Legal Market Overview
The Georgian economy continues its rapid growth, having advanced 5.5% in the second quarter of 2018. Tourism has played a major role, with a considerable increase year-on-year. This has resulted in huge interest in the hospitality sector, where state and foreign investments are funding hotels and retail complexes. Construction of public infrastructure is also on the rise, with municipal projects widespread in Tbilisi and beyond. Georgia has been noticeably proactive in the renewable energies sector, and hydropower is an especially active field.
This year has seen the introduction of new PPP laws, spatial planning codes and environmental regulations to regulate the construction sector and align laws with EU standards. Although this may prove costly for development, there is an expectation that heavy regulation will provide a surplus of work for litigators. In addition, multiple reforms in the banking sector may yield the same result. Previously, only banks were regulated by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG), whereas new regulations implement compulsory registration at the NBG of non-banking organisations which provide the same services as banks.
Big changes have also been afoot in the legal market. Both Dechert LLP and DLA Piper Georgia LP have left Georgia, with the team from the latter transferring to Dentons Georgia LLC. This has further encouraged a substantial trend of new firms being established, often by partners who had been at one of the larger firms. The ‘Big Four’ are active on the market, and have been rapidly developing their legal capabilities to compete with both international and domestic firms.