Cyprus – Notes From A Small Island

Cyprus – Notes From A Small Island

Improved relations with Russia and accession to the European Union are helping to transform Cyprus as a financial hub. LB looks at the impact on the local legal community.

Cyprus is fast approaching a tipping point in its international development. It may be an island of less than one million people, with a total of 2,000 lawyers, but its strengthening trade ties with Russia and the emerging markets, not to mention its accession to the European Union and some shrewd domestic legislative developments, have helped the country grow its profile in the international financial arena.

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Switzerland – On The Rise

Switzerland – On The Rise

While several leading Swiss law firms contemplate their new lives as corporations, LB finds out what a series of high-profile partner exits means for Switzerland’s famously conservative legal market

This year, Zürich-based law firm Pestalozzi celebrates its 100th birthday. Just ten years ago, it joined forces with Geneva practice Lachenal Brechbuhl Cottier & Roguet to become Pestalozzi Lachenal Patry. But in late 2010, the two factions parted company, shutting down the Brussels office along the way.

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Turkey – Bridging the Gap

Turkey – Bridging the Gap

As its economy booms Turkey has attracted the attention of the world’s legal market. Will Clifford Chance and DLA Piper’s arrival mark a new chapter for the country’s local firm?

Clifford Chance’s move into Istanbul didn’t exactly take the market by surprise. The announcement that the Magic Circle firm is to open an outpost in the Turkish city followed its 2009 hire of Mete Yegin from local heavyweight Pekin & Pekin. Required by local Bar rules to ally with a local firm, CC will now officially launch in conjunction with Yegin’s firm, Yegin Legal Consultancy.

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Eine kleine Nachtmusik

Eine kleine Nachtmusik

With litigation from the banking crisis now starting to filter through in Austria, most commentators believe that disputes work will be a firm feature of the legal market for the next few years. LB explores some of the biggest trends to emerge from the banking crisis

There have been a few late nights at many of Austria’s top law firms in the past year. At the end of 2009, the government was dealing with the emergency nationalisation of the country’s sixth largest lender, Hypo Group Alpe Adria (HGAA), and Austria’s top lawyers had been called in to help clear up the mess.

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Going solo

Going solo

Equity partners from a number of big Austrian firms have decided to go it alone, setting up boutiques over the past 12 months. Legal Business explores the impact these moves are having on the market.

In the final days of last summer in downtown Vienna, a small law firm opened its doors for the first time. Nothing unusual there, except that this firm, Benn-Ibler Rechtsanwälte, was opened by five well-respected former DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach partners who quit in January 2010. When the partners left their old firm, they walked out with a fifth of the firm’s revenue and 40% of its equity partners.

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Worlds colliding

Worlds colliding

The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, dreaded by the offshore world, has now been agreed. LB finds out why the offshore world’s law firms are still smiling

After laboured negotiations and more than 30 drafts, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Directive was finally approved by the EU parliament in November 2010. As the terms were thrashed out in the preceding 18 months, the funds industry held its breath, stifling funds activity both on and offshore. The offshore world is now resting a little easier.

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Italy 2.0

Italy 2.0

The Italian legal market has modernised over the past decade as local firms have reacted to greater client demands and the influx of foreign practices. Now there’s greater pressure on fees and billing arrangements

Over the past decade the Italian legal market has gradually been modernising, entering its own 2.0 era. Firms have taken a more business-focused approach to how they run their firms. Italian lawyers who traditionally prided themselves on their ability to advise on a wide range of areas have become more specialised. Continue reading “Italy 2.0”

Litigators of Russia – unite!

Litigators of Russia – unite!

The Russian commercial justice system has suffered from image problems in the past, but recent court reforms and a boom in litigation look set to challenge this. LB investigates the impact on the domestic litigation market

In 2005, when Anton Ivanov was appointed chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court of Arbitration, the country’s highest commercial court, the domestic judicial system was blighted by accusations of political interference and corruption. It is fair to say that, for those seeking greater judicial independence within Russia and a broom to sweep away the court system’s perceived problems, Ivanov’s appointment wasn’t immediately seen as a great herald for change. For anyone hoping for an outsider, his arrival was an immense disappointment. Continue reading “Litigators of Russia – unite!”

Russian cases for Russian lawyers

Russian cases for Russian lawyers

Disputes from Russia and the CIS are an increasingly profitable area for Western firms, even for those without offices in the region. LB looks at how long the trend can continue

It’s a time bomb,’ says Dimitry Afanasiev, chairman of the Russian law firm Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners. ‘Given the fact that at some point some of these commercial contracts are going to blow up into a dispute then I think the English legal market is going to see Russian business for a long, long time.’ Continue reading “Russian cases for Russian lawyers”

The right track

The right track

Everything seems to conspire to prevent all but the most adventurous and patient of investors from entering Angola. A room at the ‘four star’ Tropico hotel, a 1970s’ block in downtown Luanda, will set you back $500 a night. Once checked in expect to pay $10 for a two-litre bottle of drinking water, $6 for a beer and $20 for a sandwich. It’s not surprising that the capital Luanda is now one of the most expensive cities in the world. Working in Angola requires not only deep pockets but also patience and preferably a bit of Portuguese. Yet investors and their lawyers remain unperturbed, lured into oil-rich Angola by double-digit growth rates and growing investment opportunities.

Angola is a country of paradoxes, a stark contrast of boom town and abject poverty. Executives at the country’s national oil company Sonangol will travel to Lisbon to meet its lawyers because working in and travelling to Angola is so difficult. Despite the difficulties, with real GDP growth rates of 21% and 13% in 2007 and 2008 respectively, and major mandates on offer, international law firms are finding there is work to do in the country. Oil is at the heart of this growth, with revenues from the sector accounting for a massive 85% of the country’s GDP. Having overtaken Saudi Arabia and Iran to become China’s biggest oil supplier, Angola is also benefiting from a stream of multi-billion-dollar Chinese investments. Among them money from China has been paved into the reconstruction of the Benguela railway, much of which was destroyed in the recent civil war.

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