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Petya Murgova, managing partner

Managing Partner Petya Murgova unravels how “Murgova and Partners” Attorneys at law has reshaped its services in order to meet clients’ changing needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate “Murgova and Partners” Attorneys at law from your competitors?

Murgova and Partners is a rapidly growing legal firm with a high impact on the legal processes in Bulgaria. The main features that distinguish us from other law firms in Bulgaria and abroad are the tailored and integrated services we offer to our clients and the individual approach to each particular case. Our legal firm is highly recognizable in all courts of law due to our professionalism and original approach to legal issues. Due to our experience and impressive court success rate, clients prefer our legal services when challenging the imperfections and instability of the Bulgarian legal system ensuing, amongst other things, from the frequent amendments to material and procedural law.

Our main landmark is the talented and experienced legal team, devoted to providing effective, practical and timely services with a principal focus on the specific needs of our clients. In the modern corporate legal world, this individual approach is what differentiates us from other large law firms. Because of our outstanding personal commitment our legal practice has successfully combined the advantages of a “boutique” law office with those of a corporate firm. This allows us to interact with each client on another deeper level and better identify the most appropriate legal techniques in resolving a particular case.

In addition we have created a large network of associated lawyers and legal advisors covering the jurisdictions of most European countries, Asia and the US. Through this functional network we can provide legal assistance to our clients on an international scale.

Another pillar of our unique legal services is the alternative we offer to the clients in terms of dispute resolution techniques. Based on our preliminary assessment of each particular case and depending on the strength of the clients’ position, we provide them with the option to settle the dispute through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration and court proceedings.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

In addition to the traditional M&A and investment practices which will steadily grow in the country, due to Bulgaria’s continuing integration in the EU family, we expect that the focus in the next 12 months will shift towards the sectors of IT, digital banking and energy. Personal data protection, consumer and trade secret protection are also practices which will develop in order to meet the high standards set by leading EU countries.

We also expect that the upcoming BREXIT will inevitably have a significant impact on the endeavors of British business in Bulgaria. Although the full consequences and effect of BREXIT cannot yet be clearly predicted and identified, it is certain that potentially a large number of companies will need to reassess their business strategies in order to meet the new economic and political realities. These will have repercussions on the necessity of introducing new and complex corporate structures in order to mitigate the potential risks arising from the changing EU map. Under these circumstances, new needs will emerge for an integrated and in-depth legal, financial and tax analysis. Through our one-stop-shop service, Murgova and Partners will be able to provide a comprehensive risk assessment and restructuring strategy to its clients.

Another practice area which is gaining momentum in Bulgaria is Alternative dispute resolution. Although the Bulgarian Mediation Act has been in force for over 10 years now, mediation has not quite yet been established in the country. However, this method for dispute resolution is becoming largely popular in the past 2-3 years and discussions for amendments to legislation introducing mediation as a prerequisite for court suites are currently under way. We expect that this will trigger a high interest in mediation and its affirmation as an innovative and preferred tool for dispute settlement.

Taking into account these recent developments, we have established the Balkan Association for Dispute Resolution (BADR) together with partners and legal experts from 9 Balkan countries. This will allow our clients to benefit from the flexibility, cost and time efficiency mediation has to offer.

What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Our participation as founders and members of the Balkan Association for Dispute Resolution allows us to provide assistance to clients in dispute resolution not only in Bulgaria and the Balkans, but internationally. Based on our close cooperation with top legal experts covering virtually identical scope of services in their home countries, the coverage of our marketable services now spans across 140 million people.

Although our own network in both Bulgaria and abroad is impressive, it is not the limit. Through our exclusive partnership agreements with global financial and tax service providers, we are able to use their grid connections worldwide allowing us to be of service to our clients far beyond any geographical restrictions.

As part of our innovative approach to the developing legal market, Murgova and Partners has established strong exclusive partnerships and other forms of cooperation with globally renowned companies, specialized in other sectors such as corporate finance, accounting, audit and tax. This allows us to offer integrated and overall solutions to clients. It is our belief that in order to be competitive in the fast-paced and ever-changing day of our millennium, our corporate clients need to have access to a flexible and efficient legal services which takes into account and analyses all aspects of a transaction.

