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The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa

Now available: The Legal 500 EMEA 2014 in print and ebook formats (for iPad, iPhone and Kindle)

The Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa 2014 results are now live. The full in-depth, comprehensive analysis of law firms in 64 jurisdictions is available to view at www.legal500.com now - no registration or fee is required. The research can also be downloaded as a country-specific .epub or .mobi-formatted eBooks – ideal for use on Kindle, iPad, iPhone and Android/Blackberry readers. The Legal 500 EMEA eBook series provides easy, immediate access to the rankings and accompanying editorial, used by 4 million individual users each year, including 2.5 million corporate counsel.

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The Legal 500 Historical Data: historical rankings and analysis

Now available: The Legal 500 Historical Data – a new interactive service available exclusively to commercial partners. The site contains historical rankings from 2008-2013 from The Legal 500 United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. Users are able to manipulate the raw data to produce and download reports including comparing and contrasting your firm with your peers and competitors, and customising data which can be used in pitch documents and RFPs. Visit www.legal500.com/historicaldata for more information.

Germany

GERMANY

Germany’s M&A market has been stable and active at a relatively modest level, but with US investors capitalising on improved borrower conditions for takeovers in Germany, lawyers are optimistic about the market in 2014. Concurrently with this, the implementation of Basel III is expected to lead to an increase in distressed M&A. In banking and finance, lawyers remain busy with loan refinancings; large-cap transactions have reached an unprecedented level of complexity. In capital markets, the space has been characterised by aborted or postponed IPOs. Lawyers have also been busy advising clients on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

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France

FRANCE

The mood is grey in the City of Light these days despite most law firms reporting a small rise in turnover for 2013. Transactional activity is in steady decline and some believe the French market will never be the same again; it is now accepted that overseas deals – notably the African market – are the new transactional drivers for French law firms.

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Spain

SPAIN

The legal market in Spain is displaying resilience despite the country’s debilitated economy, and saw significant movement in 2013. Among the headlines, Baker & McKenzie strengthened its corporate and finance teams with the hire of a nine-partner team from Ramón y Cajal Abogados; Clyde & Co and White & Case LLP made striking entrances to the market, capturing talent from DAC Beachcroft LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP respectively; and Irwin Mitchell sold its Spanish offices to Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo. International mergers saw Salans become part of Dentons, and SJ Berwin become part of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin.

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South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa remains a jurisdiction of considerable interest for the international legal community, with the market experiencing yet more change. Routledge Modise became part of the Hogan Lovells global practice in December 2013, and earlier in the year Webber Wentzel entered into an alliance with international firm Linklaters LLP; these developments followed Baker & McKenzie Johannesburg’s entry into the market in 2012 and Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa (incorporated as Deneys Reitz Inc)’s move in 2011. With the global legal market’s focus on growth economies and resource-rich states, South Africa is becoming an increasingly attractive target.

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UAE

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates bordering the Persian Gulf of which the larger two, Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi, are important centres for local and international law firms. The attractions of these two cities to some 60 corporate law firms, half of which have offices in both, lies in the perception that the UAE provides the most stable political base for targeting the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets. The Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), which was established in 2004, has all the characteristics of an offshore financial centre.

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Portugal

PORTUGAL

The €6bn recapitalisation of Portugal’s banking system has now concluded for all institutions except Banif. Vieira de Almeida & Associados advised the Portuguese state throughout, with Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, Garrigues and Linklaters LLP acting for banks at various points in the process.

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Sweden

SWEDEN

With the notable exception of activity in media and telecoms, Sweden’s transactional market remained otherwise rather static with few signs that it would return to pre-financial crisis levels. No Swedish IPOs were completed successfully in 2013, with work on the equity side mainly consisting of potential and aborted public offerings, and completed private placements. Reflecting the relative lack of new instructions, banking and finance matters included a significant proportion of restructurings for distressed or struggling companies, and insolvency and dispute resolution departments were kept busy with the fallout from massive bankruptcies such as those of Saab and HQ.

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Greece

GREECE

The Greek economy may remain in turmoil, but for the country’s largest law firms business has been relatively buoyant. Foreign investors are seeking bargains in the market, which has spurred corporate activity. Meanwhile the government’s privatisation programme, as conducted by the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (HRADF), and the recapitalisation and consolidation of the banking sector, as overseen by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), have generated considerable activity. The shipping market has also responded to the improved global economic climate, and shipping lawyers report a revival in ship financings and newbuilds, adding to the refinancings and disputes which have dominated the practice area in recent years. This uptick in maritime work has been good news for several of the UK law firms in the market, such as Norton Rose Fulbright, Watson, Farley & Williams – Greek Branch, Ince & Co and Stephenson Harwood.

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Netherlands

NETHERLANDS

A fragile eurozone has contributed to a contracting Dutch economy and the government has instigated austerity measures. Against this backdrop, one of the jurisdiction’s largest financial institutions, SNS Reaal, was nationalised in 2013 as a result of its weak finances. However, the Netherlands’ position as a neutral country and its corporate-friendly tax regime means it remains an attractive market for international business, particularly inbound and tax-driven deals.

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Russia

RUSSIA

The ongoing changes to the Russian civil code, aimed at promoting the use of Russian law as a basis for transactions, remain a hot topic in the market, with Russian law firms having worked together in an attempt to influence the outcome of the debate in the hope of boosting the attractiveness of Russian law to businesses. English law is currently widely used as it is viewed as a reliable basis for the enforcement of parties’ rights. The most prominent Russian firms have enhanced their English law expertise through associations with international law firms, and have also been able to recruit high-profile English-qualified practitioners.

