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Austria > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
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Legal market overview
Two notable consequences of the financial crisis are visible in the Austrian legal market and have informed the flow of work: firstly, the volume of contentious work has increased and is keeping many law firms busy and, secondly, regulations have been tightened in a number of areas and financial supervision has been increased. This has led to a steady flow of mandates, especially on the compliance side and particularly for banking regulatory, tax and employment practices. The economic climate has also created a stage for large restructuring cases such as the Hypo Group Alpe Adria case, which remains a prominent theme of the Austrian market, and M&A transactions as corporates continue to sell non-core assets. Private client practices have been affected by changes to tax legislation with the effect that private foundations have lost their appeal and firms have been shifting their focus towards other forms of asset protection, such as trusts and family holding structures.
The rise in instructions for smaller, more flexible law firms continues to be a trend and has led to the establishment of a number of specialised boutiques. Perhaps the most notable move was in the dispute resolution arena. Wolf Theiss’ former head of arbitration Florian Haugeneder and Bettina Knötzl left the firm together with former counsels Katrin Hanschitz and Axel Thoß in January 2016 to found dispute resolution boutique Knoetzl Haugeneder Netal. Changes in other practice areas are no less noteworthy. Axel Reidlinger, formerly head of competition law at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, founded Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte GmbH together with Gassauer-Fleissner’s co-founder Hanno Schatzmann. Founding partner and media lawyer Christoph Leon left Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH to work independently. Competition lawyer Christian Mayer and energy expert Thomas Starlinger also left Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH in February 2015 to found Starlinger Mayer Rechtsanwälte GmbH. Rudolf Pendl and Gerald Mair established IP boutique Pendl Mair Attorneys at Law after leaving Zeiner & Zeiner. Brauneis Klauser Prändl Rechtsanwälte GmbH rebranded as bkp Rechtsanwälte.
Firms in the spotlight
Lugger | Bankler
Lugger | Bankler is a modern, independent Austrian business law firm. The firm provides clients with personal, individual and efficient legal advice to the highest professional standards. The firm advises national and international commercial entities, as well as public institutions in the areas of business and commercial law. It also advises private clients on commercial issues. The firm’s major practice areas are corporate, M&A, commercial, banking and finance, and dispute resolution. Further it focuses on environmental law and energy law.
The In-House Lawyer
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Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market
Weighed down by political unrest and slowing economies, energy and infra projects look like one area to be driving
the CEE economy. Can the shale revolution power up
Click here to read the feature.
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Most recently, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator has taken significant steps towards the full liberalisation of the natural gas market: In December 2016, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator adopted legislative amendments to the Rules for Trading of Natural Gas ( Правила за търговия с природен газ , " Trading Rules ") and the Rules for Access to the Gas Transmission and/or Gas Distribution Networks and the Natural Gas Storage Facilities ( Правила за предоставяне на достъп до газопреносните и/или газоразпределителните мрежи и за достъп до съоръженията за съхранение на природен газ , " Access Rules "). Moreover, it adopted new Rules for Balancing of the Natural Gas Market ( Правила за балансиране на пазара за природен газ , " Balancing Rules "). read more...
Even at first blush, it is apparent that arbitration and insolvency make strange bedfellows.
In an aim to simplify state administration and support economic growth, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new law abolishing the registration fee and the publication cost for incorporating limited liability companies (" LLC ") ( korlátolt felelősségű társaság ), limited partnerships ( betéti társaság ), general partnerships ( közkereseti társaság ), and sole entrepreneurships ( egyéni cég ). The new law becomes effective on 16 March 2017. read more...
Policyholders of unit-linked life insurance products pay an agreed sum for the unit-linked insurance to the insurance company, as a regular premium, or in one lump sum. These payments cover the life insurance component as well as the investment, administrative costs, contracting fee and the commissions. The "total cost charged" ("TCC") is an indicator – calculated in line with the rules of Hungarian insurance regulations – showing all costs charged on life insurance policies having a savings element, reflected as a percentage value. The regulation of the TCC in Hungary has been amended effective 1 January 2017. read more...
On 7 March 2017, the Hungarian parliament adopted a law that increases the minimum sale price of a residential property in the enforcement procedure from the current 70% of its market value to 100% (market value to be understood as the price set by the appraisal of the bailiff), provided that (i) the claim to be enforced stems from a consumer contract; (ii) the real property is the debtor's only real property; and (iii) the debtor resided in that real property for at least six months prior to the initiation of the enforcement procedure. read more...
Legislative vacuum filled: Czech Republic introduces comprehensive new national legislation on e-cigNew legislation regulating e-cigarettes in the Czech Republic entered into force on 1 March 2017, introducing specific safety and quality requirements on e-cigarettes in the country for the first time. read more...
The amendment aims at alleviating the existing regime for pricing of pharmaceuticals for home treatment of chronic, genetic and/or rare diseases and paid by the National Health Insurance Fund ( NHIF ). It affects the interests of individuals with health insurance and the activities of more than 290 authorisation holders, of the wholesalers of pharmaceuticals, and of pharmacies (as retailers). read more...
