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Guest Editorial: The Greek Spring

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Economic recovery, growth, and FDI are the main themes of the Greek market, where, after nine years of recession, the economy is beginning to shift and grow.

This has impacted transactional law firms in Greece that have witnessed an increase in mandates spanning across the M&A, banking, finance, and capital markets sectors and hence an increase in the number of attorneys.

Firms that have managed to modernize themselves and the way they operate have clearly gained mandates as opposed to those who have retained the traditional way of legal advice of the past. 

The need of banks to clear their balance sheets and dispose of NPL portfolios over the past few years, coupled with reforms on enforcement proceedings and auctions, was a driver for large credit transactions and will continue to be for the remaining of 2019 and 2020.

However, more traditional private equity and M&A transactions that are a result of FDI, led by foreign institutional investors, are also rising. 

Major activity has been noted in the real-estate, hospitality, energy and infrastructure sectors where firms representing foreign investors have experienced an increase in transactional mandates. 

Such activity has created the need for a higher level of expertise among law firms and a need for a service offering similar to international law firms. Thus, the market is seeing Greek corporate firms that traditionally provide services relating to day to day corporate advice to their clients are now shifting to more transactional-oriented work that requires a higher level of expertise by lawyers. 

Despite the fact that Greek legal market has a mix of both local and international firms that have been established in Greece over the years, Greek law firms have had the largest share of mandates and headcount. 

As Greek macro indicators are positive and there is additional growth expected in 2020, I expect that firms are going to grow as well in terms of size and those that are able to provide high level services to sophisticated clients that are investing the Greek market will have more to gain and benefit. 

It is a good time and a good place to be a business lawyer with international expertise.

Nicholas Papapolitis, Managing Partner, Papapolitis & Papapolitis.

This Article was originally published in Issue 6.8 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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