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Editorial

Legal market overview

Venezuela continues to experience grave economic difficulties and these have only been exacerbated by the global drop in oil prices, adding to the fiscal pressure on the Maduro administration, which, holding to the socialist agenda of the Chavez period, has reacted with ever more state-interventionist policies. These, in turn, have led many foreign investors to avoid Venezuela or withdraw their investments. Foreign exchange controls make cross-border transactions difficult, and price controls affect almost every economic activity. The resulting shortages in food and other basic necessities have led to political protests and increasing black market activity, leading to even more pressure on the government.

The crisis is also affecting the legal market. Many law firms are following the example of commercial companies by downsizing. Finance and M&A practices in particular are suffering from a drop in transactional activity, and there is widespread pressure on fee rates. On the other hand, the crisis has also led to increased demand for legal services in areas such as public law, tax, labour, and dispute resolution, as clients seek advice on how to cope with increasingly demanding regulation and tax laws, as well as assistance with downsizing and layoffs and help with disputes, where cost-effective arbitration and mediation are particularly sought after.

The four leading full-service law firms remain Baker & McKenzie SC, D’Empaire Reyna Abogados, Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque and Norton Rose Fulbright; which achieve high rankings in almost every practice area. There has been relatively little movement in the market in terms of law firm mergers, spin-offs, and lateral partner hires. Notable exceptions are the merger of WDA legal, S.C. with tax boutique Fraga & Viloria, S.C.; the move of public law expert Alejandro Gallotti from Torres, Plaz & Araujo to Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque; and the move of arbitration expert Marcos Carrillo from Lloan & Asociados to Araquereyna. In light of such challenging economic conditions, it is unsurprising that few law firms are investing; to some degree the legal market is in a suspended mode and awaits better times.

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  • New Industrial Property Law

    The Industrial Property Law abrogating the patchwork of decrees that governed intellectual and industrial property rights has been published in the Official Gazette and entered into force on January 10, 2017.
  • Cross-shareholding Rules and Dividend Tax Exemptions Clarified

    19 Apr 2017 at 04:00
  • Labour E-Contract

    On 13 December 2016, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLS) of the State of Qatar Read more..
  • Privatization of Domestic Coal-Fired Power Plants in Turkey

    The privatization tender of Çayırhan-2 coal reserve area and the construction of a coal-fired power plant project (“Çayırhan-2 Project ”) was concluded on February 6, 2017, which has been the first of the new wave of privatization of coal reserves and construction of lignite coal-fired power plants in Turkey in line with the recent incentives regarding utilization of domestic coal reserves for electricity generation. This client alert outlines the main novelties in relation to this new wave of lignite-fired power plant tenders, which is expected to continue with several other privatizations in 2017 as explained below.
  • Important Changes to the Electricity Market Licensing Regulation

    On February 24, 2017, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (“EMRA ”) published a Regulation (“Amending Regulation ”) containing important changes to the Electricity Market Licensing Regulation (“Licensing Regulation ”), including the removal of the share transfer restriction at the pre-license period for transfers to foreign companies and foreign-capital companies, and changes related to the Renewable Energy Resource Areas (“YEKA ”). Highlights of major changes are as follows:
  • The New ICC Arbitration Rules

    As of 1 March 2017, the new Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (“New ICC Rules ”) have come into effect and superseded the former version of the ICC arbitration rules, which have been in effect since 2012.
  • Information law for company participants – the search for a balance of interests

    At the present time, in various legal relationships there exists the acute problem of observing a balance of interests concerning the parties involved in these legal relationships, their legal rights, and their mutual economic needs. Judicial practice, when considering disputes between these kinds of parties, takes into consideration not only the formal requirements of legislation, but also the real economic and legal goals and interests of the participants.
  • Cyprus: Changes To The Inheritance Process Under European Succession Regulation 650/2012

    The growing importance of cross border successions within the European Union and the difficulties and complications resulting from the diversity of succession and private international law rules relating to succession, prompted the European Commission to examine the possibility of introducing a Regulation that would facilitate and streamline cross border successions.
  • A fight against corruption by the proposed introduction of Criminal Record Certificates for Companie

    Due to existing problems with regards to companies competing for the undertaking of public projects, on the 28 th  September 2015 the Cabinet decided to give an end to the scandals involving the squander of millions of public money by approving an amendment Bill, which would add to the conditions for public tenders, the requirement of providing a Criminal Record Certificate for legal entities. Until today, this was not required due to gaps and loopholes in the existing Law. Provided this Bill will be passed into Law by its publication at the Official Gazette of Cyprus, companies applying for public tender will be asked to produce a certificate that would show they have a clean criminal record.
  • Innovation & Thailand 4.0: Value Creation for Business using Trade Secrets

    Thailand 4.0 stands for the new stage to transform the country currently relying on heavy industries (3.0 stage) into a creativity and innovation-driven economy. Trade secrets are definitively value-based and could help pursing Thailand 4.0.

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