Cobalt is particularly strong in constitutional and administrative law cases, with managing partner and practice head Lauris Liepa regularly acting before the Court of Justice of the European Union and also the European Court of Human Rights. Recent work has had a particular focus on matters arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and the fundamental rights of businesses, as well as issues surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. The team is also known to handle disputes connected with construction, banking, tax, IP and competition. In addition to being active in litigation, international arbitration is another strong point, with Ģirts Lejiņš being a noteworthy name within this field. Other names to note include tax disputes specialist Sandija Novicka and Ugis Zeltins, who focuses on EU and competition-related matters.
Dispute resolution in Latvia
‘COBALT team was exceptional in working with the LGBTQ issues. We can also say that they were brave in taking a clear stand for equality, diversity and LGBTQ rights in the environment, which is still partly hostile towards the LGBTQ issues.’
‘Managing Partner Lauris Liepa is one of the most respected lawyers and attorneys in Latvia. He is one of the top constitutional rights and human rights lawyers in Latvia. His expertise is valued in professional, academic, political and policy fields.’
‘The team is very professional and is focused on achieving goals. The team is able to quickly connect to legal challenges, which are very important to us, given that the legal proceedings in which we are involved are dealt with in short terms.’
‘Mr. Lauris Liepa is a high-ranking expert on constitutional rights. We have long years of cooperation. His knowledge and legal analysis of the situation helped greatly.’
‘The practical experience, technical strength and strategic insight of their lawyers is unmatched. From the very first meeting I felt very well informed and supported – on a human level, in terms of my rights and in terms of what settlement would be workable and fair. Highly recommended.’
‘Lauris Liepa was able to decipher the complex technicalities of the case immediately and his professional skills were exemplary throughout the process. I thoroughly cherished the experience of working with him.’
Riga International Airport
Olympic Entertainment Group
Public Broadcasting Media
Central Election Commission of Latvia
- Represented Saeima, legislator of the Republic of Latvia, before the Constitutional Court regarding the compatibility of administrative-territorial reform with the Constitution and the European Charter of Local Self-Governments.
- Represented an Italian citizen who lives in Latvia before the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to accessibility of state financed medical care to an economically inactive foreign national.
- Represented Swiss company Produktech Engineering AG in a case regarding the confiscation of the allegedly illegally acquired funds in the Commercial Court of Latvia.
Ellex is a market leader for white-collar crime cases, with its team's expertise including matters involving allegations of bribery, money laundering, fraud and embezzlement; Daiga Zivtiņa has a first-rate reputation in this space. She co-heads the practice with Andris Lazdiņš, who also focuses on white-collar work, particularly in relation to anti-money laundering issues. Elsewhere, Ilga Gudrenika-Krebs specialises in real estate and construction disputes, while Jevgenijs Salims is an expert in contract disputes and Irina Kostina is a go-to adviser on procurement and tax issues.
Other key lawyers:
Ilga Gudrenika-Krebs; Jevgenijs Salims; Irina Kostina
‘I really appreciate the work and final product delivered to us during our cooperation. Strong knowledge of laws and local regulations and high level professionality bring excellent results.’
‘Strong knowledge of EU law, great attitude towards the client – including out-of-the-box thinking, where the traditional solutions would not apply.’
‘Jevgenijs Salims has proved himself to be an expert in his field – provided us with a strong, knowledgeable and wide range of legal support in litigations concerning EU law.’
‘We have a criminal case running with over 2500 victims and we managed to set up a fairly automated process to handle all victims. Ellex has been flexible in adding juniors to the team to perform the remaining administrative tasks. They were very clear on billing from the beginning and respect their budgets. They are also clear about which steps do or do not make sense for us to take.’
‘First to mention is that all enquiry to the staff of the law firm is always answered and handled with care and professionalism. if there are question from the client that need to be clarified according to procedure and law they always reply. I find them accurate in timeframe, the know the law and they go for the aim of the client, always with the frame of law.’
‘We are primarily working with the team lead by Andris Lazdins. He is an excellent lawyer, who is responsive, attentive bringing value in complex difficult cases.’
