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According to Oleg Efrim, the Managing Partner at Moldova’s Efrim Rosca Asociatii law firm, the primary topic of interest at the moment in the Moldovan legal community is the country’s newly modernized Civil Code which will become effective on March 1, 2018. According to Efrim, the new Code will be a significant upgrade to the existing law, which entered into force in 2003 as the country’s first following the fall of the Soviet Union. “It’s a substantial amendment,” Efrim reports, pointing out that the number of articles is increasing from the existing 1624 to 2671, and he says that "it is, indeed, a modernization of the Code.”

The recent buzz in Slovenia was all about the eagerly-awaited decision of the country’s Supreme Court regarding Swiss franc loans, says Miro Senica and attorneys Partner Katarina Kresal. That decision – which has since been followed by a few more – was finally issued at the end of 2018.

“These are interesting and challenging times right now for the legal and business community,” says Suciu Popa Managing Partner Luminita Popa, referring to changes introduced by the Romanian government at the end of 2018. 

"Two major things are happening right now which are the focus of our practice: The Tech Industry and Chinese Investors,” says Ivan Nonkovic, Partner and independent attorney at law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners in Belgrade. "Both things are happening all over the region,” he concedes, ”so not exclusively in Serbia, but they’re definitely significant here too."

Adam Mycyk, a Ukrainian-American from the United States, is a partner in Dentons’ Kyiv office, and he has nearly 25 years of experience advising both Ukrainian and international companies, banks, investment banks and a range of other financial institutions and investors.

The Deal: In September 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Sayenko Kharenko had advised Mriya Agro Holding and Hogan Lovells had advised the company’s ad hoc committee of note-holders on the restructuring of its USD 1.1 billion debt, and that the two firms had advised the company on its subsequent sale of the company’s assets, including infrastructure facilities, machinery and land lease rights, to the Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Company United Kingdom (SALIC). Dickson Minto and Redcliffe Partners advised SALIC on its acquisition.

According to Oleg Efrim, the Managing Partner at Moldova’s Efrim Rosca Asociatii law firm, the primary topic of interest at the moment in the Moldovan legal community is the country’s newly modernized Civil Code which will become effective on March 1, 2018. According to Efrim, the new Code will be a significant upgrade to the existing law, which entered into force in 2003 as the country’s first following the fall of the Soviet Union. “It’s a substantial amendment,” Efrim reports, pointing out that the number of articles is increasing from the existing 1624 to 2671, and he says that "it is, indeed, a modernization of the Code.”

The recent buzz in Slovenia was all about the eagerly-awaited decision of the country’s Supreme Court regarding Swiss franc loans, says Miro Senica and attorneys Partner Katarina Kresal. That decision – which has since been followed by a few more – was finally issued at the end of 2018.

“These are interesting and challenging times right now for the legal and business community,” says Suciu Popa Managing Partner Luminita Popa, referring to changes introduced by the Romanian government at the end of 2018. 

"Two major things are happening right now which are the focus of our practice: The Tech Industry and Chinese Investors,” says Ivan Nonkovic, Partner and independent attorney at law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners in Belgrade. "Both things are happening all over the region,” he concedes, ”so not exclusively in Serbia, but they’re definitely significant here too."

We’re still in the aftermath of the general elections that occurred in October of 2018,” says Andrea Zubovic-Devedzic, Partner at CMS in Sarajevo, who describes the elections as “ the biggest topic in 2018.” According to Zubovic-Devedzic, “there was a lot of wait-and-see before the elections. The hope was the government would be formed quickly and things would pick up. But unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet, and we’re still waiting.”

Turkey has been undergoing significant changes recently, including reforms made to stabilize the Turkish lira and improve the dispute resolution process, says Duygu Gultekin, Partner at the Esin Attorney Partnership.

Adam Mycyk, a Ukrainian-American from the United States, is a partner in Dentons’ Kyiv office, and he has nearly 25 years of experience advising both Ukrainian and international companies, banks, investment banks and a range of other financial institutions and investors.

The Deal: In September 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Sayenko Kharenko had advised Mriya Agro Holding and Hogan Lovells had advised the company’s ad hoc committee of note-holders on the restructuring of its USD 1.1 billion debt, and that the two firms had advised the company on its subsequent sale of the company’s assets, including infrastructure facilities, machinery and land lease rights, to the Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Company United Kingdom (SALIC). Dickson Minto and Redcliffe Partners advised SALIC on its acquisition.

