Dorda Partner Martin Brodey starts his provision of The Buzz in Austria by describing the market as very busy and reporting that “two things are blossoming in particular – transactions and litigation – which we see from practice as very strong.” He notes that “Austria is mainly oriented towards the export of highly specialized industrial products and the provision of high-skill services,” and that “this keeps business busy - transactions are stable and flourishing.”
When asked which business sectors are most active, Brodey says that “the spotlight is on digitalization - it’s on everyone’s mind.” He reports that “special industry groups have been formed within Dorda to focus on M&A in the digital sector” and that other offices can be expected to do the same. He specifically underlines blockchain technology as a “new and interesting point – as it gets more of a hold on the markets, lawyers will need to figure out exactly what kind of an impact it may have on businesses and the services they offer.” He believes that “lawyers will have to follow this closely to be able to provide clients with the necessary legal advice.”
However, a political crisis in the wake of the publication of a secret video depicting what Brodey describes as the "untenable statements" of two top politicians of the Freedom Party has taken hold of the Austrian system, and he reports that the scandal is “felt in all aspects of business." According to him, “the current coalition has been terminated and the Freedom Party ministers are leaving office with an interim government in place," with “all complex legislative processes put on hold until the elections are held in September or October.” He believes that “some legislative projects will continue under the interim government with experts but more significant topics, such as an administrative reform, will effectively be put on hold.”
“Regardless of the crisis, private business is not impacted and transactions are continuing at a steady pace, whatever the political constellation,” Brodey reports, but he concedes that “confidence in the Austrian political system will have to be restored nationally and internationally, which will take time."
Finally, Brodey says that the legal market itself is “more or less stable – there are not a lot of shifting between the firms.” He adds that there are no “moves of large lawyer teams” and that although “every now and then, a new firm gets set up,” it is of no large impact on the market overall.