‘Short response times even for requests at short notice. Clear and easy-to-understand answers to the (legal) questions asked, right to the point.’
‘We appreciate the timely feedback, the very good quality of services, the assessment our of chances of success. The law firm is not pushing to appeal all the decisions rendered by court without proper evaluation of the case.’
Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, S.A.U.,
Goodyear Dunlop Tyres Group
Bitum Petrochemical Industries Ltd.
Les Bergeries de Palombaggia
Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG
Verus Praedum (IKEA)
- Represented the Ministry of Finance in unique legal proceedings brought by Latvian state companies and institutions against the former shareholders of AS “Parex banka”.
- Representing more than 2500 local and international private investors as victims in the criminal proceedings for alleged fraud and embezzlement against a major alternative investment (P2P/P2B lending) platform.
- Representing Intrum Latvia in two related litigation cases on collection of a debt based on the court judgment and registered court-imposed restrictions to alienate several valuable real estates.
Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns operates under the leadership of the renowned litigator Agris Bitāns, who has over 20 years of experience handling both Latvian and European cases, including precedent-setting matters. His expertise spans commercial, civil, contract and criminal law. Bitans recently acted for REAP and Possessor before the Court of Appeal in connection with a €142m claim against Parex Bank’s former shareholders. Ilze Kramiņa is skilled in matters involving real estate, construction and environmental law issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘The overall impression is very good and we appreciate how customers’ time and money are saved. It is important to us that the Law Office offers a full service (including organization of expert examinations in the Baltic States, availability of specific experts in the Baltic States, conducting experiments, etc.). ‘
‘The support staff of the firm is large enough to prepare everything requested and necessary in a very timely manner and to ensure that the information is collected independently and in detail.’
‘Agris Bitāns is recommended for his accuracy, timeliness and communication with a client at a time and in a way which is convenient to the client,.’
‘Professionality, fast response, result-oriented’
‘The team was good in communication. For example, immediate replies and confirmations in e-mail correspondence.’
‘Individuals I had cooperated with were trustful and well motivated to do even more than duty demands.’
‘Eversheds Sutherland Bitans are an outstanding “local” firm with an international viewpoint.’
LLC REAP and JSC Possessor
AS Valmieras stikla šķiedra
Compensa Insurance Group
Rīgas Piena Kombināts JSC
Salaspils Municipality Council
SIA “VGD Project”
- Advised REAP and Possessor in connection with a €142m claim against Parex Bank’s former shareholders regarding civil liability for representations and warranties.
- Successfully representing LLC LatRosTrans in one of Latvia’s most complex cases, where the Belarusian company Druzba brought a claim against our client and requested to declare its ownership rights to technological oil located in a pipeline, amounting to 150,000 tons, and valued in excess of $100m.
- Representing LatRosTrans in a dispute regarding the VAT and excise tax paid by LatRosTrans for the excess loss of goods and (presumably) stolen amounts of petroleum products.
Cross-border disputes are a particular strong point at Sorainen, which acts for governments and investors in arbitration matters connected with bilateral investment treaties. Other areas of activity include procurement and public infrastructure projects, general commercial litigation, tax litigation and white-collar crime cases and tax litigation. Valts Nerets co-chairs the practice with Andris Tauriņš, who is focused on IP and TMT matters. Counsel Raivo Raudzeps is a key name for procurement disputes. Nauris Grigals was a new arrival in early 2022 from TGS Baltic.
Valts Nerets; Andris Tauriņš
Other key lawyers:
Raivo Raudzeps; Nauris Grigals
‘One of the biggest teams in the market capable of handling large-scale cases. A mix of skilled professionals with promising rising stars.’
‘Partner Valts Nerets has a hands-on approach and demonstrates strategic thinking.’
‘The team is fun to work with. They are professional yet relaxed and very easy to approach. They seem to have a good mix of experienced lawyers and new talent. They render solid advice in a timely manner. Valts Nerets is knowledgeable practical-minded and very responsive.’
