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Know Your Lawyer: Balazs Dominek of Szabo Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys

Know Your Lawyer: Balazs Dominek of Szabo Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys

Issue 11.3
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An in-depth look at Balazs Dominek of Szabo Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys covering his career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about him as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.

Career:

  • Szabo, Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys; Managing Partner; 2023-Present
  • Szabo, Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys; Partner; 2014-2023
  • Szabo, Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys; Junior Lawyer; 2010-2014

Education:

  • Pazmany Peter Catholic University; Juris Doctorate; 2009
  • University of East Anglia; LL.M. in International Competition Law and Policy with Research Methods Training; 2010

Favorites:

  • Out-of-office activity: Being and eating outside. BBQ or cooking in a cauldron are obvious matches. I often do these during the weekends with family and friends.
  • Quote: “He gives twice who gives promptly” (proverb)
  • Book: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  • Movie: Star Trek (all)

Top 5 Projects:

  • Representing Fundamenta, FHB Bank, and Takarekbank in the BankAdat case and follow-on judicial revision. This was one of the biggest cartel cases in Hungary ever (involving a fine of over HUF 4 billion).
  • Advising Corvinus Nemzetkozi Befektetesi Zrt. on the acquisition of Budapest Bank (one of the leading banks of Hungary at that time) from General Electric Capital Group.
  • Obtaining merger clearance for MKB-Euroleasing (one of the largest car financing firms in Hungary) and Eurolizing Letet for the acquisition of a car financing portfolio from PSA Group and carve-outs.
  • Advising the City of Dunaujvaros regarding its shares in power plants and public utility provider companies;
  • Advising Lightware (a global leading DVI company) regarding its internal restructuring and transformation of its channels of distribution involving 30+ jurisdictions.

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

Dominek: It is hard to point out the most challenging project. Challenges might be professional or might relate to time concerns, client relationships, etc. I think the most complex project was the work for the City of Dunaujvaros. It concerned corporate and legal disputes with minority shareholders in several power plants, distance heating suppliers, and other public utility provider companies. There was a deep corporate dispute between the city and minority shareholders spiced with many high-value litigations about breach of contract and torts. We represented the client in 20+ litigations at the same time. Needless to say, all disputes were interconnected, and many involved complex regulatory and civil law issues.

CEELM: And what was your main takeaway from it?

Dominek: In so many interconnected litigations, standard litigation tactics might pose severe risks. Also, different service lines had to work closely due to the involvement of regulatory and public procurement elements. The strategy had to be built prudently and consistently. Indeed, I was very proud that the different service lines of our firm could work together so closely, professionally, and effectively. I realized that our firm culture and close friendships are one of our firm’s most important core values.

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

Dominek: I am a DIY guy – I like to fix and make things in the house by myself. I am a “hobby” electrician, painter, carpenter, and so on. I would not build a business on these, but such work helps me to get out of my everyday work routine.

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

Dominek: I must name two. One is my professor of competition law, Pal Szilagyi. To be honest, I took one of his courses by chance. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm and professional knowledge impressed me so much that I finally took all his courses in the years to come. During those years, we became friends, and he also gave me an inestimable push and helped me apply for and win the OTDK (National Student Conference) and other awards, as well as apply for an LLM. The other is Laszlo Kelemen. Laszlo has been a Managing Partner at our firm since I joined, and we have worked closely together on many projects. Besides his deep knowledge of the law, I learned many soft skills from him and also that these soft skills and client relations are at least equally important in our profession as solid legal knowledge.    

CEELM: Name one mentee, you are particularly proud of.

Dominek: Zsolt Eperjesi. I have been advising many shopping and other retail centers, and Zsolt assisted me a lot when he was a junior lawyer at our firm. During the years, Zsolt became a recognized practitioner in commercial and retail real estate law. We always discuss more complex legal issues and, to be honest, I also learn a lot from him. I am proud that – together with three other new partners – Zsolt has been promoted to be a Partner at our law firm from January 1, 2024. 

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

Dominek: After a few years of law school, students often take a very strict legal approach to everything. This happens in other professions as well, I believe. Being open to other perspectives helps find solutions in many cases, however. Never underestimate the powers of thinking out of the box.

This article was originally published in Issue 11.3 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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