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As the world continues to fight the challenges presented by COVID-19, some guidance on the effects on litigation of the COVID-19 crisis can be discerned from the past year. We know that some sectors have suffered more than others, and participants in industries most affected by COVID-19, like airlines, HORECA, tourism, entertainment, and the commercial real estate sector have already become involved in related legal disputes, such as contractual disputes concerning supply chain disruptions. The big question is whether the pandemic qualifies as a force majeure or a material adverse change that could allow the contracting parties to walk away.

A look back at more than 30 years in the legal profession, through changing political and economic systems, legal environments, and expectations towards lawyers, and changing ways and platforms of communication.

On February 8, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Oliver Koppany and Csaba Rusznak had joined KNP Law Nagy-Koppany Lencs & Partners in Budapest. Rusznak will lead the firm’s Dispute Resolution Practice Group, while Koppany, who joined as Foreign Legal Counsel, is preparing to take over the management of the firm from his mother, KNP Law Founder and Managing Partner Kornelia Nagy-Koppany. We spoke with Koppany and Rusznak to learn more about their background and plans for the future.

On December 15, 2020 CEELM gathered legal experts from across the region for its annual Year-in-Review Round Table conversation. In a wide-ranging discussion, participants shared opinions and perspectives on their markets, on strong (and less-strong) practices across the region, and the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on both, as well as on how technology is changing the legal industry, and what the industry will look like in 2021.

Every spring DLA Piper publishes its annual M&A intelligence report. This past spring, we could only speculate on the effects of the pandemic as COVID-19 had just hit Europe. Informed by our experience of the past few months, we have recently published our updated M&A Global Report. Below we highlight a couple of trends that are impacting CEE. 

New technologies are all the rage, as law firms adapt to the telecommuting and digitalization realities that accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic. Accordingly, we decided to ask our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a simple question: “What is the single most important/valuable piece of software you use?” As always, we asked respondents to focus on the question at hand, rather than – as we put it – using the question simply as an excuse to “tell us that their firms are awesome.” Not everyone was able to resist.

Looking at the volume of non-performing loans in the balance sheets of the Hungarian banks, it is possible to believe that the situation has never been better. In fact, however, this is primarily due to the general moratorium introduced by the Hungarian government in March 2020, which protected both companies and consumers against insolvency and non-payment. Now, eight months later, financial institutions are preparing for a potentially massive wave of bankruptcies, as they already reserved HUF 250 billion in the first half of this year.

One of the most important issues facing businesses in CEE is the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on litigation and arbitration. In-person court and arbitration hearings have become problematic, if not impossible, and the importance of certain boilerplate contract clauses has skyrocketed. Zsolt Okanyi, Global Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS, Malgorzata Surdek, Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS Poland, and Daniela Karollus Bruner, Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS Austria, evaluate the current situation.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time: “What one ongoing pro bono initiative or project or charity/volunteering project that your firm is involved with has the most meaning for you personally, and why?”

Over the course of our seven years, CEE Legal Matters has interviewed most of the British lawyers working on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe as part of our recurring “Expat on the Market” feature. We reached out to them recently and asked them to bring us up to speed on what they’re doing and/or share their thoughts on the ramifications of Brexit or the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

In 2012 a simplified lump sum tax, known as KATA, was introduced for small businesses. The rules of KATA allowed small businesses, including private entrepreneurs, to opt to pay a lump sum monthly tax of HUF 50,000 (EUR 145) per person employed by the business. Businesses paying the lump sum tax are relieved of any other income or payroll taxes. The regime is applicable to income of up to HUF 12 million (approximately EUR 34,000) revenue per year. Above this limit, a tax rate of 40% is applied to the excess.

Some experts say that “data is the new oil,” but oil can catch fire easily without proper handling. When you hear concerns about the collection of personal data, you might first associate them with data protection regulations, but competition law can also seriously affect your business. Competition authorities have intervened recently against platforms by using patterns that might be widely applied to other companies. Is this just the beginning? Who is in danger?

According to its website, Budapest-based InvestCEE aims to “humanize technology” for lawyers and provides services to law firms and in-house counsel in Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

In March, 2020, the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (HEPURA) published the official results of the first tender procedure of the Hungarian Renewable Energy Support System (METAR), in which bidders were encouraged to apply for state subsidies in (i) power plants between 0.3 MW and 1 MW capacity (the “Small Category”) and (ii) power plants between 1 MW and 20 MW capacity (the “Large Category”).

In February, the EU Commission issued its new White Book on Artificial Intelligence – a European Approach to Excellence and Trust. The White Book is the prelude to a new EU regulatory framework for AI that aims to minimize the risks of AI and seize the opportunities it offers.

We decided to lighten the mood this time around by asking our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a non-law-firm related question: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

Hungary Knowledge Partner

Nagy és Trócsányi was founded in 1991, turned into limited professional partnership (in Hungarian: ügyvédi iroda) in 1992, with the aim of offering sophisticated legal services. The firm continues to seek excellence in a comprehensive and modern practice, which spans international commercial and business law. 

The firm’s lawyers provide clients with advice and representation in an active, thoughtful and ethical manner, with a real understanding of clients‘ business needs and the markets in which they operate.

The firm is one of the largest home-grown independent law firms in Hungary. Currently Nagy és Trócsányi has 26 lawyers out of which there are 8 active partners. All partners are equity partners.

Nagy és Trócsányi is a legal entity and registered with the Budapest Bar Association. All lawyers of the Budapest office are either members of, or registered as clerks with, the Budapest Bar Association. Several of the firm’s lawyers are admitted attorneys or registered as legal consultants in New York.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. 

Our activity focuses on the following practice areas: M&A, company law, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate law, banking and finance, project financing, insolvency and restructuring, venture capital investment, taxation, competition, utilities, energy, media and telecommunication.

Nagy és Trócsányi is the exclusive member firm in Hungary for Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+countries worldwide.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. Among our key clients are: OTP Bank, Sberbank, Erste Bank, Scania, KS ORKA, Mannvit, DAF Trucks, Booking.com, Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest, Hungarian Post Pte Ltd, Hiventures, Strabag, CPI Hungary, Givaudan, Marks & Spencer, CBA.

Firm's website.

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