Despite varying governmental approaches to the coronavirus response across the Nordics, there is a consistent optimism throughout the region, both with regards to what 2021 holds and also the overarching impact of the virus on the markets in the long term.
‘Largely, and perhaps surprisingly, the feeling is that it has been business as usual,’ states Gorrissen Federspiel’s managing partner Martin André Dittmer of the Danish market. ‘When the pandemic broke, there was a lot of uncertainty around how the market would respond and how businesses would navigate the situation. But once the initial shock had subsided, what we mostly experienced was a focus on government relief packages and issues relating to employers’ legal obligations.’ Continue reading “Euro Elite: Nordics – Solid states”
The Covid-19 pandemic hit the Russian Federation particularly hard, with the country repeatedly topping all lists for its highest numbers of reported coronavirus cases in Europe. The consequences for the Russian economy were almost instant, with local unemployment rates climbing quickly and consumption rates declining early in the spring of 2020. Naturally, the legal market was also affected by all this.
At the time, both Russian and international law firms had something in common: they were quick to react to the pandemic, closing offices and adjusting successfully to working remotely. Not only did the legal market do its best to contain the impact of the pandemic among its employees and clients – eventually, it played an active part in combating its spread. Continue reading “Euro Elite: Russia and CIS – Bear necessities”
The Eastern Mediterranean countries featured in the Euro Elite – namely Greece, Turkey and Israel – occupy a region where, for one reason or another, international law firms largely refrain from active participation in the local legal markets; leaving a void for high-end, international expertise, willingly filled by domestic, independent firms.
In Israel, international law firms were not permitted to operate in the nation until an amendment made to the Israel Bar Association Law in August 2012. Understandably, eight years is not sufficient time for the foundations of the legal market to drastically shift meaning that very few international firms have any form of presence in the nation. Those that do only have a handful of on-the-ground lawyers between them. Continue reading “Euro Elite: Southern Europe – Sole resistance”
In a space of only 41,285 km², Switzerland has two major language areas and 26 cantons, giving it a fairly unique set-up. Known to be one of the richest countries in the world, it had little problem absorbing the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to its stable economy. However, ‘the government hasn’t been very successful at combating the virus’, says Daniel Hochstrasser, senior partner and chair of Bär & Karrer, referring to the country’s at times high numbers of cases and deaths. ‘But that has not changed much in the overall assessment of Switzerland on a global scale.’
With high activity in the industrial, manufacturing and financial services sectors, Bär & Karrer can look back on a successful 2020 overall. ‘The effects were less pronounced than we anticipated when we drew up contingency plans in March,’ says Hochstrasser. ‘In the end, we fortunately didn’t have to take any of those measures’. A highlight for the firm was advising Libra Association on its bid to build a global payment system based on the Libra blockchain; a matter that combined expertise from its banking and finance, fintech and tax departments. Continue reading “Euro Elite: Switzerland – Locked down”
Legal Business’ Euro Elite comprises independent law firms based in more than 40 European jurisdictions, rather than branches of international firms or Vereins.
To compile the 100 firms featured in this report, we used a scoring system based on the rankings of firms in the 2020 edition of The Legal 500 EMEA. Points were allocated for firms ranked in tiers 1-3 in tables featured in the guide. Top-tier rankings earned three points, second tier two and third one point. Continue reading “The Euro Elite: Methodology”
‘Anyone who says they’re not struggling would be lying,’ says Tim Pearce, global managing partner of Bedell Cristin, referring to the Jersey market. ‘Every sector of the economy and every business has struggled or suffered as a result of Covid, though businesses have struggled in different ways. Some financially, others socially. Others are struggling in terms of pure management. But for us, and indeed for the offshore industry as a whole, we’ve weathered the storm OK so far.’
Pearce’s cautiously optimistic outlook reverberates throughout the discussions with partners across the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands archipelago and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea to the north – the jurisdictions collectively known as the Crown Dependencies. Unlike the UK, domestic property is booming, buoyed by numerous factors. ‘In times of crisis, people invest in what they know,’ says Pearce. ‘People are looking for safe havens right now and property in all of our offshore jurisdictions is benefiting from that.’ Continue reading “UK offshore report: Staying afloat”
The Caribbean’s offshore financial centres have faced their fair share of challenges in recent years thanks to the increased international scrutiny of the tax haven environments, the impact of falling oil prices and the business interruption caused by the seemingly endless cycle of hurricanes, which sees the region bear the brunt of the ever-pervasive impact of climate change. Add to that a global pandemic, and there’s certainly the potential for a substantial economic disaster.
While the Covid-19 infection numbers for the Caribbean as a whole have remained low thanks to quick action by the local governments to close borders, enact temporary lockdowns and implement testing and contact tracing methods, the primary impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Caribbean is undoubtedly on tourism. For Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Cayman Islands (Cayman), the tourism industry contributes 28%, 52% and 70% of the average GDP respectively and figures suggest that, at worst, 2020 could see a 71% reduction in the number of international visitors. Continue reading “Caribbean offshore report: End of the storm?”
For most, May 2019 will feel like a lifetime ago, and Iberia is little different. When Legal Business last visited its legal market, the major talking point was the impact of highly-regarded dealmaker Juan Picón’s move from DLA Piper to Latham & Watkins the year before.
Less than 12 months later on 14 March 2020, the Spanish government imposed a national lockdown in response to the Covid-19 crisis. On 29 March, it was announced that, beginning the following day, all non-essential workers were ordered to remain at home for the next 14 days. It quickly became the case that Spain became one of Europe’s worst-affected countries, being the second country after Russia to record half a million cases of the disease. Continue reading “Letter from Iberia – Despite global meltdown, local lawyers remain upbeat”
Legal Business’ last deep delve into the Irish legal market revealed a country on the rebound. Since the country’s exit from a bailout package cobbled together by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the island of Ireland had proven itself robust.
By 2019 that recovery looked even more assured: GDP grew a strong 5.5%, making it six consecutive years as Europe’s fastest-growing economy. For comparison, Hungary was closest last year to matching its pace with a growth of 4.9%. Sure, the persistent gnaw of uncertainty could be felt as Brexit loomed ever larger, but the feeling was after years of forewarning, Irish business was as prepared as it could be in the face of a tumultuous but manageable 2020. Continue reading “Ireland: No luck required”