Welcome to the captivating field of lawyering in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), where challenges and opportunities intertwine in an ever-changing landscape. With over 24 years of experience, I have had a front-row seat to witness the remarkable journey of the legal profession in this region. In this article, I’ll share my personal reflections on lawyering in CEE, discussing its progress, setbacks, and the exciting trends that have shaped its course.
A Paradigm Shift
In the past two decades, the legal landscape in CEE has undergone an impressive transformation. As the region embraced democracy, market economies, and the rule of law, lawyers became architects of change, contributing to public policy and shaping legal systems. Gone are the days when lawyers were seen as mere technicians. Now business lawyers have a vital role in society, seamlessly combining legal skills with business advisory services. Having a dedicated external legal team that knows your sector inside out means you are not only legally compliant but able to forecast market trends and anticipate threats.
Of course, this journey hasn’t been without its challenges. Bureaucratic roadblocks and clashes between old-fashioned practices and the demands of a rapidly changing world persist. But within these challenges lie opportunities for growth. Lawyers armed with strong legal expertise, experience, and a touch of boldness are championing legal innovation and striving to create a more efficient and client-focused legal ecosystem.
The Power of Technology
In today’s tech-dominated era, CEE lawyers are embracing the power of legal tech tools. From smart, automated documents to AI-assisted legal research, technology is reshaping the profession in exciting ways. Even we feel the constant need to come up with smart solutions to the benefit of our clients. Legal products streamline processes, boost efficiency, and bring added value to existing services. Embracing legal tech is no longer a choice but a necessity to stay competitive and provide exceptional client experience.
The Power of Collaboration and International Integration
Gone are the days of local market focus and self-sufficiency. Nowadays, cross-border collaboration is the name of the game and firms who don’t acknowledge this will soon find themselves having placed the wrong bet. With increased cross-border transactions and investments, there is a growing demand for cross-border legal expertise. In CEE, lawyers are embracing strategic partnerships, networks, and alliances. They share knowledge and resources and expand their reach to better serve clients with global aspirations.
In Romania, the legal landscape is an exciting blend of local and international law firms. While both play vital roles, my personal belief is that local law firms backed by international entities offer a distinct advantage. These firms possess deep-rooted knowledge of the local culture, legal intricacies, and business landscape, allowing them to provide clients with tailored, insightful assistance. By adhering to international standards, these local firms combine the best of both worlds – local intelligence and international reach. This approach ensures that clients receive top-notch legal services that are finely tailored to their specific needs while also benefiting from global expertise and resources. Building regional synergies between local firms enables us to excel in a competitive market.
By Stefan Botezatu, Managing Partner, Act Legal Romania