Dassault Systemes SE / Dassault Systemes
SJSC State Real Estate
Sodrugestvo Holding Company LLC
Dasos Timberland Fund I
Linstow Group Company
Biolars Olaine Chemical Plant
Jysk Linnen’n Furniture
- Advising a multinational bank in a landmark case related to the legality of “veto” rights ofa financial investor’s.
- Representing an international digital services and software company in court regardingcriminal accusations of bribery and tax evasion.
- Representing JYSK, the largest Danish retailer operating internationally, in the Constitutional Court of Latvia regarding the fairness of Covid 19 restrictions.
Procurement disputes are a notable strength at TGS Baltic, which also excels in energy, tax, public, corporate and construction law cases. Managing partner Ivars Grunte, who leads the team, has a strong track record in corporate and commercial litigation, as well as arbitration cases. The team also features public law specialist Linda Štrause and Sandis Petrovičs, who is a key name for procurement and construction disputes. Agnese Hartpenga has carved a particular niche in the sports sector, having recently advised on an anti-doping dispute before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
‘The team at TGS Baltic is managed and trained to ensure availability and quick turnaround at all times. TGS Baltic is also very fast growing and expanding its business. To service on boarding of new clients and to meet increased workflow the firm has grown immensely during the last year, incl. according to the number of qualified specialists. If compared with other firms TGS Baltic stand out as more agile, convincing, practical and efficient.’
‘TGS Baltic has a winning team that has proved itself fighting disputes in courts. TGS Baltic leads by example demonstrating real steps taken to maximize sustainability and minimize negative impact on the environment, and ensure diversity of the team (including among partners).’
AS Latvijas dzelzceļš
Latvian Anti-Doping Bureau
Graanul Invest group
AS Enerģijas publiskais tirgotājs, (EPT)
CCC Riga Digital Services
Latvijas Balzāms AS
Public Utilities Commission
- Representing AS Latvijas Dzelzceļš in court proceedings against the Latvian Competition Council.
- Represented AS Enerģijas Publiskais Tirgotājs in 17 court cases in all court instances in disputes where companies producing electricity from wind energy sought to obtain higher purchase fees.
- Represented the Anti-Doping Bureau of Latvia in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FORT excels in real estate, construction and procurement disputes, where it advises both public and private entities. Practice head Sandis Bertaitis, who is highly skilled in the aforementioned areas, has expertise in both litigation and mediation. He is supported by senior associate Arturs Caics.
Other key lawyers:
‘Dynamic enviroment, good analytical and problem-solving ability.’
‘Sandis Bertaitis – good communication skills, strong care of quality, ability to make practical evaluation of the case.’
- Advised the Road Transport Administration during the Administrative Court proceedings concerning the requirements of the most notable public procurement in the field of national passenger services and regarding the compensations for losses incurred due to the unfavourable procurement results.
- Advised Cityparks Latvija in court proceedings in a dispute with Consumer Rights Protection Centre regarding terms and conditions of the short-term parking services, as well in the working group, which is organised by the Ministry of Economics in order to draft the regulations for short-term parking services.
- Advised SIA Rigas energija in the court proceedings regarding deprivation of the feed-in tariff rights as well in relationships with responsible state institutions concerning the issues related to the energy production.
Kronbergs Cukste Levin
Kronbergs Cukste Levin’s practice acts for clients in major liquidations, lease agreement disputes, insurance-related cases and contentious procurement matters, among many other areas. The practice is led by Vineta Cukste-Jurjeva, who has expertise in civil and administrative litigation, and has a strong track record in precedent-setting cases. She counts the European Central Bank as a key client. Valters Kronbergs, who has particular strengths in international arbitration, is another name to note.
Other key lawyers:
European Central Bank
Piena Trading Business
The Payment House
OU Paljassaare Laevaremont
VILGERTS has one of the most active dispute resolution teams in the aviation sector and is the port of call for AirBaltic on a number of contentious issues. Construction is another core area of focus for the practice, particularly in relation to construction defects and performance issues. Elsewhere, other areas of expertise include insurance, transport and shipping law. Managing partner Gints Vilgerts leads the team along with Jānis Kubilis. Julija Jerneva is also a key name.
