Firm Profile > Cobalt > Tallinn, Estonia
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Cobalt > The Legal 500 Rankings
Cobalt focuses on high-value matters, handling complex financing transactions, capital markets projects and venture capital transactions, as well as advising on financial regulatory issues, an area where co-chair Kristel Raidla-Talur is noted. She jointly leads the group with Maria Kotkas, who has significant experience of financial restructuring projects and cross-border financings across the Baltics. Managing associate Monika Koolmeister is noted for advising major banks and financial institutions on regulatory and compliance. Associate Greete-Kristiine Kuru has a burgeoning practice in venture capital transactions.
Marina Kotkas; Kristel Raidla-Talur
Other key lawyers:
Monika Koolmeister; Greete-Kristiine Kuru
‘The team is generally very responsive and knowledgeable about this area of law and more importantly, they are also up to date and very apt to keep us duly informed about the developments from a regulatory point of view which, in relation to virtual currencies, is undergoing extensive amendments. ’
‘Monika Koolmeister was our lead and has been very efficient and responsive to our needs. Moreover, she possesses the knowledge required to assist us with a very difficult FIU licence process which we managed successfully. Another team member Julija Kostomarova was very helpful and efficient in helping with corporate matters ensuring a very smooth process to give effect to the corporate changes we wanted to implement.’
‘Business-minded thinking when providing legal services. Great expertise on covered bonds and other debt capital markets topics. ’
‘Thorough background research always done on the case at hand, quick and practical answers.’
‘The team includes great persons with personal close experience from regulated entities. This means they usually have a good idea of the practical side as well, next to the text of law.’
‘Pragmatic and commercially focused advice. Good awareness of how the Estonian system differs from other EU jurisdictions (and therefore very helpful advice on the areas that will be tricky for non-Estonian investors/ lawyers; and comparisons to UK market practices and standards (eg BVCA investment documents)). Struck the right balance between making sure all the legal formalities were observed, whilst not over-lawyering.’
‘Best team in the Baltics. Always available and reliable.’
‘Marina Kotkas is a very dedicated lawyer with strong negotiation skills and solutions- oriented approach. Marina is also very nice to work with.’
‘Cobalt’s team is always ready to move in and deliver more than expected. Cobalt provides clear input while keeping the advice level (where necessary) still understandable and not overly legalistic. Most importantly they do work with the client and really take in the client’s needs as opposed to just state strictly the legal requirements. They have been a tremendous support. ’
‘Monika Koolmeister – she is a rare find. Puts in enormous effort, has extensive prior experience from working both in-house in financial sector as well as from different leading law firms. Monika is fast and very structured, she brings clarity by asking the simple but to the point questions to understand the core of the problem and builds up solutions based on this. ’
European Investment Bank
First State Investments
Nordic Investment Bank
Cobalt focuses on handling large high-value M&A deals, including private equity and venture capital transactions, where partner Martin Simovart has particular expertise. He jointly leads the practice with Peeter Kutman, who has extensive experience of shareholder agreements and in the IT sector. Associate Karl Kull and counsel Ott Aava, who routinely advises on reorganisations and governance, are also noted. The team is further distinguished by its ability to draw on the firm's strong banking practice in cross-border and alternative deal financing.
Martin Simovart; Peeter Kutman
Other key lawyers:
Ott Aava; Karl Kull
Finnish Private Equity Fund KJK
Apax Partners LLP
Danish Agro Group
Estonia > Dispute resolution Tier 1
Cobalt focuses on business-related disputes, with strong offerings in competition, employment and banking and finance litigation. Particular sector strengths include energy, healthcare and public sector mandates. Practice head Jaanus Mody is an authority on reorganisation and insolvency proceedings. Senior associate Kadri Michelson is noted for her expertise in administrative proceedings, with a strong track record in contract and property law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Our experience with Cobalt has thus far been excellent. Cobalt’s team is highly professional, yet approachable. ’
‘The team manages to consistently deliver favourable results, while keeping the client involved at all stages. Cobalt’s team has a wonderful ability to explain complex legal issues to their client without coming off as patronising. ’
‘They are very thorough, and come up with innovative points of view on how to protect their client’s best interests’
‘The dispute resolution practice is one of the strongest on the market, with a dedicated team and substantial experience in the field.’
