Event Report

On 16 October 2019, The Legal 500 hosted the inaugural GC Summit: South East Europe in Sofia, Bulgaria.

With over 130 of the region’s leading in-house lawyers participating, the event underscored the region’s importance as a hub for international businesses and their advisers.

With investments led by EU development funds, a strong labour force and high external investment, various measurements of economic performance point towards growth and progression for countries within South East Europe.

While this naturally creates opportunities, organisations operating in the region are still mindful of balancing the accompanying risks and challenges. To ensure the Summit’s content reflected the needs of businesses, we drew on the wisdom and advice of South East Europe’s legal community. A number of the region’s senior in-house counsel with extensive experience provided thoughts, suggestions and comments on the panels and sessions for discussion.

The event also benefited from the support and insight provided by some of the leading law firms, namely, Penkov, Markov & Partners, Nagy és Trócsányi, Cerha Hempel, Pekin & Pekin, Chrysostomides and JPM. In addition, senior figures from national supervisory authorities, consultancies and innovative technology companies active in the region gave perspectives from their respective area of expertise, adding further depth to the discussions.

Over the course of eight sessions, the Summit covered the most topical issues among in-house lawyers in South East Europe, including data protection and cyber security, anti-money laundering, the challenges of managing cross-border M&As, artificial intelligence tools, how technology is driving the future of the legal profession, and key leadership and management skills.

Please scroll down to see the panel sessions in full and photos of the event:

Opening remarks

Vladimir Penkov, Penkov, Markov & Partners
Ivailo Danov, the Bar Association

Understanding and overcoming data protection and cyber security challenges


Nikolay Cvetanov, Penkov, Markov & Partners


Ivan Milosevic, JPM


Zeynep Şener, Pekin & Pekin

Ventsislav Karadjov, The Commission for Personal Data Protection

Vihren Slavchev, Mnemonica JSC

Preventing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and financial crime


Ioanna Sapidou, Chrysostomides


Özge Okat, Pekin & Pekin


Asen Apostolov, Penkov, Markov & Partners

Albena Rasheva, Eurofast

Zdravko Raichev, 4finance Bulgaria

Cross-Border M&A Dynamics and Trends


Yegân Liaje, Pekin & Pekin


Chryso Pitsilli-Dekatris, Chrysostomides


Zeynep Şener, Pekin & Pekin

Dr. Péter Berethalmi, Nagy és Trócsányi

Alexey Tarasov, ABC Global

Presentation: Legal work in the future – an AI tool for due diligence

Presented by

Nemanja Stepanović, JPM



‘Going Digital’ how technology and digitalisation is influencing the future of the legal profession


Hans Kristoferitsch, Cerha Hempel


Kalojan Georgiev, Colibra


Konstantin Djelebov, Phyre

Livia Dumitrescu, Vodafone Romania

Gabriela Popescu, Microsoft Romania

Presentation: Legal work in the future – Law Firm 2.0

Presented by

Rumyana Yordanova, Penkov, Markov & Partners


Gabriela Hristova, Penkov, Markov & Partners

Keynote: Multi-dimensional Leadership

Presented by

Alexander Balabanov, Dynamix Lab

General counsel 2.0

Co-moderated by

Vladimir Penkov, Penkov, Markov & Partners


Gligorije Brajkovic, UniCredit Bank Serbia


Dr. Péter Berethalmi, Nagy és Trócsányi


Kristina Krantcheva, CM Consulting


Iliana Byanova, First Investment Bank

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