Other key lawyers:
‘They are very efficient and thoughtful.’
‘Good analysis of the situation. Proper reflection on the course of case strategy. Proper disclosure of the situation to the client.’
‘Gints is an excellent professional, always striving to provide best services to his clients. I can confidently recommend his services to my clients.’
‘People – team work, great strategy proposal and successful execution from their side with positive outcomes for the client.’
‘Gints Vilgerts – great strategy proposals and different case vision how it could be seen from the first vision.’
Baltijas Sporta Auto (Porsche) SIA
Cream Finance AS
If P & C Insurance AS
Air Baltic Corporation AS
East Capital Real Estate AS
State Environmental Service
Riga City Real Estate Department
AS Conexus Baltic Grid
Interfood Polska Sp. z.o.o.
Rimi Latvia SIA
VALMIERA GLASS GROUP
Zaļā josta SIA
RADIO SKONTO, SIA
Egis Rail S.A.
SCANIA LATVIA SIA
Nordic Homes SIA
Ocala Global Limited
Cido Grupa SIA
SmartLynx Airlines SIA
Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur
Containerships – CMA CGM GmbH
Estera Development SIA
IuteCredit Europe AS
BGS ADR SIA
Siemens Healthcare Oy Latvijas filiāle
Latvijas Neredzīgo biedrība
- Acting on behalf of the State Environmental Authority in a dispute arising from a breach of contract by Skonto būve.
- Acting for AirBaltic in all major employment disputes, including disputes with trade unions.
- Advised East Capital on a construction dispute.
WALLESS (former Primus Derling)
WALLESS (former Primus Derling)’ disputes team excels in debt recovery matters and insolvencies, as well as shareholder disputes, construction and commercial agreements. The practice is jointly led by Mārtiņš MežInskis, who is an expert in financial restructuring and white-collar crime cases, and Sintija Radionova, who is also highly skilled in financial services disputes.
Mārtiņš Mežinskis; Sintija Radionova
Other key lawyers:
Konstantīns Teļakov; Igors Dambrāns
‘Very competent team with very high skills!’
‘Always there when needed!’
‘Hands on. Fast and clear communication.’
Alpha Shipping Company SIA
BTA Baltic Insurance Company AAS
DEPO DIY SIA
Havas Latvia SIA
Luminor Bank AS Latvijas filiāle
Luminor Līzings SIA
Santa Monica Networks
Škoda Vagonka A.S.
UCTAM Baltics SIA
Publisko aktīvu pārvaldītājs Possessor
Skonto Būve SIA
Private individual Dina Zuzāne
- Representing BHM group in ownership dispute of Latvia’s pharmaceutical giant AS “Olainfarm”
- Assistance to Depo DIY in securing a record-high insurance payment.
- Representing Luminor Bank AS Latvijas filiāle and its subsidiaries on a regular basis in various litigation cases.
BDO Law is highly reputed for construction disputes, particularly in relation to procurement, contested payments, negligence and quality issues. Other areas of expertise include disputes concerning finance, competition, tax and real estate. Vita Liberte and Janis Zelmenis are the co-heads of the practice.
Vita Liberte; Jānis Zelmenis
‘Very professional team. Here, each team member knows exactly what to do.’
‘High competence level, communication in client’s language, even if the language might change (latvian, russian, english).’
Daniela Rutman, Ilan Rutman
- Advised Tilts on a civil lawsuit against the Daugavpils City Council and an associated construction project company concerning public procurement matters.
- Represented Altumin several complex civil litigation cases in a dispute against previous shareholders of Parex banka – one of the biggest Latvian banks that due to losses resulting from unjustified transactions in the 2008 financial crisis almost led to bankruptcy procedure.
- Advised Cointer Concesiones on a public procurement dispute against the state concerning the construction of The Kekava Bypass.
Insolvency disputes are a particular forte at LEADELL Vītols, whose team also excels in matters involving construction and procurement issues. The practice is led by managing partner Karlis Vitols, who has extensive experience of handling large-scale debt recovery proceedings, and Ilze Jankevica, who is notably strong in administrative proceedings.