Nordic Aviation Group
Olympic Entertainment Group
Port of Tallinn
Tallinna Moekombinaat (part of Pro Kapital group)
Estonia > EU and competition Tier 1
The competition practice at Cobalt deals with a wide variety of work, inducing merger control, horizontal practices and cartels, and vertical agreements. Other key areas of expertise include compliance programs, audits and agreement reviews. Practice head Elo Tamm has extensive experience in the energy, waste and healthcare sectors and in public procurement.
Cobalt is a key name for real estate transactions, including commercial and industrial property purchases and development projects. The group has a good deal of experience acting for real estate investors and funds, an area of particular specialism for practice head Aivar Taro, who has experience in advising clients over the whole course of a project. Liina Linsi is key to the group’s real estate litigation work, and is also an expert on planning and zoning matters.
Other key lawyers:
Nordic Real Estate Partners (NREP)
Baltic Horizon Fund
Northern Horizon Capital/Gene Investments
Riigi Kinnisvara AS
BPT Real Estate
Pirita Tee Development
Baltek Arendus OÜ
Pro Kapital Grupp AS
Van Oord Offshore Wind B.V.
MCF Group Estonia
Estonia > Tax Tier 1
Cobalt focuses on cross-border tax structuring for local clients and inbound tax structuring for multinational clients. The team also deals with tax structuring arising from M&A deals, indirect taxation and incentives and benefits. Practice head Egon Talur provides day-to-day tax advice and has extensive experience of audits and tax litigation. Associates Karli Kütt and Tõnu Kolts are also noted.
Estonia > Employment Tier 2
Cobalt provides a full range of compliance, advisory and litigation services. With offices across the Baltics, the team is recommended for international clients looking to enter the Estonian market. The practice has a close rapport with the dispute resolution, M&A and tax groups, and has extensive benefits and pensions experience. Group chair Karina Paatsi brings significant expertise in employment disputes. Senior associate Heili Haabu is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘In depth knowledge of employment law, pragmatic advice which can be implemented for a small start-up, user-friendly, prompt and great at managing timescales and expectations.’
‘We work closely with Karina Paatsi. She gives pragmatic advice on compliance with local employment law for start-ups. Great at timescale and client management.’
‘The team showed excellent HR knowledge and experience in the local legal matters that we consulted Cobalt for. ’
‘Excellent knowledge and experience, proactivity and prompt handling due to tight time schedule.’
‘Awesome, practical and always there to help’
‘Karina Paatsi is amazing. Client-oriented, truly practical and always on point. She has an ability to understand the needs of her clients to a very deep level in which you feel always being served with the best possible commitment level of service. She is my go-to-person in Estonia, definitely.’
The team at Cobalt handles patent and trade mark litigation and prosecution, and also advises on data protection and privacy concerns. Sector strengths include pharmaceuticals, online gambling, online payments and advertising. Egon Talur leads the practice.
Chapter 4 Corp. DBA Supreme
The Absolut Company Aktiebolag
Havana Club Holding S.A
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
IBM Eesti OÜ
Saint-Gobain Glass Estonia SE
Jysk Linnen`n Furniture OÜ
Salv Technologies OÜ
Estonian Institute of Historic Memory
Cobalt > Firm Profile
COBALT is a closely integrated alliance of top-tier law offices across the Baltics and Belarus uniting more than 200 attorneys and lawyers. The firm’s legal professionals offer leading–edge legal solutions in all key areas of business law: banking and finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, EU law, competition, dispute resolution, restructuring and bankruptcy, real estate and construction, energy and infrastructure, employment, IP, IT and regulatory, environmental law, transportation and tax.
