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Editorial

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  1. Legal market overview
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Macedonia’s bustling energy sector generated considerable work for lawyers throughout 2016; there has been an increase in M&A activity in the space, particularly concerning hydropower plants, while energy-related contracts are subject to greater scrutiny by the Competition Authority. Tourism, too, is on the rise, in part due to improved airport infrastructure, with an increasing number of passengers passing through the two international airports, but also as a result of the introduction of government subsidies for tour operators and the renovation of cultural sites.

The legal market has not been immune to the continued political uncertainty and has been impacted by the industrial action taken by court administrative staff in June 2016, which has caused subsequent delays. Smaller firms with a core focus on litigation have felt the brunt of the strike.

There are no international firms in the market due to Macedonia’s Bar restrictions, although Serbia-headquartered Local lawyers in cooperation with Karanovic & Nikolic and Slovenia-headquartered ODI Law have consultant offices in the country. Key local firms include Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska Attorneys at Law, which is one of the largest firms in Macedonia with a team of 20; Polenak Law Firm; Cakmakova Advocates; Lawyers Antevski; and Law Firm Knezovic & Associates.

At Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska Attorneys at Law, the team ‘responds promptly and understand client’s needs’. Recent highlights include handling an acquisition of a hydropower plant for Apave Macedonia, assisting Amadeus with purchasing domestic publishing company NMC and advising Actavis on its Macedonian corporate restructuring process. Managing partner Dragan Dameski is highly regarded.

Polenak Law Firm assisted new client Telekom Austria with merging its local subsidiary with another telecoms operator, and advised power company Aksa on gas distribution procedures and concession grants. Practice head Kristijan Polenak is highly regarded, focusing on banking and finance, and commercial, corporate and M&A matters, while Tatjana Popovski-Buloski is a dispute resolution, IP and consumer protection expert. New clients include Deutsche Bank, Johnson Controls, DS Smith and Delphi.

Lawyers Antevski advises a broad range of European clients. In one recent highlight, the team represented Bulgarian company Kopeks & Ko in a domestic dispute concerning a claim for damages for two trucks and a drilling machine amounting to almost €750,000. The firm also advised on the sale of an aircraft for the Serbian subsidiary of Russian bank Sberbank. Recent work in the IP space includes handling the registration and protection of trade marks for Greek food company Chipita. Zlatko Antevski is the name to note.

Cakmakova Advocates is ‘very well equipped in terms of personnel’. Practice head Biljana Cakmakova has considerable expertise in arbitration, IP, banking and finance, and energy matters; Olivera Grozdanovska has a strong reputation for corporate deals, bankruptcy issues and dispute resolution; and Vesna Gavriloska is experienced in M&A, competition, real estate and commercial mandates.

Georgi Dimitrov Attorneys’ name partner Georgi Dimitrov has a strong reputation for handling corporate governance disputes, commercial property developments, tax and employment issues. Katarina Ginoska’s practice covers energy, corporate and commercial law, and she is particularly well versed in international commercial contracts. Recent highlights include assisting a Swiss-American joint venture with acquiring the largest mine in Southeastern Europe.

Law Firm Knezovic & Associates has notable expertise handling project finance, as evidenced in its advice to TAV Macedonia regarding refinancing the new Skopje airport. The firm is also assisting the IFC with a concession project for two hydropower plant constructions. Managing partner Dejan Knezovic heads the three-partner team.

The team at Local lawyers in cooperation with Karanovic & Nikolic ‘delivers hands-on advice, even under time pressures, and possesses excellent industry knowledge’. Senior associate Leonid Ristev is part of a larger CEE-wide team, which is advising the IFC on a PPP scheme with the government to upgrade and maintain part of a motorway in Western Macedonia. Ristev also has notable expertise advising on merger control issues.

Recent work for ODI Law includes handling various issues for TAV Macedonia pertaining to Skopje airport. Gjorgji Georgievski advised a leading Arab fashion retailer on corporate matters concerning its Macedonian subsidiary, while Ana Stojanovska assisted a Serbia-headquartered retail chain with real estate, consumer and employment issues.

Law Office Pepeljugoski’s team stands out for its IP expertise, and regularly assists large global companies from the food and beverage, technology and telecoms sectors with managing IP portfolios. Name partner Valentin Pepeljugoski and Aleksandar Trajkovski are the key names; the latter advises NGOs, investment funds and energy companies on matters pertaining to company law.

At Popovski Law Office, Aleksandar Icokaev provides IP and corporate advice to local and international clients, while Biljana Slavkovska handles litigation, labour and family matters. Sports law is another area of expertise; the team has advised FK Rabotnicki on player contracts and transfers, as well as representing players before the National Football Federation and the disciplinary bodies of FIFA and UEFA.

Litigation specialist Natasha Trpenoska Trenchevska is a key name at Trpenoski Law Firm. The firm is also a popular choice for corporate and commercial matters, and regularly advises clients on corporate governance, establishing new companies and competition issues.

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