Ivan Kravtsov is the Senior Legal Director of Carlsberg, Ukraine. He started his career as a lawyer at Russian Energy Company JSC in October 2003, and in 2005 he moved to Procter & Gamble. In 2009 he was named the Head of Legal of Shell Retail Ukraine, and seven years he moved to Carlsberg.

In summer 2017, after Sejdiu & Qerkini Partner Korab Sejdiu was elected to the Kosovo Parliament, he suspended his law license and left private practice. We checked in with Sejdiu to learn more about his new role and experience.

The Prague-based European Centre for Career Education focuses on providing students a practical and complimentary education, focusing on kinds of practical experience and inspiration they rarely receive in their university studies. After they complete the program, ECCE helps participants obtain useful internships with companies such as Siemens, Unicredit, Exxon Mobile, T-Mobile, and Lego, and with law firms including DLA Piper, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, and Dentons.

The Deal: In July 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Warsaw office of Linklaters had advised Polish rolling stock manufacturer PESA Bydgoszcz and its shareholders on the sale of 100% of the company to the Polish Development Fund. Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised the Polish Development Fund on the acquisition.

If one is an example, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend, the three major law firm mergers in Ukraine this past summer demand closer scrutiny.

On July 9, 2018, the CEE Legal Matters website reported the merger of the Avellum and A.G.A. Partners law firms in Ukraine. A month later, the website reported on a second merger, this time between Asters and EPAP, the Ukrainian office of Russia’s Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners. And in September the website reported on yet another merger, between Integrites and Pravochyn. To explore these significant changes in the market, on October 26, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down with a collection of prominent Ukrainian lawyers — including several from firms directly involved in the summer’s mergers — at the Kyiv office of DLA Piper.

Chinese investors and developers are expanding their footprints in Europe, focusing often on green technology and opportunities in the solar, hi-tech, and automation industries, as well as highly-publicized infrastructure development tenders. Over the years, the amount of Chinese investment has increased, as has the number of Chinese professionals settling in CEE to facilitate Europe-China relations and bridge differences in culture, expectations, and styles. In September, 2018, CEE Legal Matters sat down at the Dentons office in Budapest with three Chinese lawyers to learn about their experiences working on the ground in CEE.

Start-Ups represent a unique subset of clients for major law firms, as they are often unable to pay the fees those firms generally require, but – particularly in the tech sector – hold out the potential of significant profitability down the road. Intrigued by the unique challenges and opportunities for law firms offering their services to these cash-poor but potential-high clients, we invited partners from four prominent law firms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to share their strategies and experiences with Start-ups with us in the offices of Kocian Solc Balastik in Prague. KSB Partner Christian Blatchford moderated the conversation. 

The Hungarian real estate and housing market is experiencing golden days. Although the market took a serious hit during the financial crisis in 2008, today enormous sums are again being invested in office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, residential areas, and retail. In order to map the underlying reasons behind the market’s boom, and to better understand how the country is dealing with the high demand for development lands and properties, CEE Legal Matters sat down with six Hungarian lawyers specialized in Real Estate & Construction and a Legal Counsel from Prologis, a Real Estate & Supply Chain Logistics company. 

On January 30, 2018, a select group of prominent Serbian lawyers gathered at the Prica & Partners law firm in Belgrade for a CEE Legal Matters Round Table to discuss the current economic conditions in Serbia and the country’s legal services sector.

On Thursday, April 19, 2018, CEE Legal Matters hosted a round table discussion at the Dentons office in Budapest with leading real estate experts in the market.

From GC Nightmares to Partner Nightmares

In our previous article, we addressed the frustration of general counsel regarding external lawyers pushing against their caps, and we provided some tips for how to defuse this tension. (See Evelaw. GC Nightmares: Assaults on the Cap).

Every year legal marketing professionals try to define the key trends and predictions for the upcoming year – so do we. Most tools and solutions have been around for some time, we just have to adjust them according to our experience and global trends. 

Why can’t you sleep?

When we ask general counsel the question “What keeps you up at night about law firms”, many gnash their teeth about a problem with fee caps. In particular, they express their frustration with law firms requesting cap waivers based on the belief that the matter’s scope has been exceeded.

Until 2009 legal marketing was overregulated in Hungary. Since then lawyer ads are basically allowed, but they have to comply with the Hungarian Bar Association’s guidelines. 

For the last couple of years the issue of attracting foreign investments into Ukraine has loomed large. However, attracting such investment is hardly possible without creating the proper investment climate and implementing necessary reforms. One necessary step is transforming Ukrainian corporate law.