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Legal market overview
Despite local reports of renewed momentum in corporate transactions, the air of uncertainty which hangs over Serbia’s economic and political stability has increased the difficulty of getting deals across the line. Headline transactions included KKR’s acquisition of leading pay-TV and broadband provider SBB from Mid Europa Partners; the privatisation of national airline Air Serbia; and Telenor’s share purchase of KBC Bank.
Serbia’s leading bracket of law firms is clearly defined by three domestic leaders: Karanovic & Nikolic; Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic o.d.; and, more latterly, BDK Advokati/Attorneys at Law. These firms compete with a small contingent of international firms for top-end work: Petrikic & Partneri AOD in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz; Harrisons Solicitors; Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr; and Law Office Miroslav Stojanovic, in cooperation with Wolf Theiss.
The market is also home to a large number of smaller specialist firms, in many cases the product of partners breaking away from larger counterparts. The most recent of these are Bojovic & Partners / Attorneys at Law, which was established by Marija Bojović, former senior and name partner of BDK Advokati/Attorneys at Law; DBP Advokati, formed by lead corporate partners from Karanovic & Nikolic and Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic o.d.; and, at the tail-end of 2013, Zavisin Semiz Law Office, which was opened by two partners from Petrikic & Partneri AOD in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz and one from Harrisons Solicitors. These new, hungry firms will further intensify the level of competition in the legal market, in which reports of low-balling and fee-dumping are not uncommon.