Firm Profile > Bernitsas Law > Athens, Greece

Bernitsas Law
106 72 ATHENS

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 1

Bernitsas Law is, among other work, particularly active in the non-performing loans space, particularly advising buyers on NPL portfolio transfers. A notable highlight was representing Intrum Justitia on acquiring €1.5bn of diversified unsecured consumer loans from Eurobank, the first NPL transfer from a Greek systemic bank. Turning to more traditional financial work, the firm advised Astir Group, including its sponsors AGC Equity Partners, on a €265m bond loan to refinance existing debt for the refurbishment of the Astir Palace Hotel. Team heads Nikos Papachristopoulos and Athanasia Tsene enjoy excellent reputations, as does Panayotis Bernitsas.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Bernitsas Law 'stands out due to its excellent cross-border skills, which it blends skillfully with its excellent knowledge of local law, regulations and the local market'. Clients say their 'experience with the firm is akin to working with a top London firm' and it is 'capable of handling large-scale and complex due diligence and major transactions'. Notable highlights include advising Sealed Air Corporation on the Greek law aspects of the sale of its Diversey Care division to Bain Capital. The firm also advised Hellenic Healthcare on its €19.4m purchase of a 97% stake in the Athens-listed company, IASO General. Lambros Belessis and Nikos Papachristopoulos jointly lead the team of 'can-do' lawyers, which also includes the 'professional and experiencedEvi Kitsou.

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Bernitsas Law provides 'excellent and on-point advice on Greek law'. The 'very creative and pragmatic' co-head  Christos Paraskevopoulos 'understands the commercial context of a dispute and provides very suitable solutions'. His fellow practice head Dimitris Roussis is also extremely well regarded, particularly for administrative disputes, while Panayotis Bernitsas is highly experienced in arbitrations. Among the associates, George Atie  is 'one of the most committed lawyers' with 'solid experience both in civil litigation as well as arbitrations'. Evangelos Mamalakis is praised for his 'very good legal mind'. Recent highlights include advising Wind Telecommunications on a dispute with the Greek state over a contested exclusivity clause in its contract with the state concerning mobile telephony rights.

Energy Tier 1

Bernitsas Law is an ever-present feature on the domestic energy market, and is regularly involved in its largest transactions and projects. Recent highlights include advising the successful consortium on the purchase of a 66% stake in DESFA from HRADF and Hellenic Petroleum. On the projects side, the firm advised Gastrade on developing the Alexandroupolis Independent Natural Gas System Project. Yannis Seiradakis leads the practice, and Panayotis Bernitsas also enjoys an excellent reputation. Former practice head Yannis Kourniotis left the firm.

EU and competition Tier 1

Bernitsas Law has developed a superb reputation in this area, regularly handling merger clearances and cases before the Hellenic Competition Commission, as well as EU law issues such as public procurement. The firm successfully represented Hellenic Fuels on its appeal over the HCC's decision on alleged collusion with Shell. On the merger control side, it advised Hellenic Healthcare on the clearance for its purchase of a 97% stake in IASO. Newly-promoted partner Marina Androulakakis leads the team, which includes the highly experienced Panayotis Bernitsas and counsel Augustine Almyroudi.

Projects and privatisation Tier 1

Bernitsas Law is often first on the list for landmark projects and privatisations. Recently, it advised the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) on the privatisation of the National Train Operating Company, which was sold to Ferrovie Dello Stato. The practice also advised a consortium of bidders, including Transgaz and the EBRD, in the tender for a 66% stake in the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA). Key partners include Dimitris Roussis and Yannis Seiradakis, who jointly lead the privatisations team, as well as Nikos Papachristopoulos; while the project finance & PPPs team is led by Panayotis BernitsasYannis Kourniotis is now at Lambadarios Law Firm.

Real estate and construction Tier 1

Bernitsas Law regularly advises clients on cutting-edge deals, often at the intersection of corporate and real estate. Recently, the firm has represented several funds on multi-million Euro investments into Greece. The firm also advised HRADF on the public tender for the Castelo Bibelli hotel and residential project in Corfu. Highly rated managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas leads the team.

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 1

Bernitsas Law has an excellent team that is favoured by debtors and creditors.  Recently, it advised doBank on the establishment of a ground-breaking servicing platform for managing the the exposure of the four systemic banks to non-performing loans lent to SMEs. The firm also advised Cyprus Popular Bank on its divestment strategy, including the respective sales of Marfin Bank's Serbian, Ukrainian and Romanian businesses. Lambros Belessis and Athanasia Tsene jointly the team.

