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One bright spot in the Albanian economy has been retail growth catalysed by the arrival of international supermarket chains. Other opportunities exist in infrastructure, mining, oil and industry – notably in the cement sector – but market growth overall is slow with investment appetite moderated by uncertainty arising from high interest rates, bad debt among national banks and frequent legislative amendments (particularly anti-corruption measures) since the incumbent government came to power in 2013. Greece and Italy are major trading partners.

Abundant hydropower resources account for 90% of the country’s electricity production.

The ranking is based on quality and scope of service. Therefore, a more narrowly focused practice may be ranked lower than a high-quality competitor with a broader base but may still be considered outstanding in its field.

Boga & Associates’ multidisciplinary group is underpinned by a tax and accounting offering in addition to its legal services and is one of few local firms with a foothold in significant international transactions. Alketa Uruçi and Jonida Skendaj assisted a joint venture between China Everbright and Friedmann Pacific Assets Management with acquiring shares in Tirana International Airport. Other recent work includes Sokol Elmazaj acting on behalf of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a bankruptcy dispute with a wealthy Albanian businessman. In another matter, Renata Leka and Elmazaj advised on the Albanian implications of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. Other names to note are litigator Gerhard Velaj and well-respected senior partner Genc Boga.

Partners of choice’ for some clients, the lawyers at Hoxha, Memi & Hoxha combine ‘a high level of service, professional relationships and timely responses’. Practice head Andi Memi is ‘an outstanding lawyer’, who has been advising Credins Bank on the establishment and licensing of the first privately owned stock exchange, securities registrar and clearing house in Albania. Associate Selena Ymeri is ‘confident and effective in pressing situations’; Shpati Hoxha and Eris Hoxha are the other partners.

Kalo & Associates has a strong team and stands out for its expertise in antitrust filings. Of counsel Sophia Darling, who is the key name for corporate and commercial work, is ‘highly efficient’. Managing partner Perparim Kalo and Eni Kalo lead the IP and commercial contracts department, which recently advised Google on the data privacy aspects of its Street View feature. Alban Caushi and Anisa Rrumbullaku joined CR Partners Attorneys at Law in 2017.

The Albania office of pan-CEE firm Wolf Theiss is staffed by one partner Sokol Nako and seven associates, who focus on serving international clients. The team is advising the EBRD on corporate governance reforms at state energy company KESH, as a condition of loans granted to it and the Albanian government. Denis Selimi is skilled in litigation and Kristaq Profkola advises on large corporate transactions.

Greek firm Drakopoulos Law Firm has substantial project-related experience. Together with Panagiotis Drakopoulos, team head Besnik Duraj recently acted for a local subsidiary of National Oilwell Varco in a dispute with a US-based oil extraction company. In another matter, they advised Hygeia Hospital Tirana on services agreements with healthcare and health insurance services providers.

Haxhia & Hajdari Attorneys at Law has a strong body of government clients, with Artan Hajdari’s background as president of the Court of Appeal and Vice-Minister for Justice and Maksim Haxhia’s experience as General Prosecutor underpinning the firm’s strength in the field; anti-corruption and general business crime are other areas of legal expertise. Eris Hysi handles corporate governance issues and advises on EU and competition law.

Energy-focused firm Optima Legal & Financial advises on large-scale regional projects on behalf of a wide-ranging client base including power producers, electricity providers, governmental agencies, public utilities and financial institutions. The team, which is led by Ilir Daci, is advising the government on redeveloping the legal and institutional framework for large gas infrastructure projects.

Flonia Tashko and Floran Pustina are the main partners at Tashko Pustina – attorneys, which is well known for its international arbitration and general litigation practice. The firm, which also maintains an office in Kosovo, acts for local emerging companies and is also involved in cross-border transactions for multinational enterprises.

Italian firm Tonucci & Partners’ Tirana office has a busy practice handling joint ventures and M&A, as well as transactions and disputes in the telecoms and financial services sectors. Artur Asllani and Neritan Kallfa are the names to note for corporate work and Enkelejda Muçaj is the key expert in patents, trade marks and copyright.

Bozo & Associates fields a 12-lawyer team which provides a full-service offering and is well-positioned to assist local clients with international ventures after joining Cathay Associates, a global network for boutique firms. Artan Bozo is the managing partner; other names to note are environmental expert Enida Zeneli and Ketrin Topçiu, who stands out for oil and gas work.

Gjika & Associates is known for its focus on the TMT and mining industries, with name partner Gjergji Gjika being particularly experienced in gaming law matters.

IKRP Rokas & Partners Albania caters for international clients with a focus on energy matters, real estate transactions and joint ventures. Oljon Kaso is the managing partner and senior associate Erjola Aliaj is well versed in company law.

Krenar Loloçi leads IP-focused Loloçi & Associates, which has a solid reputation for related litigation. Other strengths lie in providing foreign investors with local tax advice and advising on privatisation.

Enyal Shuke leads the multidisciplinary practice at ShukeLaw and is known for her command of corporate matters, real estate projects and international finance.

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