Hansberry Tomkiel > Warsaw, Poland > Firm Profile

Hansberry Tomkiel
UL. CEGLOWSKA 14
M.1
01-803 WARSAW
Poland

Poland > Competition/antitrust Tier 2

The team at boutique firm Hansberry Tomkiel is skilled in handling competition matters including matters related to cartels, illegal horizontal and vertical agreements, abuse of dominance and concentrations. The team is also experienced in litigating competition cases before courts of all instances. Sector focuses include energy, publishing, financial services, retail, media and transport. Founders Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńska, who has expertise in cartel matters, and Małgorzata Krasnodębska-Tomkiel, who was previously at the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, lead the team. Grzegorz Materna provides additional support.

Testimonials

‘Unique competition law specialists in the Polish market. High quality work. Innovative thinking. Determined to drive excellent outcomes for their client. A team of very strong, bright, innovative lawyers.’

‘The team is very professional, a clear way of billing and a flexible approach to the service provided.’

‘The team was extremely invested in producing a good outcome in the case.’

‘Malgorzata is a former agency head who advises uniquely in Poland from her long experience at the agency.’

‘Dorothy is super responsive and client-friendly’

‘Dorothy Hansberry is a stand-out lawyer. Bright, dedicated, excellent at seeing all angles of a particular case, really goes the extra mile to achieve the best possible outcome. Excellent competition law specialist.’

‘Małgorzata Krasnodebska Tomkiel formulates very accurate conclusions supported by professional methodology. Approaches each problem individually in the way it deserves.’

‘The founding partner, Dorothy Hansberry-Biegunska, is an extremely clever and experienced attorney in the area of practice who came up with novel solutions to issues presented. She gave 110% to the matter and went above and beyond in her handling of the case.’

Key clients

Essity

Mastercard Europe Société Anonyme

Iyuno Sweden Holding II AB

Morvan Le Berre sprl

JSW

CEE Equity Partners Ltd

Platinum Wellnes Sp. z o.o.

LLP

Lidl supermarkets Poland

Nowa Era

Green Holding Sp. z o.o.

AB Bechcicki

Hansberry Tomkiel is a unique competition law boutique that combines the experiences of former antitrust enforcers with that of former corporate counsel and law firm practitioners.

The Hansberry Tomkiel firm offers advice and representation in all areas of competition law, consumer protection law, unfair competition and competition-law related litigation. The firm provides strategic advice and representation in complex competition cases in Poland, Brussels and the US.

The law firm works with both Polish and international companies.  To ensure a comprehensive and global approach, it cooperates with well-established and respected national as well as international law firms in Europe, the US and Asia.

Hansberry Tomkiel is differentiated from other competition practices in the market by its lawyers’ collective experience of having worked in the offices of Competition Authorities (the Polish Competition Authority and the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice); as a general counsel (UPC Poland); and in other respected law firms.  Specifically, the lawyers in Hansberry Tomkiel well understand a regulator’s practice and approach in competition matters such as cartels, illegal horizontal and vertical agreements, abuses of dominance and concentrations.

The firm excels in representing its clients before the Polish Competition Authority and other regulatory authorities, as well as before the Polish Competition Court and courts of all instances.  Our experience includes representation of a client before the EU Court of Justice.

In working with clients, the firm excels in collecting, assessing and piecing together facts that are important for a case.  The firm is known for consistently constructing solid arguments and defenses built on the facts, the law, and economics.  If a client chooses to cooperate with a Competition Authority (leniency, commitments or a settlement), Hansberry Tomkiel is adept in assembling the relevant facts and explanations to meet the expectations of the Authority and to achieve a client’s chosen goal.

In each industry in which the firm’s clients operate (for instance: energy distribution; publishing; banking and financial institutions; retail (supermarkets); television; away-from-home paper products, railway parts), Hansberry Tomkiel encourages and expects its lawyers to invest many hours of the firm’s own time to learn and understand deeply the respective industry.

A recognized achievement of the firm is an ongoing case supervised by Ms Hansberry-Bieguńska for several years. In December 2019, the Competition Court issued a judgement in which it annulled the Polish Competition Authority’s decision charging one of the firm’s clients with minimum price fixing. During the hearings before the Competition Court (a court of first instance), a leniency applicant testified against the defendant client. The outcome of the case before the Competition Court is even more significant as it is rare for a defendant to prevail in a case in which a leniency applicant has provided evidence. Currently, the firm is responding to an appeal of the Competition Authority before the Court of Appeals.

Hansberry Tomkiel represents plaintiffs and defendants in private damage actions. Currently, it represents one of the largest mining companies in Poland in a plaintiff case and MasterCard in a defense case.  The firm works closely with competition economists, industry experts and clients in calculating or opposing claimed damages.