Karlis Vitols; Ilze Jankevica
‘They are excellent professionals who manage to keep things easy and understandable for “non-legal-speaking” clients, even in super complicated moments, which I find extremely important. They have been very accessible during all the pandemic restrictions and open to providing all kinds of digital/remote solutions.’
‘I have most experience with Ilze Jankevica and Karlis Vitols. Both are exceptional professionals with a noticeable amount of passion for what they do.’
‘Karlis Vitols has exceptional skills in dispute resolution and negotiations.’
Amazonen Werke H. Dreyer GmbH & Co. KG
NAFA Europe B.V.
- Represented NAFA Europe B.V. in civil, insolvency, and criminal proceedings regarding loan recovery of over 4 million euros.
- Represented Amazonen Werke H. Dreyer GmbH & Co. KG in proceedings regarding trademark infringements by Latvian company.
- Represented Frequentis in the Procurement Monitoring Bureau and the Administrative court regarding competition on delivery, installation, and support for specific equipment and software worth over 3 million euros.
NJORD Law Firm’s disputes team is highly active in insurance disputes, where it acts for insurance companies and insured entities. Other areas of expertise include shipping and transport, insolvency proceedings and intellectual property. Sergei Petrov leads the group.
‘You can be sure that any significant and sometimes even less significant assignments are performed by senior stuff with extensive proven experience – something you can rarely expect in bigger firms. At the same time the hourly rates the rates and the bills are smaller.’
‘Sergei Petrov – Highly experienced. Great negotiator.’
COFACE (Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur)
GUSTOPHARMA Consumer Health, S.L.
OLA Overseas Liner Agencies AB
Kuehne + Nagel
LITRES GLOBAL S.A.
NORDLINE COMMUNICATIONS L.P.
PEOPLE WORK COWORKING
BALTIC TRAVEL GROUP
Vide Infra Group
- Representing COFACE in a court dispute with Joint-stock company “TRASTA KOMERCBANKA” in liquidation
- Representing Kuehne + Nagel in a court dispute against IF Insurance regarding damages in the amount of €2m
- Advised Alexei Kutiavin on a court dispute with the administrator of insolvent PNB bank against former board and council members of the bank to recover damages.
Rödl & Partner
Rödl & Partner has an excellent record representing clients in civil and administrative proceedings. One of the names to note at the firm is Lauris Rasnačs, who advises on competition and IP matters. He co-heads the practice with Dace Driče, who focuses on employment issues. Esmeralda Balode-Buraka is a new arrival who formerly worked in-house at Latvijas Gāze, and as such, is highly skilled in matters involving the energy sector.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team all speak and write good English, providing translation services when needed. Communication was via Microsoft teams, telephone or email and was all very clear.’
‘We had one point of contact, other than billing. That being Dr Lauris Rasnacs. He made handling a dispute in another country very easy and clear as to steps to take.’
Rodl & Partner SIA
Clark Warehousing Limited
AJ Power SIA
STOCKHOLM SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS IN RIGA”
Elme Messer Metalurgs SIA
- Representing Wald Energie in court proceedings against a former member of the board for recovery of damages.
- Representing Rödl & Partner SIA in proceedings before the European Court of Justice concerning the interpretation of the EU AML directive.
- Achieved Clark Warehousing Limited on the settlement of a dispute on non-delivery of goods, as well as litigation process initiation and handling process with the bailiff.
Skrastins & Dzenis
Skrastins & Dzenis has a notably strong reputation in shareholder disputes. Also notable is that its other recent work included matters involving competition and real estate issues. Verners Skrastins, who is an expert in litigation and arbitration, leads the practice. He works with Vigo Krastiņš, who specialises in bankruptcies and insolvencies, and Andrejs Gulajevs.
- Advised a private individual on a dispute regarding exercise of rights of first refusal and pre-emption.
- Advised former board members of the insolvent Parex banks in a dispute for joint and several recoveries of damages.