On the technical side, we have recently introduced new state-of-the-art server defences which guarantee the security and confidentiality of client correspondence, files, information and documentation.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

As a modern legal firm, which observes the technological achievements of our age, Murgova and Partners has introduced and installed top-shelf software products allowing us to be in constant communication with clients wherever they are.

Each client and case has a separate electronic file, giving fast and comprehensive access to documentation and correspondence. Our servers are maintained by leading IT specialists in Bulgaria ensuring the security of the uploaded information.

A majority of our corporate clients are based abroad and communication is almost entirely online. Fortunately, Bulgarian legislation has been trying to take account of the interactive ways of the modern world and most state and municipal authorities accept electronic documents and files. This allows us to complete most tasks without the client’s presence, which in turn adds to time and cost efficiency.

We use specialised legal software, independently accounting for billable hours and providing a swift, accurate and comprehensive report for the services rendered to the client.

Through live chats and video conference calls we are able to discuss with clients the issues at hand, carry out negotiations and deliver legal opinions, without the necessity of the parties’ physical presence. In the contemporary world this is undoubtedly a must.

We have also developed detailed Power Point presentations covering the most common legal issues, which can be provided to clients directly or in the form of interactive seminars, thus displaying an overview of the legal matters in question. This has proven to be an excellent technique especially in kick-off meetings and preliminary consultations.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

One of our more recent successful projects was related to the acquisition by one of our clients of over 300 acres of land in Bulgaria. The client, a Bulgarian SPV company, ultimately owned by a foreign investor, assigned us the task of carrying out a detailed due diligence procedure on the Target properties and planning the transaction structure and strategy. Our extensive due diligence exercise clarified legal issues related to the regulation of the land plots. Further, the financial due diligence of the Seller, carried out by one of our audit partners, identified significant accounting and financial risks related to a potential direct share purchase of the Seller company.

Based on the full due diligence, carried out by our team, we advised the client to proceed with an asset transaction (rather than a share acquisition) and further negotiate with the Seller taking into account the regulation issues unravelled in our report. After extensive negotiations and taking into account our findings, the purchase price related to the transaction was decreased by more than 40%. Our team was able to prepare and finalize the deal within the short deadlines, posed by the parties and completion took place in late December 2016.

Our legal services proved to be highly efficient, with the client expecting a significant return on his investment in the next years.

Murgova and Partners has been the leading legal counsel in public procurement procedures providing legal advice on regulatory compliance to various clients, especially in the sector of Healthcare and Life Science. Our legal expertise has ensured that public procurement procedures are carried out in the most appropriate and efficient manner and meet the legislative requirements, which ensures the mitigation of potential future legal risks. Further, we have successfully protected our clients’ interests in high-profile cases of competition law violation.

We have assisted a number of clients in mediation procedures which proved to be extremely effective in resolving seemingly dead-lock situations. These procedures were completed with the parties reaching viable and mutually acceptable solutions. In addition to resolving the issues at hand through the mediator skills of our team members, we were able not only to sustain the business relations between the parties but also create prospects for further cooperation.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three year's time?

Our experience has led us to believe that clients are always looking for a complex service, which covers all aspects of their business model. Clients rely on our expertise in order to make educated business decisions taking into account the various legal, financial and economic factors involved. This means that our legal assistance cannot be limited to the literal interpretation of the applicable legislation but has to offer working strategic solutions. We strive to provide an in-depth legal (and through our partners – financial) service, which has the potential to form the building blocks of the client’s successful business strategy.

The trust we earn through providing efficient legal services allows our clients to feel comfortable and stable in an emerging market.

We are confident that in the next few years Murgova and Partners will consolidate its position as a leading full service law firm and become a preferred legal partner to both foreign and domestic clients. . By committing to our clients and offering them the best, "Murgova & Partners" Attorneys at Law aims not only to earn trust but also to establish long term partnerships.

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