TMT Tier 1

Bernitsas Law has a top-notch practice, which handles regultory, transactional and disputes issues on behalf of its TMT clients. Recently, it advised Cyprus Telecoms Authority (CYTA) on its €118m sale of CYTA Hellas to Vodafone. The firm also advised Acun Media on the implementation of several content production agreements with Greek television broadcasters. Augustine Almyroudi leads the team, which includes recently-promoted partner Marina Androulakakis.

Employment Tier 2

Clients 'feel confident with the advice' they receive at Bernitsas Law, which has a strong team of lawyers who are 'always quick to respond to our demands, and willing to go the extra mile'. Katia Papantonopoulou leads the versatile group, which has recently advised on the employment implications of several major restructurings. Clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, BMW, Diesel and Crown Hellas Can.

Insurance Tier 2

Bernitsas Law has a large and expanding insurance group led by corporate head Lambros BelessisChristos Paraskevopoulos is recommended on the disputes side, while Evi Kitsou is highly experienced in regulatory issues. The firm's expertise covers regulatory, corporate, day-to-day advice and litigation. Major clients include AXA and CNP Group of Companies.

Intellectual property Tier 2

Bernitsas Law represents a broad mix of manufacturing, IT and pharmaceuticals companies on their contentious and non-contentious IP matters, including prosecutions, enforcement and licensing. Yannis Chryssospathis heads the team, which includes Lambros Belessis and the newly-promoted Marina Androulakakis.

Tax Tier 2

Clients rate the 'motivated, committed, responsive and value for money' team at Bernitsas Law. The group handles a good mix of advisory and contentious work, including customs claims and transaction-structuring advice. Panayotis Bernitsas leads the team, and the 'excellentFotodotis Malamas is 'always up-to-date with the latest developments of Greek tax law'.

White-collar crime Tier 2

Bernitsas Law represents corporate clients in corporate crime and fraud cases. This includes representing major international clients in cases involving alleged bribery, corruption and insolvency fraud. Christos Paraskevopoulos  is a certified fraud examiner, while partners such as Panayotis Bernitsas are also heavily involved in this area.

The firm: Bernitsas Law is a market leader in the provision of commercial law services in Greece and one of the largest firms in the country. We count industry front-runners, listed and private companies, supranational, global and national entities and corporations, and small and medium sized enterprises from all the major sectors among our clients.

We are leaders in the corporate, commercial and finance sectors, specialising in foreign direct investment, banking, capital markets, funds, energy, projects, privatisation and real estate transactions. We offer strong practices in employment, EU, competition & antitrust, intellectual property, data protection and privacy, public procurement and tax, as well as industry specific expertise in aviation, environment, insurance, life sciences and healthcare and telecommunications, media and technology. Our litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution practice is recognised for its track record in significant administrative, civil and commercial and corporate crime disputes, some of which have created precedents.

We continue to lead the legal market in the creation and development of a secondary market for Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), and have actively participated in the inception of and amendments to the existing NPLs framework, advising on the establishment of NPLs management companies and acting as counsel to international and domestic market players in connection with transfers of major NPL portfolios. We have also been extensively involved in the consolidation of the private healthcare sector by advising on the most recent acquisitions of prominent private hospitals. The firm holds a pre-eminent position in advising on complex legal issues and transactions in the context of new legislation enacted since the onset of the financial crisis in Greece. We have advised extensively on the recapitalization and restructuring of the Greek systemic banks in the context of the bank recovery and resolution legal framework and the further consolidation of the banking sector, as well as on new debt issuances and liability management exercises made by prominent domestic private issuers. Bernitsas Law has acted in all the major projects to have taken place in Greece, including the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, the Greek Motorways, and the pioneering Rion-Antirion Bridge and Athens Ring Road (Attiki Odos) projects, which opened the concessions market.

Bernitsas Law was founded in 1946 by Marinos Bernitsas and over the years, under the leadership of Panayotis Bernitsas, became a frontrunner in the Greek legal market. The firm has unrivalled experience in both benchmark and mainstream domestic and cross-border transactions. It has acted in many of the significant and often pioneering transactions to have taken place in terms of both complexity and value over the last three decades, which have resulted in the liberalisation of certain of the main industries, the privatisation of major State owned operators, the establishment of global brands in Greece and foreign direct investment in various areas of the economy, including in listed companies and in the project finance and real estate sectors. We continue to be at the forefront of shaping Greece’s legislative and regulatory framework and grow our areas of expertise and service offering to meet the challenges of domestic and international market developments.