|M&A AND CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS||Dr Irmantas Norkusemail@example.com||+370 687 81323|
|M&A AND CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS||Elijus Burgisfirstname.lastname@example.org||+370 687 93933|
|M&A AND CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS||Martin Simovartemail@example.com||+372 511 2020|
|M&A AND CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS||Guntars Zilefirstname.lastname@example.org||+371 2942 7809|
|M&A AND CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS||Peeter Kutmanemail@example.com||+372 502 2426|
|CORPORATE ADVISORY & EMPLOYMENT||Žilvinas Kvietkusfirstname.lastname@example.org||+370 699 54702|
|CORPORATE ADVISORY & EMPLOYMENT||Karina Paatsiemail@example.com||+372 514 6405|
|CORPORATE ADVISORY & EMPLOYMENT||Gatis Flintersfirstname.lastname@example.org||+371 2655 6592|
|CORPORATE ADVISORY & EMPLOYMENT||Toms Šulmanisemail@example.com||+371 2911 0761|
|BANKING, FINANCE & CAPITAL MARKETS||Marina Kotkasfirstname.lastname@example.org||+372 525 3086|
|BANKING, FINANCE & CAPITAL MARKETS||Lauris Liepaemail@example.com||+371 2920 6001|
|BANKING, FINANCE & CAPITAL MARKETS||Akvilė Bosaitėfirstname.lastname@example.org||+370 698 06964|
|BANKING, FINANCE & CAPITAL MARKETS||Kristel Raidla - Taluremail@example.com||+372 513 6997|
|BANKING, FINANCE & CAPITAL MARKETS||Eva Suduikofirstname.lastname@example.org||+370 610 40646|
|EU & COMPETITION||Elo Tammemail@example.com||+372 512 0573|
|EU & COMPETITION||Ugis Zeltinsfirstname.lastname@example.org||+371 2632 8671|
|EU & COMPETITION||Rasa Zaščiurinskaitėemail@example.com||+370 655 38008|
|IP, IT & DATA PROTECTION||Egon Talurfirstname.lastname@example.org||+372 518 8579|
|IP, IT & DATA PROTECTION||Indrikis Liepaemail@example.com||+371 2928 4852|
|REAL ESTATE, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT||Aivar firstname.lastname@example.org||+372 528 8508|
|REAL ESTATE, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT||Dace Silava-Tomsoneemail@example.com||+371 2947 7302|
|REAL ESTATE, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT||Simona Oliškevičiūtė-Cicėnienėfirstname.lastname@example.org||+370 698 88460|
|REAL ESTATE, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT||Artūras Kojalaemail@example.com||+370 659 20404|
|TAX||Sandija Novickafirstname.lastname@example.org||+371 2914 2856|
|TAX||Rokas Daugėlaemail@example.com||+370 688 84503|
|DISPUTE RESOLUTION||Jaanus Modyfirstname.lastname@example.org||+372 501 5407|
|DISPUTE RESOLUTION||Dr Rimantas Simaitisemail@example.com||+370 652 36366|
|Marina Kotkas||Marina Kotkas is the regular adviser to the largest local and international…||View Profile|
|Peeter Kutman||Peeter Kutman, a Partner at COBALT Estonia, heads the Mergers and Acquisitions…||View Profile|
|Jaanus Mody||Jaanus Mody is one of the most recognized insolvency experts in Estonia.||View Profile|
|Karina Paatsi||Karina Paatsi is a Partner at COBALT Estonia and Head of the…||View Profile|
|Kristel Raidla-Talur||Kristel advises clients mainly on venture capital and other financing transactions as…||View Profile|
|Martin Simovart||Martin is an internationally recognized adviser and has participated in most of…||View Profile|
|Egon Talur||Egon has considerable experience in corporate taxation, including M&A transactions, restructuring and…||View Profile|
|Elo Tamm||She has represented leading local and international companies in the Estonian Competition…||View Profile|
|Aivar Taro||Aivar has long-term experience in large-scale real estate transactions with both domestic…||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of Partners : 39 Number of Lawyers : 181
LanguagesLithuanian English Latvian Estonian Finnish German Italian Russian
MembershipsGALA (Global Advertising Lawyers Association) Lex Mundi World Services Group (WSG) Ius Laboris INTA - International Trademark Association IBA (International Bar Association)
We are committed to continuing to build an inclusive culture and to make diversity and inclusion an integral part of our decision-making at every level of the firm. We demonstrate our position in action. Our activities in 2020:
- COBALT is a nominee for the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Europe 2021 awards, shortlisted in the ‘Social Justice’ category for the firm‘s work on two landmark cases in the Constitutional Court regarding the rights and protection of families of same-sex couples in Latvia.
COBALT provided pro bono legal assistance to the Association of LGBT and their friends Mozaīka as amicus curiae in both Constitutional Court’s cases. These were the first cases in the history of the Latvian Constitutional Court where the court convincingly ruled in favour of same-sex couples; moreover, it was declared that same-sex couples and their children shall be considered as families and should therefore enjoy equal protection by the state as families of married heterosexual couples. As a consequence, Saeima (the Parliament) is required to create regulation for the protection of families of same-sex couples by June 2022.