Šķiņķis Pētersons is a niche dispute resolution boutique that represents clients in proceedings at the administrative courts, as well as the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Matīss Šķiņķis is an expert in administrative and civil proceedings, as well as constitutional law matters. Like Šķiņķis, Mārtiņš Pētersons also focuses on administrative and constitutional law cases, with notable strengths in public law and human rights issues.
‘Firm’s lawyers are experts in administrative and constitutional law litigation. Not many other firms can provide expertise in these matters.’
‘Very robust and in-depth approach, personal passion to win cases. Team is well equipped with all necessary IT technologies, billing and task descriptions.’
‘Passion to win cases, willing to achieve justice.’
‘Very competent and professional team, flexible and quick in its activities. Fast to react, but more importantly – proactive in advising the best solutions.’
Latvian Football Federation
Public Utilities Commission of Latvia
Local Governments of Latvia
- Representing Rimi Latvia in court dispute with neighbour, who has placed various illegal buildings on a land plot of Rimi Latvia and thereby hindered construction works.
- Advised Severstal Distribution in the administrative proceedings in the State Revenue Service and are representing the client before all instances of administrative courts.
- Represented a same-sex partner family in the Constitutional Court of Republic of Latvia in case which has become the landmark case on same-sex partner rights in Latvia.
Magnusson has developed a growing reputation in the market since the establishment of its Riga office in 2019. Its contentious work spans areas such as debt recovery and loan agreements, fraud, tax and construction. Managing partner Matīss Rostoks is highly skilled in corporate and tax matters. Senior associate Artūrs Ševčuks is another key individual, as is associate Adele Pužule.
Other key lawyers:
Artūrs Ševčuks; Adele Pužule
‘In our cooperation experience with Magnusson Latvia, the team has proven to be highly professional and trustworthy. The lawyers are responsive, legally knowledgeable and commercially-oriented.’
‘Managing partner Matiss Rostoks is a talented litigator and stands out with strategic thinking and an exceptional eye for detail. Matiss’s strengths include knowing the Latvian market and having strong management skills in cross-border projects.’
‘Matīss Rostoks is very quick to react to any enquiry. What makes the team of Magnusson Latvia so great is that the core of it continuously stays together and mostly the same people head projects in the same teams.’
‘Magnusson Latvia stands out due to the fact that the firm has always put an emphasis on fostering new legal talent.’
‘Although we do not have a lot of experience in working with law firms, this practice of working together with Magnusson was enjoyable, effective and exceptional. Online communication, which was more preferable in the current situation, was as effective as on-site communication, which shows the company’s excellent organization and flexibility.’
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal handles administrative and commercial disputes for both private and public companies. Litigator Benno Butulis and corporate partner Janis Lagzdinš jointly lead the team, which benefits from the firm’s association with the PwC consultancy arm.
Attīstības finanšu institūcija Altum
Rīgas Tehniskā universitāte
LIEPĀJAS AUTOBUSU PARKS
- Advised LU Invest on a multijurisdictional investment dispute.
- Represented the University of Latvian in a dispute with the state, achieving the reversal of a decision by the Cabinet of Ministers not to confirm the elected rector of the university in his position and achieving his subsequent confirmation.
- Represented the government-backed investment institution in litigation against a private fund for the recovery of investment.
ZAB Deloitte Legal
ZAB Deloitte Legal's is active in a number of key workstreams, including disputes involving tax, employment, commercial contracts and consumer protection issues. Practice head Maris Liguts has expertise in both domestic and cross-border litigation and arbitration.
‘Quick response time and price per value.’
ZAB “Deloitte Legal”
Flying Academy s.r.o
VALEO AUTOKLIMATIZACE, k.s.
- Represented Sanistal in a case on the recognition of work performed free of charge by a board member for several companies as being a gift, and the recovery of such a gift from the companies as losses that had been incurred by the client.
- Represented the interests of BASF against the Consumer Protection Center decision on the admissibility of advertisements with good commercial practice.
- Represented Enefit and changed the court practise in relation to termination of employment relationships with employee having physical disabilities.