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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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Bulgaria > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Legal market overview

Bulgaria’s economy remained sluggish in 2016, resulting in a flat M&A market and the ongoing suspension of many infrastructure projects, but lawyers are optimistic, given signs of renewed interest in the real estate sector, particularly from overseas investors, and investment in SMEs by the European Union’s Jeremie fund initiative. There is also growth in private equity funding for start-ups – Sofia has the third largest start-up market in Europe after Dublin and London – and the banks remain well capitalised, having passed recent stress tests.

This year sees the introduction of a new Healthcare and life sciences ranking to reflect growing legal expertise in what is a thriving industry in Bulgaria. The majority of global pharmaceuticals companies and many niche players are represented in Bulgaria, which also has a busy clinical trials sector.

The legal market is fiercely competitive, comprising a handful of large domestic firms and an abundance of smaller two to three-partner practices with valuable expertise; Bulgaria is one of the few CEE jurisdictions where domestic firms still dominate the market. However, regional CEE heavyweights CMS, Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova), Wolf Theiss and Peterka & Partners Law Firm all have a presence in the country.

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