2016 has seen a surprising level of deal activity in the (private) Austrian hospital sector: in Vienna, PremiQaMed, a 100 % subsidiary of UNIQA insurance group, acquired a 75 % stake in the renowned private hospital "Goldenes Kreuz", and the hospitals Hartmannspital and St. Elisabeth announced a merger to form the new "Franziskus" hospital. In Linz (Upper Austria), the "Elisabethinen" and the hospital operated by the Sisters of Charity agreed to combine to form a regional player with approx. 1,200 beds. read more...
On 16 December 2016, the Council of the European Union announced agreement on its negotiating stance in relation to the proposed regulation amending the European Venture Capital Funds (" EuVECA ") Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 345/2013) and the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (" EuSEF ") Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 346/2013), which is now at the European Parliament's ECON committee, scheduled to be voted on, on 22 March 2017. On 31 January 2017 the call for expression of interest for selecting a fund manager of the Pan-European Venture Capital Fund-of Funds closed; and tax incentives for venture capital and business angels are expected to be proposed in the course of 2017 to foster investment in SMEs and start-ups, close the funding gap and thereby remove obstacles to economic growth in Europe. read more...
Most start-ups are founded by first-time founders directly after graduation, with the founding team consisting, also in most cases, of not more than two members. Such founders are naturally not equipped for all of their business challenges. Founders thus often make mistakes, especially at the very beginning of their activities, e.g. in relation to developing and distributing their products, when and how to raise capital and developing or moving into new markets. read more...
Schoenherr Bratislava has advised the Albéa group ("Albéa") on the acquisition of 100 % of the shares in SCANDOLARA TUB-EST, s.r.o. ("Scandolara"), a Slovak subsidiary of the Italian Scandolara Group, which produces laminate tubes. read more...
On Friday, 2 September 2016, the Austrian Finance Minister has given the green light to finance a public offer by Kärntner Ausgleichszahlungs-Fonds (KAF) to HETA creditors pursuant to § 2a of the Austrian Financial Market Stability Act. The offer will implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded in May 2016 between the Austrian Minister of Finance and a significant number of creditors of debt instruments issued by HETA ASSET RESOLUTION AG (HETA) that are subject to a regional law deficiency guarantee. The offer will be published by KAF on Tuesday, 6 September 2016. read more...
Schoenherr advised an international banking consortium comprising Commerzbank Ak-tiengesellschaft (technical lead), Barclays Bank plc, Crédit Agricole CIB and CaixaBank SA as Joint Lead Managers on the successful issuance of a EUR 500 million fixed-rate mortgage covered bond ( Pfandbrief ) by Vienna-based Erste Group Bank AG (closing date: 9 September 2015). The bond was placed with institutional investors and listed on the Second Regulated Market of the Vienna Stock Exchange. read more...
Austria: JUVE confirms Schoenherr's leading role in Austrian legal market and among corporate/M&A prJUVE, the premier German-language legal business publication, ranks Schoenherr as the leading law firm in Austria and recognises the firm's Corporate/M&A practice for being at the very apex of the country's transactional practitioners . In the newly-released 2015 edition of its annual 150-page handbook on corporate law firms in Austria, JUVE identifies Schoenherr as having generated the highest revenues among the country’s 15 largest law firms, thanks not least to Schoenherr's advisory role in a large selection of the headline transactions and restructurings during 2014/15. read more...
Austria: Schoenherr advises Allianz Capital Partners on its first acquisition of wind parks in AustrSchoenherr advised Allianz Capital Partners (ACP) on its acquisition of four wind parks in the Austrian state of Lower Austria from ImWind, one of the country’s largest wind farm operators, with a portfolio of 320 MW in operation. read more...
Schoenherr has advised UNION Investment Real Estate GmbH, one of Europe's leading property investment management companies, on several prominent real estate acquisitions that the Hamburg-based group has made in Vienna. In addition to space2move, Schoenherr has also advised UNION Investment. read more...
Schoenherr advised Cimpress N.V., a world leader in mass customization, on its acquisition of Druck.at, one of the leading web-to-print businesses in Austria. The transaction, which was announced on 18 March 2015, closed on 17 April 2015 following the successful achievement of various closing conditions including Austrian antitrust clearance. The acquisition supports Cimpress’ strategy of building a software-enabled operational platform that aggregates and optimizes the supply chain and production of mass customized products such as signage, printing, apparel and promotional products. read more...
Schoenherr has been recognized as " South East Europe Law Firm of the Year " (2015) by the renowned legal publisher Chambers and Partners . Schoenherr lawyers Monica Cojocaru (partner; Bucharest), Miloš Laković (partner, Moravčević, Vojnović & partneri OAD in cooperation with Schoenherr; Belgrade) and Marko Prušnik (partner; Ljubljana) accepted the award on behalf of the firm at the Chambers Europe Awards event held this past Friday evening at Amsterdam’s Hotel Okura. read more...
Leon Kopecký has joined Schoenherr, a leading full-service law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, as Counsel in March 2015. Mr Kopecký focuses on international commercial and investment arbitration, international litigation, and compliance matters. His clients are international firms in the construction, raw materials, infrastructure, finance, fashion and health care industries. He regularly advises clients on complex investment matters. read more...
Vienna, 16 January 2015. Business law firm Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners (fwp) advises UniCredit Bank Austria AG on the multi-stage structured sale of the real estate portfolio it holds via Immobilien Holding GmbH. read more...