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Estonia

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Editorial

Legal market overview 

Estonia has an active financial sector, in which Scandinavian institutions dominate traditional banking. As such, the merger between Nordea Bank and DNB was a key market development. The country has a growing start-up business sector, which is prompting an economic shift away from traditional credit financing and towards venture capital as well as crowdfunding. The local fintech space is also buoyant, attracting interest from foreign investors. The Estonian government is looking to keep pace with these developments by planning an audit of its commercial legislation.

Estonia is implementing new EU directives into its Public Procurement Act and is also adopting a more aggressive approach towards condemning corruption, fraud, cartels and unfair competition. Combined with the concentrated nature of the Estonian market, these developments have spurred white-collar crime and antitrust disputes.

The real estate and construction sector experienced an increase in developments and transactions, resulting from a particularly high demand for retail, office and residential properties. Transport was another area of activity. The Estonian ferry business was effectively nationalised when the state-owned ferry operator Port of Tallinn beat a private company in a domestic ferry service tender. Additionally, the latest Rail Baltica project agreement was signed by government and railway organisations from the three Baltic countries, moving forward the construction of a three-way infrastructure connecting the Baltics with Poland and Germany.

In April 2016, Tark Grunte Sutkiene / Varul underwent a significant restructuring, which resulted in a merger between legacy firms Varul and Tark Grunte Sutkiene, as well as a loose cooperation with the law firm Tark. Moreover, Derling, headed by Hannes Vallikivi, split off from the original Tark Grunte Sutkiene and now functions as an independent law firm. There were further spin-offs, with Indrek Teder leaving Glikman Alvin & Partners to found Teder Law Firm and former Sorainen partners Urmas Volens, Andrus Kattel, Veikko Puolakainen and Kristjan Tamm establishing boutique firm Nove. Due to its new partnerships in Latvia and Lithuania, Aivar Pilv Law Office rebranded itself as Leadell Pilv.

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