Department Name Email Telephone
Aviation Katia Papantonopoulou
Banking, Finance and Capital Markets Nikos Papachristopoulos
Banking, Finance and Capital Markets Athanasia Tsene
Corporate and M&A Lambros Belessis
Corporate and M&A Nikos Papachristopoulos
Employment Katia Papantonopoulou
Energy and Environment Panayotis Bernitsas
Energy and Environment Yannis Seiradakis
EU, Competition and Antitrust Marina Androulakakis
EU, Competition and Antitrust Augustine Almyroudi
Human Rights Domna Mirasyesi
Insurance Lambros Belessis
Insurance Evi Kitsou
Intellectual Property, Data Protection and Privacy Lambros Belessis
Intellectual Property, Data Protection and Privacy Yannis Chryssospathis
Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Christos Paraskevopoulos
Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Dimitris Roussis
Life Sciences and Healthcare Yannis Chryssospathis
Life Sciences and Healthcare Ria Venaki
Privatisations Nikos Papachristopoulos
Privatisations Dimitris Roussis
Privatisations Yannis Seiradakis
Project Finance & Public Private Partnerships Panayotis Bernitsas
Project Finance & Public Private Partnerships Yannis Seiradakis
Public Procurement Dimitris Roussis
Real Estate Panayotis Bernitsas
Real Estate Nikos Vouhiounis
Tax Panayotis Bernitsas
Tax Fotodotis Malamas
Telecommunications, Media & Technology Augustine Almyroudi
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Augustine Almyroudi  photo Ms Augustine Almyroudi
Ms Marina Androulakakis  photo Ms Marina Androulakakis
Mr Lambros Belessis  photo Mr Lambros Belessis
Mr Panayotis Bernitsas  photo Mr Panayotis Bernitsas
Mr Yannis Chryssospathis  photo Mr Yannis Chryssospathis
Mr Dionysis Flambouras  photo Mr Dionysis Flambouras
Ms Anastasia Kaiara  photo Ms Anastasia Kaiara
Ms Christina Kalogeropoulou  photo Ms Christina Kalogeropoulou
Ms Fotini Karra  photo Ms Fotini Karra
Ms Sofia-Georgia Katrivesi  photo Ms Sofia-Georgia Katrivesi
Ms Evi Kitsou  photo Ms Evi Kitsou
Ms Sofia Kontou  photo Ms Sofia Kontou
Ms Zoe Koutsiafti  photo Ms Zoe Koutsiafti
Ms Maria Krika  photo Ms Maria Krika
Mr Fanis Krystallis  photo Mr Fanis Krystallis
Ms Pelina Leontiadou  photo Ms Pelina Leontiadou
Mr Fotodotis Malamas  photo Mr Fotodotis Malamas
Mr Evangelos Mamalakis  photo Mr Evangelos Mamalakis
Ms Nikoleta Mangeli  photo Ms Nikoleta Mangeli
Ms Domna Mirasyesi  photo Ms Domna Mirasyesi
Mr Nikos Papachristopoulos  photo Mr Nikos Papachristopoulos
Ms Stella Papakosta  photo Ms Stella Papakosta
Ms Katia Papantonopoulou  photo Ms Katia Papantonopoulou
Mr Aristeidis Papathanasiou  photo Mr Aristeidis Papathanasiou
Mr Christos Paraskevopoulos  photo Mr Christos Paraskevopoulos
Ms Tania Patsalia  photo Ms Tania Patsalia
Mr Dimitris Roussis  photo Mr Dimitris Roussis
Mr Yannis Seiradakis  photo Mr Yannis Seiradakis
Ms Iris Sotiriou  photo Ms Iris Sotiriou
Ms Eleni Stazilova  photo Ms Eleni Stazilova
Ms Athanasia Tsene  photo Ms Athanasia Tsene
Ms Linda Vasaka  photo Ms Linda Vasaka
Ms Ria Venaki  photo Ms Ria Venaki
Ms Dimitra Vitogianni  photo Ms Dimitra Vitogianni
Mr Nikos Vouhiounis  photo Mr Nikos Vouhiounis
Ms Christina Zakopoulou  photo Ms Christina Zakopoulou
Number of lawyers : 50

Bernitsas Law promotes and applies the principles of non-discrimination, fairness and equal opportunities to the way it works and delivers its services, all aspects of its professional dealings and all its policies and procedures. This includes its relationships with clients, suppliers and third parties, the engagement of professional services and the instruction of experts. We are committed to ensuring that our workforce reflects and is representative of the community in which we are active, to offering all our people the same opportunities to achieve their full potential and to creating a healthy, cooperative and happy work environment based on diversity and inclusion.

We apply a non-discriminatory, equal opportunities policy to the recruitment, compensation, advancement and progression of all our lawyers and staff. This is based on merit, qualifications and abilities and is irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, gender, disability, age, maternity and pregnancy, marital status, religion, belief and faith, sexual orientation or whether they are a permanent, temporary, part-time or fixed-term member of staff or lawyer. We wholly comply with the legislation and regulations in place governing employment and implement best practices.