be good for everyone."
Ronald Given, CE Senior Legal Counsel, Deloitte Legal
“In 2020 the Zivkovic Samardzic law office shall continue to operate as smoothly as possible, putting the emphasis on the following four areas: (1) Optimizing networking capacity & our ability to enter new markets, since we are currently members of five different international law/accounting associations and forming a regional one, so we need to take full advantage of all this power; we also just hired a new person dedicated to business development; (2) Our idea is to remain a full service law firm but each department should further develop the skills and approach of highly-specialized boutique establishments in order to add value on both ends; (3) Technology – the continuous improvements of internal software solutions that we invested in in 2019; (4) Compliance and standardization (final introduction of ISO 9001 and ISO 27000)
En général, People Satisfaction (both clients and employees) – was and will remain no. 1 on our list as the ultimate goal, the human aspect of our existence, and the reason we are still here (at least until AI replaces us all.”)
Branislav Zivkovic, Partner, Zivkovic | Samardzic
“In 2020, we are striving to implement a new cohesive marketing strategy intertwined with our corporate social responsibility, along with a serious of other administrative and technical enhancements. More specifically, this year we will be moving to a smart and ecofriendly office, one of the few such in Bulgaria, while also launching our new website accompanied by a new company presentation, which will both be displaying this new marketing & CSR strategy. For us, it is important that we are not simply a leader in the legal market, but also a leading example of ethical and responsible business as a whole. “
Victor Gugushev, Partner, Gugushev & Partners
“Since the firm’s establishment as a local Slovenian boutique fifteen years ago, ODI has gone through both dynamic organic growth as well as mergers regionally, turning into a unique Slovenia-headquartered top-tier regional player. With the firm’s headcount steadily yet firmly increasing accordingly, we have reached a point where the capacities of the present working environment of the firm’s headquarters preclude further organic growth.
That said, and in line with the firm’s strong commitment to further organic growth, we have decided to upgrade the current headquarters’ capacities by adding offices at our current location, in order to allow more room for colleagues climbing up the corporate ladder, as well as providing sufficient capacities for new additions to the team. Once the current upgrade no longer suffices for the these purposes, and with the aforesaid commitment in mind, a potential relocation has already been addressed, which would allow the firm to cement its place among the regional powerhouses. ”
Uros Ilic, Managing Partner, ODI Law
"2020 marks the 15th anniversary of CMS Sofia and is the first year in which the office is fully integrated, as previously it was split between CMS UK and CMS Austria. This year we plan to celebrate our success on the Bulgarian market with colleagues and clients and to continue with the integration of our local offering.
This plan includes: operating through a new joint entity called “CMS Sofia,” using the unified email address “cmslegal.bg,” starting a new LinkedIn campaign for CMS Sofia, shooting a special film for the purpose of celebrating our achievements throughout the first 15 years since the start of the office, refurbishing the entrance of the office in line with the international standards of CMS, and adopting various new software products.
We continue to celebrate the success of our lawyers and support staff and therefore introduced a special program for extended holiday periods based on the years of service and introduced a system of additional bonuses for over-performers. In line with the expected expansion of CMS to Africa and beyond, we are providing continuous support as many of the Sofia-based lawyers and support staff are indeed part of the international teams undertaking these global initiatives.
In 2020 CMS Sofia placed some of its our most talented lawyers on secondment with clients, who needed hands-on support for the implementation of some extremely important and challenging projects.”
Kostadin Sirleshtov, Managing Partner, CMS Sofia
"After revamping our internal information system in 2019, we are currently working on its new debt collection module, which could also help us with data box messages management.
In the Czech Republic it is mandatory for lawyers to communicate with public authorities via special data box system and the sorting of these messages could be very time-consuming. In the second half of this year we are also planning to launch a new webpage, ideally together with our Slovakian colleagues."
Josef Aujezdsky, Partner, Masek, Koci, Aujezdsky