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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System failure

System failure

The Advocates General of the European Court of Justice have argued that more work needs to be done before a single European patents court replaces national jurisdiction in the EU. More than 20 years after it was mooted, a unified patent litigation system is still being debated.

If you thought patent lawyers were mild-mannered boffins, think again. You could almost hear the collective wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the EU this summer when a leaked opinion appeared to shatter any hope of a unified patent litigation system being introduced in Europe. Continue reading “System failure”

A breath of fresh air

A breath of fresh air

Over the course of the past decade renewable energy has become a mainstream part of the energy sector. With investment flooding into projects across Europe, domestic and international firms are connecting with a new revenue stream

In renewable energy the emphasis is on thinking big. From the chain of offshore wind farms forming around Britain’s coast, to the solar plants strung out across southern Spain, to an ambitious proposal to cover parts of the Sahara with solar panels, billions are being poured into myriad projects. As national governments scramble to meet the targets agreed by the EU — to produce 20% less carbon dioxide, improve energy efficiency by 20% and increase renewable energy to 20% of the energy mix — investors and their advisers are getting to grips with a rapidly evolving sector.

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Home rule: Romania

Home rule: Romania

International firms in Romania don’t just face a weakened economy, they also face stiff competition from a host of major domestic rivals. Legal Business analyses a market in flux

Entering a new jurisdiction is never easy. On top of the start-up costs, the need to establish a strong team of local lawyers and a solid client base, there is also the tricky matter of timing. It can take up to two or three years of planning before you are finally able to put that new city onto your law firm’s website. By which time, the market that so attracted you in the first place might have altered drastically.

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Voyage of discovery: Portugal

Voyage of discovery: Portugal

The downturn in Portugal’s economy means that overseas markets, including Africa and Brazil, have become an even more valuable source of work for the country’s law firms

Since Portuguese sailors began exploring the West Coast of Africa almost 600 years ago, the country has forged a reputation for venturing into new, overseas territories. Today, the countries of lusophone Africa and Brazil provide manifold investment opportunities for Portugal’s major corporates and their advisers.

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Nordic rivals

Nordic rivals

As Finnish firm Roschier hires yet another partner in Stockholm, Legal Business reports on how world events and regional rivalries have transformed the approach and strategies of the Nordic legal profession

Rivalries are rarely more intense than the enmity between the Finland and Sweden ice hockey sides. Sweden took the plaudits in the recent Winter Olympics with a straightforward 3-0 win, but when it comes to legal market superiority, the Finnish have clearly roughed up the Swedes.

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Waltzing on

Waltzing on

Austria’s banking system was rocked by the near-collapse of Hypo Group Alpe Adria and its resulting nationalisation. Legal Business looks at the law firms called in to save the country’s sixth-largest lender, and the lucrative mandates picked up by Austria’s top legal advisers in response to recent events

For Austria’s law firms, it looked like party time when BayernLB acquired Hypo Group Alpe Adria (HGAA) back in 2007. HGAA was a top player in Balkan markets such as Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. BayernLB expected the profits to roll in and HGAA’s IPO was eagerly anticipated. Continue reading “Waltzing on”

Time for change

Time for change

With some of the cornerstones of Swiss identity – banking and secrecy – under threat, the country’s law firms are caught up in the maelstrom. LB uncovers how Switzerland’s conservative legal community has been responding to the upheaval.

Switzerland recently encountered its most significant period of economic turmoil, and its lawyers are right on the front line. Although the consequences of the financial backlash were largely kept at bay through government intervention, hitherto unknown banking and investor losses were recorded. Continue reading “Time for change”