"My impression," says Marcin Aslanowicz, Partner at Wolf Theiss in Warsaw, "is that the Polish market is changing rapidly."
Several of the largest law firms in the market, including Dentons, SK&S, Wardynski & Partners, and DZP — all of which boast well over 100 lawyers — seem to be pursuing an aggressive growth strategy, while firms in the 50-70 lawyer range, like Wolf Theiss, seem to be comfortable at that level. Regardless, Aslanowicz reports that business is good across the board, and he reports a number of significant M&As and disputes ongoing in his own office as evidence.
Turning to the subject of legislation, Aslanowicz refers first and foremost to the changes to the Code of Civil Procedure that went into effect on August 1, 2016, including the introduction of electronic filings, among other things. Aslanowicz describes these changes as "quite significant, but it’s not something that’s overwhelming in its scope." He also referred to the potential modifications to the Code of Commercial Companies, which are expected to include a simplified form of Joint Stock Companies — which should enable shareholders to establish and operate a JSC with limited obligations and at a cheaper cost. As discussions regarding these modifications are ongoing, it’s not clear yet, Aslanowicz says, when they’ll be implemented in full.
Otherwise the biggest change, Aslanowicz reports, is the "total change of structure of the Polish Civil Courts" being seriously discussed by the government. Aslanowicz explains that, as proposed, the district courts will probably be wholly eliminated, with the Regional Courts taking over their competencies. Nobody knows yet for sure when this will happen, or even if, but Aslanowicz says that if it does happen this will constitute “the most significant change in the last decade.” Reports suggest the Minister of Justice is hoping to implement the plan in the next 12 months, but Aslanowicz suggests that, as the formal plan hasn’t even been published yet, and in light of the dramatic change this would entail, he thinks it will "probably be a bit later." The plan is expected to increase the efficiency of the court, though Aslanowicz himself is slightly skeptical.
Business is good, Aslanowicz reiterates, noting that he himself never really share the fears expressed by many others about investors fleeing Poland in response to the elections in 2015, and indeed, he says, now almost 12 months on, "it looks like it’s not going to happen." Similarly, while many were anxious about the possible consequences of the Brexit, no real negative consequences have been seen so far — and, if anything, Aslanowicz believes, the country could stand to gain by picking up some of the large financial institutions that may leave London, should the Brexit actually come to pass.
Ultimately, optimism is high — and increasing. The unemployment level — already among the lowest in Europe at between 6.5% and 7% — continues to drop, and many experts expect it to level out at about 5.5%, which would put the country in rarefied air.