With an economy heavily driven by technology and communications, Estonia’s legal market has seen relatively less impact from the Covid-19 pandemic than other countries. Although of course the economy remains vulnerable, with a downturn in major transaction financing due to investor wariness, export-oriented technology companies are seeing an uptick in work requiring licensing and copyright transfers. Commercial real estate transactions have been very badly hit, although the residential side has not been strongly impacted. The service and hospitality sectors have been hit hard, with low-paid workers particularly affected; there has been a concurrent increase in legal work involving forced leave and salary reductions, and a general increase in employment disputes. Commercial disputes have also seen growth, with conflict over how to interpret contracts in light of Covid-19.
After a slowdown in March, financing transactions have picked up, although the market is still sluggish. Fintech and cryptocurrency continue to experience relatively strong growth, with technology investment proving fairly resilient. There has been an uptick in work relating to distressed transactions, and firms are expecting an increase in restructuring and refinancing. The financial supervisory authority has become more active recently in investigating internal policies and procedures, with prominent anti-money laundering and corporate malfeasance cases. The tax authorities, however, have been more reluctant to bring cases to court with a resulting drop off in tax disputes. The legal market remains stable, with powerhouse firms including Cobalt, Ellex and Sorainen.