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Against the backdrop of concerns that changes in technology may cost law firms jobs come reports that law firms in Slovakia are having trouble finding the skilled law school graduates to fill their associate ranks. Whether because of a decrease in the perceived attractiveness of a career in a law firm, a prolonged mandatory traineeship period, or some other reason, many see a serious problem developing.

When I was first asked to write an Editorial for CEE Legal Matters, I was told that it should be something personal or funny. As “funny,” by definition, does not get along with the legal profession very well, I will have to stick to reflecting on my 20-year career. I will share a few thoughts on the dilemma of whether to pursue a legal career in London or in Bratislava and on the changing world around us that impacts (and arguably, enhances) the lives of legal practitioners in one of the CEE countries.

The Deal: On October 4, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons’ Bratislava office had advised CNIC Corporation Ltd., an investment company owned by the Chinese government, on its acquisition of Prologis Park Galanta-Gan in Slovakia – which Dentons described as “the largest logistics asset, both by area and investment volume, ever sold in the CEE region” – from Prologis, and that Kinstellar had advised Prologis on the deal.

For a number of years, Slovakian courts struggled with domain name disputes. Because there was neither statutory legislation concerning the rights to domain names nor consistent case-law allowing for the formulation of principles for resolving disputes that arose involving them, different courts took different approaches regarding how to decide domain name cases. This made legal certainty and predictability extremely difficult for stakeholders in the country.

Public protests that surrounded the February 2018 death of Slovakia journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee have somewhat abated, says Dentons Bratislava Partner Zuzana Simekova, but the controversy and ultimate consequences are still up in the air.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is, according to the EU-hosted GDPR website, “the most important change in data privacy regulation in the past 20 years.” The Act, which was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 and will become fully effective on May 25, 2018, was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).

Some memories never fade away. I remember the first months of my trainee career at Allen & Overy’s newly opened Bratislava office as if they were yesterday. The year was 1998 and we had just moved into new office space. It felt way too big for the team of three lawyers, one PA, and one office manager.

The European Commission has just published its comprehensive proposal for the so-called "New Deal for Consumers", which aims to strengthen EU consumer rights and enforcement. This includes the proposal for a new Directive enabling certain qualified entities to seek redress on behalf of consumers who have been harmed by an unlawful commercial practice.

The Slovak energy market is in a state of transition. Energy security continues to be a key driver of the country’s energy policy. Long characterized by its reliance on gas from the Russian Federation, Slovakia continues to seek alternative sources to supply its energy needs. To a large extent, the solution has been to invest billions into nuclear power, while the development of renewable energy sources (RES) has so far been slow.

The Czech JSK law firm, the Slovak Majernik & Mihalikova law firm, and Austria's Graf Patsch Taucher have advised ARBES Technologies, a member of the Expandia Group, on its cross-border acquisition of the Slovak software company FINAMIS. The sellers were advised by the Misik law firm.

“The upcoming GDPR deadline, the newly implemented the anti-money laundering directive, and the newly implemented payment services directive are what’s keeping Slovakian companies and hence, law firms busy these days,” reports Silvia Belovicova, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs in Bratislava.

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