- COBALT together with the Go Forward Academy launched the COBALT female leaders’ class and granted 3 scholarships to the most motivated and socially active female students to study at the Go Forward Academy. The Academy is a leadership academy for women in Lithuania where future leaders are introduced to inspirational stories, knowledge and ideas to give tools for change in the world of business, science, and culture.
- In November 2020, COBALT became a signatory to the Latvian Diversity Charter, the first law firm in Latvia to join the initiative. The Diversity Charter is a voluntary declaration striving for respect and inclusion of diversity groups: http://www.thinkdiversity.eu/home/.
- COBALT Estonia is a long-term partner of the Art Museum of Estonia Foundation. In 2020, we elected to support the exhibition ‘Creating the Self: Emancipating Women in Estonian and Finnish Art.’ The exhibition focused on the changes in women’s self-awareness and social position that started in the 19th century, whichare echoed in the activities of female artists.
COBALT is a closely integrated alliance of top-tier law offices across the Baltics and Belarus uniting more than 200 attorneys and lawyers.
COBALT’s Finnish Desk, based in our Tallinn office, focuses on legal issues related to cross-border business activities between Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania and Finland. Its main target group consists of the investors, entrepreneurs and companies in the Baltic States having a business interest in the Finnish market and vice versa.
The Finnish Desk consists of a four-member project management team: Martin Simovart, partner, Jesse Kivisaari, specialist counsel, Getter Villmann, junior associate, and Hegle Pärna, assistant lawyer.
In addition, the services of the Finnish Desk provide access to the high-level legal services of COBALT law office in all legal areas in the Baltics and Belarus, and to an extensive global partner network, including the exclusive membership of the Estonian office in World Services Group which intermediates worldwide recognised legal professionals and high-quality legal services, and in Lex Mundi which is an organisation of the world’s leading independent law firms.
Germany is an important trading partner for the Baltic States. Many German and Austrian companies have established subsidiaries in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Likewise, Baltic entrepreneurs expand their business to German speaking countries. Accordingly, the demand for legal services in German language is quite high. We advise both domestic companies that are entering markets in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, as well as investors from German speaking countries.
Our team consists of qualified lawyers who have obtained their master or doctorate degree at German universities and have gained certain working experience in German law offices.
Although the business environment and investment activity around Russia always experienced unforeseen turbulences, there is a continuous need for entrepreneurial platforms that foster and safeguard economic interactions between Russia/CIS countries and European Union. As there is a constant demand for high quality and seamless cross-border services for foreign companies doing business in Russia and for Russian companies establishing a presence or expanding into Europe. Through many years of work experience in the region, COBALT is ideally positioned to offer its clients an in-depth knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the subtle differences between legal environments and business culture in Russia and European market. COBALT Russian Desk is the integrated team made up of lawyers who are fluent in Russian and have experience of advising clients in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Our one-stop project management approach and expertise, combined with all the necessary support from the leading Russian law firms, mean that investments and other commercial objectives in either market can be realized as smoothly as possible.
CLIENT: Flavio Perini, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board, AS Baltika
COMPANY/FIRM: AS Baltika
TESTIMONIAL: I met with COBALT team for the first time during early spring 2020 when me and the shareholders were evaluating the opportunity to apply for the reorganisation of Baltika, one of the biggest retail companies in Estonia with also a presence all over Baltics, listed on Nasdaq Baltic Stock Exchange market. COBALT team was leading Baltika’s team through this complicated and uncertain procedure with a lot of professionalism, seriousness and preparation and the final result achieved thanks to their help was simply great.
CLIENT: Donatas Aksomitas, Managing Director, AGACAD
TESTIMONIAL: AGACAD had worked with Cobalt in the past on a variety of corporate matters and always found them to be highly knowledgeable on both the legal and the business side, as well as proactive and efficient. For M&A work, the reputation of the firm – and in particular that of Juozas Rimas who heads the M&A Practice – preceded them. There was a long track record of deals where they successfully advised both local and international clients. So we knew we could count on them to represent our interests effectively and professionally in this transaction of historic importance to AGACAD and its founders.
CLIENT: Olga Barreto Goncalves, CEO, Latvian Startup Association “Startin.LV”
COMPANY/FIRM: Latvian Startup Association “Startin.LV”
TESTIMONIAL: Our recent experience with Cobalt included work on the new share option regulation in Latvia which took almost a year.
