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Know Your Lawyer: Diana Dimova of Kinstellar

Know Your Lawyer: Diana Dimova of Kinstellar

Issue 11.2
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An in-depth look at Diana Dimova of Kinstellar 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.

Career:

  • Kinstellar; Sofia Managing Partner; 2014-present
  • Wolf Theiss; Senior Associate; 2011-2014
  • DLA Piper; Associate to Senior Associate; 2007-2010
  • KPMG; Legal Assistant to Senior Lawyer; 2004-2007

Education:

  • The College of Law London; Practice Diploma in International M&A; 2009
  • King’s College London; PG Diploma in EU Law; 2006
  • Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski; LL.M.; 2002

Favorites:

  • Out-of-office activity: Having fun with the kids, exploring new places
  • Quote: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child or a garden patch; to know even one life has breathed easier ...” – Ralph Emerson’s definition of success
  • Book: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  • Movie: Interstellar; The Before trilogy: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight

Top 5 Projects:

  • Advising KBC Bank on several acquisitions of financial institutions, including the EUR 1.01 billion acquisition of Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria – the largest transaction in the Bulgarian banking sector to date.
  • Advising TAWAL on the acquisition of the telecommunications tower assets of United Group B.V., consisting of more than 4,800 towers across Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia, for EUR 1.2 billion.
  • Advising Meridiam on its winning bid in the tender procedure for the concession of Sofia Airport – the largest PPP in Bulgaria in recent years, valued at EUR 4.3 billion.
  • Advising Kin+Carta, a B Corp company, on its acquisition of the Bulgarian Melon Group together with its subsidiaries in North Macedonia and Kosovo.
  • Advising the global online research company YouGov on the acquisition of the European Consumer Panel Business of GfK for EUR 315 million in several CEE countries.

CEELM: What would you say was the most challenging project you ever worked on and why?

Dimova: Without a doubt the Sofia Airport 35-year concession. It is difficult to describe the feeling of advising on a project that might outlive us and that has such an impact on society. The project involved an asset-by-asset transfer of the entire airport activity; however, in practice, it was a bit more complicated than that. On every step of this three-year journey – advising throughout the international tender, the sleepless nights before bid submissions, entering into the concession agreement, followed by massive financing (signed right on Christmas Eve, to no lawyer’s surprise) and, finally, reaching the concession commencement date – our team had to handle multiple, cross-cutting workstreams spanning almost every area of law. On top of that, COVID-19 sent all teams to work from home, while the project required impeccable teamwork. 

CEELM: And what was your main takeaway from it?            

Dimova: Strong teams emerge from overcoming difficulties and I am astonished at how much we grew as advisors and as a team by working on this challenging project. I also had the privilege of collaborating with some brilliant minds along the way. 

CEELM: What is one thing clients likely don’t know about you?

Dimova: One day I would like to get more closely involved in the area of education – it saddens me to witness the decline of the Bulgarian educational system and how unfit it is for the 21st century. At present, our team in Sofia has embraced education as part of our community investment efforts – each year we support schools and initiatives as well as our long-standing NGO partner Teach for Bulgaria.

CEELM: Name one mentor who played a big role in your career and how they impacted you.

Dimova: At least three people who have had an impact on my legal career deserve a shout-out. I am grateful to Patrik Bolf, until recently Kinstellar’s Firm Managing Partner, for introducing me to the new role and its challenges when I was getting to grips with law firm management ten years ago. He continued to share his wisdom and practical tips over the years. Jason Mogg, Kinstellar’s Senior Partner, always impresses me with his bold vision and out-of-the-box thinking. I truly admire his ability to expand and transform the organization through unusual and, I would say, pioneering strategies for our firm’s development. I will also long remember my interactions with Anthony Cann, the former Senior Partner of Linklaters and a non-executive director at Kinstellar until recently. It’s been a privilege to learn from his amazing experience at the helm of an elite global firm.

CEELM: Name one mentee you are particularly proud of.

Dimova: I am truly proud to observe the professional growth of Nina Tsifudina, currently a Corporate Partner in the Sofia office. I am not sure if I have been a true mentor to her but we have been in the trenches together for quite a long time and I think we both learn from each other. If the new generations of lawyers ask me what it takes to reach the top of the profession, Nina will be my prime example – smart, with unwavering legal curiosity, extremely hard-working, and self-driven.

CEELM: What is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself fresh out of law school?

Dimova: You can afford a little bit more time for yourself, your true self.

This article was originally published in Issue 11.2 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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