Legal market overview
Turkey is a market of huge promise which is currently dominated by inbound and domestic-only mandates, although much-reported political instability and civil unrest have tempered enthusiasm for cross-border investment and led law firms and businesses to adopt a wait-and-see strategy. Currently, there is little outbound work and the market’s restrictions – including limits on law firm size and the fact that foreign law firms may not practise Turkish law – have inhibited the number of international firms entering Turkey (the last entrant was Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, which is now known as Locke Lord Edwards). The main areas of activity continue to be large deals involving the domestic banks and state-owned conglomerates, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors, with the telecoms, FMCG and life sciences sectors also seeing a steady, if not prolific, flow of deals.
Big-ticket mandates are dominated either by local firms with foreign associations – Balcioglu Selcuk Akman Keki and Esin Attorney Partnership, member of Baker & McKenzie International being notable examples – or the established, traditional family names exemplified by the multi-partnership offerings of Hergüner Bilgen Özeke, Pekin & Pekin and Paksoy. Given that Turkey has, according to various tables, the second or third highest number of lawyers in the world, it is perhaps unsurprising that these players face a sizeable number of younger competitors which have often broken away from the very same firms – Kolcuoglu Demirkan Koçakli and Bezen & Partners being notable examples.
In a market where boutiques are relatively rare, highly regarded exceptions are BTS & Partners, which has a niche in technology, and Boden Law, which focuses on the energy sector. Combinations are equally rare but that between Bener Law Office and Davutoğlu Attorneys at Law in September 2014 reinforced the already well regarded banking and finance practice of the former.
Firms in the spotlight
ADMD/Mavioglu & Alkan
ADMD / Mavioglu & Alkan is a full service boutique law firm focussing on foreign investments. ADMD is preferred by corporate and individual clients having sophisticated corporate and financial transactions and complex dispute resolution proceedings that require a more personalized and attentive approach. ADMD also serves as a preferred hub for new investors entering into Turkish market since it supports its clients directly or with reliable referrals for related non-legal services such as virtual office formations, outsourced accounting, bookkeeping and support for tax submissions.
Aksan Law Firm
The Aksan Law Firm was established in 1984 in İstanbul. Since then it has grown to become one of the largest and most pre-eminent law firms in Turkey, with more than 80 lawyers, consultants and other professionals. Aksan provides legal services to a broad spectrum of local and international clientele. Aksan Law Firm has established offices under Aksan name in the UK (London), Kazakhstan (Almaty) Azerbaijan (Baku), Georgia (Tbilisi), Japan (Tokyo) and established strategic presence in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Russia (Moscow).
Bener Law Office
Bener Law Office was founded by Erim Bener in 2001 and has grown to its current size through careful selection of partners, associates and support based on strong ethics, technical excellence and a business-minded approach. The firm’s growth has been driven by the needs of its clients, which include many leading international and local companies, as well as the opportunities in the market.
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