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The CEELMDirect Profile Pick: An Interview with Djuro Otasevic of NKO Partners

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CEELMDirect Profile Pick: A series of interviews with partners and firms with profiles on the new CEELMDirect online legal directory. Today’s interview: Djuro Otasevic, Founding Partner at NKO Partners in Serbia and Montenegro.

CEELMDirectHello, Djuro! According to your profile on CEELMDirect, you are one of the founding partners at NKO Partners. What can you tell us about the firm’s founding? 

Otasevic: NKO was founded back in 2008 and we are very proud and grateful to our great team that made it possible for us to expand so much over the years! We now have nearly 20 fee earners, which is a dramatic increase since the firm was first founded. Indeed, this year we have continued with our expansion drive by joining forces with Petar Orlic from London. Having worked in London as a Partner at firms such as Paul Hastings, Reed Smith, and Watson Farley & Williams, Petar brings a wealth of experience working on international deals and will be the interface between NKO and its international clients and partners.

CEELMDirectSpeaking of NKO clients, do you remember your first client at the firm, and matter? What was it?  

Otasevic: Wow – that was a while back! We were lucky to start immediately working with several clients as soon as we established the office and we are very proud that the majority of those clients are still working with us, 14 years later. At the outset, we represented several investment funds, multinational and regional, that we gave a wide range of advice to, in the commercial, real estate, and litigation areas. We were very lucky to be provided with the opportunity to work on a number of M&A deals that involved the biggest local and international law offices, which was helpful, because it immediately put us on the map as a professional outfit dealing with the most complex deals in the region.

CEELMDirectWhat made you go into the law in the first place?  

Otasevic: To be honest, it was as though the Law chose me! I've always liked the analytical way of thinking and approach to things and I thought the legal profession was the best place to utilize and improve these skills. I also wanted to be constantly challenged intellectually and I find this is definitely the case in the legal world, where laws and legal cases are constantly being changed and challenged!

CEELMDirectThe past few years have obviously been unusual, what with Covid, recent inflation, and the war in Ukraine, among other challenges. How has NKO responded over that time – has the firm undergone any changes of significance?

Otasevic: Amazingly, NKO significantly expanded during these unusual times, in terms of our client portfolio, the size of our team, and the complexity of the matters we deal with. We already had a philosophy of "flexible working" at the firm, and I think that this put us in good stead to deal with Covid as the demands for this increased. As our client base develops, we are also undertaking more transactions with an international flavor, and I believe the addition of Petar Orlic to the NKO team will help in this regard.

CEELMDirect: Great. Thank you!

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