The elaboration on the new share option regulation in Latvia is an excellent example of private-public cooperation, which has resulted in the qualitative, balanced and up-to-date legal framework, embodying the best international practice and respecting essential local requirements.
As the lead voice of the start-up ecosystem in Latvia, we can confirm that the new share option regulation was a long-waited improvement and we already notice its positive impact on industry development.
Together with the start-up community, venture capitalists, parliament representatives (in particular Mr Reinis Znotiņš), Cobalt was one of the key drivers within the legislative process, demonstrating an excellent understanding of the business side and providing crucial legal input throughout all process.
CLIENT: Darius Žakaitis, Founder, Tech Zity UAB
COMPANY/FIRM: Tech Zity UAB
TESTIMONIAL: COBALT has advised our company Techzity UAB on the acquisition of shares in Techfabrikas UAB and the creation of a joint venture for the development of an innovative business park in Klaipėda, Lithuania. COBALT lawyers always find logical and knowledge-based solutions for every problem. I really enjoy working with COBALT and feel they have my back every step of the way. They were agile, pragmatic, bold, consistently level-headed and worked 24/7 to keep the deal on track. The team handles the full spectrum of M&A work and appears to be the first port of call for many of the market’s most high-value and sophisticated matters. Their attention to detail, extensive experience and strategic skills create value for clients.
COMPANY/FIRM: OP Corporate Bank plc Latvia branch
TESTIMONIAL: COBALT team was reached to provide their service in preparing credit documentation for a project finance case in energy sector. With the team’s professional and elaborative approach, it was possible to reach the goal in rather compressed time schedule. The team was certain not to overlook any details and they were prepared for anything that could come their way during discussions. It was also significant contribution that the involved specialists were following very carefully the set milestones in order to satisfy their fulfilment. Extensive knowledge of the energy sector was essential in supplementing the final documentation with important elements. All in all, ability to work under pressure and find compromises were also important elements to finalize this service, and we are thankful for the team’s contributions in this project.
Dr Irmantas Norkus, Managing partner
What do you see as the main points that differentiate [law firm name] from your competitors?
Over the last 20 years, we have grown from a 1-practitioner firm to an organiztion of more than 100 people in Lithuania. We now count more than 250 team members in the Baltics and Belarus. Today we are located in four capital cities – Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Minsk. A constant appetite for growth keeps us looking for innovation and development. We are well diversified and specialized; our firms cover the full range of business law as well as provide private services (family law and white-collar crime) to individuals. In terms of the age of our partners, we are one of the youngest partnerships in the market.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Corporate / M&A will continue to grow in 2022. Post-pandemic recovery and over-liquidity in the market will drive investments in the M&A market. Foreign direct investments should increase in the Baltics too.
Regulatory advice in the markets of financial services will continue to be in demand. A growing ecosystem of fintech companies will require more extensive legal guidance. Data protection and consumer protection are growing areas too. It is very likely that governments will tighten tax regulations to recover part of the state aid distributed to prevent the economic crisis due to COVID.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
We try not to reinvent the bicycle but to adapt it to the new environment. We monitor the evolution of business and aim to provide support to companies that embrace the future. Therefore, there is not one change but a group of regular improvements to our services addressing the changing needs of the client.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Absolutely. Remote working encouraged us to test various media and communication forms to interact with clients and provide services. In certain instances, to speed up the process, we share the database, document templates and proprietary information with clients, while working on documents simultaneously and drafting without exchanging multiple versions of the same document. This allows us to better engage with the client, understand his needs and produce documents in a more expedient manner. We share our resources (data and people) with clients too.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
Being connected and having partners in all European jurisdictions, we often help clients who are considering entering multiple EU jurisdictions identify showstoppers or potential risks or costs in the early stages. It is not legal advice only but assistance with understanding commercial barriers too. We assist young companies in their expansion by advising on certain aspects of capital raising or making business partnerships.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Business is all about a long-term partnership. Thus, our clients seek a reliable and trustworthy advisor in us capable of assisting them with long term projects. Our goal is to develop COBALT into a sustainable and ever-adapting and evolving organization able to attract talent and provide quality service. As post-pandemic recovery promises to be steep and active, we need to be well resourced (people) and equipped (technology). Our focus now is people. The transformation of the working method and office organization should not be overlooked.