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Polond

POLAND

Growing frustration with the waiting game in the Polish energy sector, as the government delays in issuing new guidance, led to the exit of two international energy companies from the market in 2013; Iberdrola and Dong Energy withdrew from the market, with PGE and Energa acquiring the Polish assets of both companies. There has also been a flurry of activity in the private healthcare market, including BUPA’s acquisition of the Lux Med Group, by way of international auction.

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morocco

MOROCCO

Casablanca continues to serve as an effective base of operations for a number of international firms with business in North Africa and the wider continent’s francophone countries. Baker & McKenzie Maroc SARL is one of the market’s most notable recent entrants, following its hire of former August & Debouzy lawyer Kamal Nasrollah in 2012.

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Switzerland

SWITZERLAND

Geneva and Zurich are the key legal centres of Switzerland, with Basel, Berne, Lugano and Lausanne also featuring prominently. Zurich, the country’s largest city and its financial centre, is home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. Geneva, in the French-speaking west, is the location of choice for many international organisations for arbitration and litigation.

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Press releases

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Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • Austria/Malta: Schoenherr advises Oesterreichische Volksbanken on sale of Volksbank Malta

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Österreichische Volksbanken-AG (OeVAG) on the sale of its fully-owned subsidiary Volksbank Malta Limited to Malta-based Mediterranean Bank plc. On 11 April 2014, OeVAG and Mediterranean Bank signed a Share Purchase Agreement for 100% of the shares in Volksbank Malta. Closing shall take place after the required approvals of the relevant regulatory bodies are received. read more...
  • Austria: Stefan Kuehteubl new head of Employment practice at Schoenherr

    Stefan Kuehteubl will join Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as a partner and the head of the firm's Employment practice as of July 2014. A highly-regarded employment law practitioner, Kuehteubl will be returning to Schoenherr, where he previously worked as a member of its employment team between 1999 and 2004. During the past ten years, he worked in a well-known Vienna-based employment law boutique, in which he was a partner since 2008. read more...
  • Proud to continue charitable donations in 2014

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  • New Swiss Law on Product Safety

    The Swiss law on product safety ( Produktesicherheitsgesetz, PrSG) is currently scheduled to enter into force on July 1, 2010. This new law aligns Swiss product safety requirements with EU law. It applies not only to manufacturers, but to anyone who commercially or professionally markets products in Switzerland, and it introduces substantial new obligations before and after the sale of a product.
  • Chambers Global has once again recognised Pepeliaev Group's tax practice as the best in Russia

    The Chambers Global 2014 international ratings have hailed Pepeliaev Group's tax practice and the firm's managing partner Sergey Pepeliaev as Russia's best in the area of taxation (band 1 and Star Individuals). Commentators describe Mr Pepeliaev as "the father of Russian taxation." He has an outstanding reputation in tax litigation, for which he is said to be "absolutely brilliant." In addition, Chambers Global  lavishes praise on Rustem Ahmetshin (band 2), one of the firm's senior partners, who has considerable expertise in areas such as VAT and audit advice. Chambers Global sources commend Pepeliaev Group partner Valentina Akimova (band 3) as a "smart tax specialist." She has significant experience in a wide range of tax matters such as VAT, income tax and excise duties. Sources recommend Andrey Nikonov (band 3), another senior partner in the firm, as an authority on VAT, mineral extraction tax and unified social tax.  Chambers Global also rates Mr Nikonov highly for his experience in resolving tax disputes advising on the tax aspects of M&A transactions.
  • DHIR & DHIR ASSOCIATES ADVISES NATIONAL HOUSING BANK ON THE TRANCHE- II OF PUBLIC ISSUE OF TAX FREE

    Dhir & Dhir Associates advised National Housing Bank, wholly owned by Reserve Bank of India, on the Tranche- II of public issue of tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with benefits under Section 10(15)(iv)(h) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, aggregating upto Rs. 1,000 Crore.
  • WHAT CANNOT BE DONE DIRECTLY CANNOT BE DONE INDIRECTLY ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT

    In a recent landmark judgment of the Hon'ble Andhra Pradesh High Court in the matter of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd. (DCHL) & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors ., the Hon'ble Court has laid down an important principal of law to the effect that SARFAESI Action can be taken by an assignee/ successor in interest only if the original lender had SARFAESI power.
  • DHIR & DHIR ASSOCIATES ADVISES NATIONAL HOUSING BANK ON THE PUBLIC ISSUE OF TAX FREE BONDS AGGREGATI

    Dhir & Dhir Associates advised National Housing Bank, wholly owned by Reserve Bank of India, on the public issue of tax free bonds in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with benefits under Section 10(15)(iv)(h) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, aggregating upto Rs. 2,100 Crore.
  • Angel Buzalov from “Popov & Partners” has participated in “Legal Day 2014”of GBICC

    On 20.03.2014 was carried the first part of the annually organized forum "Legal Day" of German-Bulgarian Industrial Commercial Chamber. Representatives of the leading legal companies in Bulgaria and industry representatives also took part in the event.
  • “Popov & Partners” took part in the consultations organized by the German-Bulgarian Industrial C

    On 24.03.2014 a meeting of the Advisory Board "Law" of the German-Bulgarian Industrial Commercial Chamber (GBICC) was held. The event was attended by representatives of the business as well as lawyers from major law firms in Bulgaria, including the law firm "Popov & Partners."