An in-depth look at Alexandra Doytchinova of Schoenherr covering her career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about her as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.
Schoenherr, Co-Head of the firm-wide Corporate M&A Practice Group, August 2022
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law, Partner, 2013-present
Schoenherr Sofia Office, Establishment of office and Management, 2004-present
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law (Vienna, Austria), Associate, 2002-2007
University of Graz – Institute for Civil, Foreign Private Law, and Private International Law, Teaching Assistant, 2000-2002
University of Graz, Austria, Magister Juris, 2000
Out of office activity: Traveling and exploring cities, cultures, and food
Quote: “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.” – author unknown, but so very right.
Book: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – still gets me emotionally like no other.
Movie: Love Actually – perhaps not my top pick, but still on my Christmas watchlist.
Top 5 Projects:
Advising Chaos Software, a global leader in photorealistic rendering technology, on the Bulgarian law aspects of its merger with Enscape;
Advising Ringier AG, a media conglomerate, on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Sportal Media Group;
Advising the MET Group on the acquisition of a 60-megawatt operational wind park in Bulgaria;
Advising Enery Development on the acquisition of the owner and operator of the biggest solar park in Bulgaria;
Advising VTB Capital on the acquisition of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company.
What would you say was the most challenging project you ever worked on and why?
Doytchinova: What stands out in recent years is Enery’s acquisition of the largest photovoltaic park in Bulgaria. It wasn’t only huge for market standards in terms of asset and value, but also complexity. And it was the most significant transaction that was negotiated and implemented during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. In addition to the standard M&A workstreams, complexity was added by having one of the first ever commercial refinancings of an existing financing granted by the IFC and the US DFC, through a multimillion bond issue. Various workstreams were handled in virtual meetings across global time zones. It was also one of the first big closings during the pandemic. We had to isolate afterwards, as one of the attendees had tested positive. This led to our first virtual closing celebration.
And what was your main takeaway from it?
Doytchinova: Whatever the complexity of the deal, the number of parties, the legal issues to be solved, or transaction structures to be designed, and however difficult the environment – if all stakeholders and, crucially important, their legal counsels pull on the same string – a deal can be pushed through smoothly, to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties.
What is one thing clients likely don’t know about you?
Doytchinova: We spend so much time communicating with our clients, including evenings, weekends, and during vacations, that we also chat about private interests and time spent outside the office. As people’s interests are different, so are the topics of discussion. While one client may know that I like sailing or that I prefer working nightshifts, as this is the calmest time of the day, others may have learned that I grow chilies.
Name one mentor who played a big role in your career and how they impacted you.
Doytchinova: If I had to name one single person, that would be Christoph Lindinger, former Managing Partner of Schoenherr and the driving force behind our CEE expansion, who took me on board in 2002. Although I had no relevant experience at that time, nor the international education of my fellow colleagues, Christoph put a huge amount of trust in me. I wouldn’t be where I stand today without him believing in me twenty years ago. Even though he was never a traditional mentor, he was a leader by example: his passion and excitement for legal work and unwinding the most complex issues was truly infectious. But it was not just dedication to client work that I learned from him. It was also leading a team, how to motivate and be there for your people in any situation. This is what forms the strongest teams.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself fresh out of law school?
Doytchinova: Plan ahead. Work is exciting, and you want to embrace the chances you get. But also plan ahead in terms of personal development. Spend time abroad, studying or just living in a different environment and a new culture. This would be so enriching.
This Article was originally published in Issue 9.8 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.