Legal market overview
According to OeNB and IMF forecasts, Austria’s economy is expected to pick up gradually throughout 2015. The aftermath of the financial crisis continues to provide law firms with a steady flow of mandates, especially on banking regulatory, white-collar crime and financial issues. Matters relating to the restructuring of Hypo Group Alpe Adria remain a dominant theme in the larger banking practices. The effects of the EU sanctions against Russia are already being felt in the real estate, construction, banking and private client practices. Equity capital markets have been quiet but there remains investor appetite for debt products. M&A has been dominated by strategic deals with low private equity participation as corporates sell non-core assets and merge. Austria remains a popular venue for arbitration and, significantly, a stepping stone into Eastern Europe. Readers seeking guidance on law firms with good experience in Central and Eastern Europe should refer to the relevant Regional Summary chapter.
Generally, the greater cost-sensitivity of clients has led to a rise in instructions for smaller, more flexible law firms on increasingly complex mandates. Reflecting this trend, the Austrian legal market witnessed a number of significant developments. Perhaps the most significant was the establishment of Geistwert, an IP and IT boutique founded by former partners of Baker & McKenzie Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG, Gassauer-Fleissner and TaylorWessing e|n|w|c Attorneys at Law; the firms from which those lawyers departed now have to rebuild their practice groups. Other notable moves included Gerold Zeiler, a prominent arbitration and employment law expert, leaving Schoenherr to found zeiler.partners Rechtsanwälte GmbH. Ex-Wolf Theiss partners Clemens Schindler and Christoph Liebscher both left to establish their own firms. Rautner Huber Rechtsanwälte split up, with the two former partners going separate ways, and several partners have moved on from Gassauer-Fleissner.
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.
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