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The firm: BGI Legal was founded in 2005 by senior partners Zaza Bibilashvili and Lasha Gogiberidze. The founding of BGI followed Ernst & Young’s global decision to exit from the legal service market. BGI is a successor to GCG Law Office (member of the Anderson Legal network at the time) and shares the legacy of EY Law Tbilisi. Since foundation BGI has almost doubled in size.

BGI’s lawyers have taken a lead role in almost every major transaction to take place in Georgia over the last two decades. Its experience of recognised market leaders puts it in a unique position to assist clients by effectively synergising international experience with peculiarities of the local business environment. It represents major foreign investors and lending institutions, real estate and infrastructure developers, national companies, joint ventures, diplomatic missions and international organisations.

It continues to be the referral firm of choice for most international law firms operating in Georgia, regularly undertaking mandates on behalf of Baker & McKenzie, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Linklaters, White & Case, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright and other global giants.

Its practice offers unparalleled diversity and breadth in its ability to guide clients in the increasingly challenging environment of Georgia’s fast-paced economic and legal development.

Almost all of of its attorneys have advanced law degrees from US and European law schools and are well-versed in the tradition of western law practices, while two of its partners are also licensed to practise in the State of New York.

Areas of practice: BGI Legal is recognised as Georgia’s leading independent full-service law firm, offering clients the full range of legal and professional services.

It holds the record, in so far as the number of deals involving capital markets with Georgian assets are concerned; no one has more deals on this front, neither from those that went public nor those handled through private placement.

A couple of years ago the firm had the largest single date closings that any local law firm has ever been involved within the history of Georgia, with two transactions simultaneously closing on the same day with the total dollar value of US$ 750 m.

In the energy sector, BGI has had the privilege to be involved in most of the major energy and infrastructure projects in Georgia during the last two decades, starting from the most important project in the recent history of Georgia – oil and gas pipelines operated by BP, transporting Caspian oil and gas from the Caspian region through Georgia to Europe. Other notable projects BGI has worked on without limitations include: Tbilisi International Airport, Batumi LPG Terminal, Poti Port, Shuakhevi HPP, Nenskra HPP & Namakhvani HPP projects, etc.

It has advised numerous clients on the establishment of joint ventures with private and public sector counterparts, including advice on the selection of corporate vehicles, the drafting and negotiation of complex shareholder agreements and corporate charters and legal due diligence on domestic partners and target companies. Following incorporation, its service offerings range from employment and leasing to sales, distribution, and franchise agreements.

During 2017, BGI enriched the firm’s portfolio with several historic achievements, setting international legal precedents and establishing national/international case law. In particular, representing interests of Coca-Cola Bottlers Georgia it has recently prevailed in a matter of recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award. This Supreme Court decision will serve as a guideline for practitioners and increase the level of certainty for parties seeking enforcement of arbitration awards in Georgia.

It represented Georgia’s former Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili. The Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered a landmark judgment on 28 November 2017 ruling that Georgia had violated Articles 5.3 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to the former Prime Minister. This was the first case ever where violation of Article 18 was established by the Grand Chamber of ECHR.

BGI also acted for the owners of the largest and the most popular private broadcasting company in Georgia, Rustavi 2. After Georgian courts ruled to deprive the current owners of their shares in the company, ECHR suspended the enforcement of the decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia. This was the first ever case in the ECHR’s 60-year history when such a remedy was used in a civil case.

IP law has been an increasingly dynamic practice area in recent years. BGI set major national precedents by registering a trade mark based on ‘distinctiveness acquired through use’ and cancelling a domain name where it contains another party’s trade mark on behalf of multinational confectionery giant Ferrero and Facebook, respectively.

  • Number of lawyers: 17
  • Languages
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • Georgian
  • Member
  • ICC Georgia
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia
  • EU-Georgia Business Council

Above material supplied by BGI Legal.

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