Hansberry Tomkiel excels in preparing merger notifications and representing clients before the Competition Authority in complicated and contested concentrations.

Lawyers in the firm are experienced in lecturing at universities, scientific institutes as well as at conferences organized for practitioners and businesses.

In short, Hansberry Tomkiel is a “sure thing” for clients and potential clients who expect and deserve excellent representation. It is here, in the realm of exceptional client service, that Hansberry Tomkiel strives to maintain its success and to distinguish itself in the Polish and international legal markets.

 

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Competition and Litigation Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńskadorothy@hansberrytomkiel.com+48-607-400-414
Partner : 2
Senior lawyers : 3
:
English (fluent)
Polish
Italian
District of Colombia Bar

Hansberry Tomkiel is a unique competition firm that combines the experiences of former antitrust enforcers with that of former corporate counsel and law firm practitioners.

The Hansberry Tomkiel firm offers advice and representation in all areas of competition law, consumer protection law, unfair competition and competition-law related litigation. The firm provides strategic advice and representation in complex competition cases in Poland, Brussels and the US.

The law firm works with both Polish and international companies.  To ensure a comprehensive and global approach, it cooperates with well-established and respected national as well as international law firms in Europe, the US and Asia.

In our opinion, our law firm is differentiated from other competition practices in the market because of our lawyers’ combined experience of having worked previously in competition authorities (the Polish Competition Authority; Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice); as a general counsel (UPC Poland); and in other law firms (Wardynski & Partners).  Specifically, we well understand a regulator’s practice and approach in competition matters such as cartels, illegal horizontal and vertical agreements, abuses of dominance and concentrations.

In working with our clients, we construct solid defences built on facts (and we excel in analysing and uncovering facts), the law, and economics, when appropriate.  If a client chooses to cooperate with a Competition Authority (leniency or a settlement), we are adept in assembling the facts and positions to meet the expectations of the Authority and to achieve a client’s chosen goal.

In each industry in which our clients are involved (for instance: energy distribution; publishing; banking and financial institutions; retail (supermarkets); television; away-from-home paper products, railway parts), we invest many hours of our own time in learning the industry deeply.

We are extremely experienced in litigating competition cases before courts of all instances and work well with economists and industry expert witnesses. We currently represent clients (both plaintiffs and defendants) in private damage actions.

In short, we aim to be a “sure thing” for clients and potential clients who expect and need excellent representation.  It is here, in the realm of exceptional client service, that Hansberry Tomkiel strives to maintain its success and to distinguish itself in the Polish and international legal markets.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Competition/Antitrust Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńskadorothy@hansberrytomkiel.com+48-607-400-414
Partner : 2
Senior lawyer : 3
English
Italian
Polish
District of Colombia Bar

On a daily basis, we represent international clients in their competition matters or queries concerning the Polish, EU and US competition laws.  Very often, foreign-based clients are represented by other international counsel as well, and we work well with such counsel, who for instance, may be working on a similar matter elsewhere for the client or coordinating the client’s competition work in several jurisdictions.  Not only does the client benefit from the seamless working relationships our firm has established with other international law firms, but we consider it a perk to be able to collaborate, learn and build strategies together.

Our internationally based clients are from the US, the EU and China. They are active in several industries, including financial institutions, payment cards, personal hygiene, publishing, and away-from-home paper products.  In each industry in which our clients are involved, we invest many hours of our own time in learning the industry and its market trends.  Our market research skills and experience are borderless.  We know how to identify and collect the relevant information worldwide.  Often, we work with international antitrust economists when appropriate and necessary.

We are experienced in and look forward to litigating competition cases before courts of all instances. We are experienced in working with economists and industry expert witnesses in courts.

In short, Hansberry Tomkiel is experienced and successful in its established cooperation with international law firms and legal networks, antitrust economists and industry experts when representing international clients.

Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńska, Partner

Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńska explains how her firm approaches clients’ needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Hansberry Tomkiel from your competitors?

The Hansberry Tomkiel firm is differentiated from other firms in its makeup, approach and reach. Each of our lawyers has worked in a competition authority. I was a senior trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice. Ms Krasnodębska-Tomkiel was the Chairperson of the Polish Competition Authority for several years and our other lawyers worked for the Authority in positions that gave them vast experience in handling competition and consumer protection cases and in understanding the approach and reasoning of the Authority. For instance, Mr Materna was the head of the Department of Competition enforcement; Ms Podsiedzik-Malec was the head of the Legal Department; and Ms Dąbrowska-Hanas was a deputy director of the Legal Department and the Department of Protection of Collective Consumer Interests.

In addition to our enforcement backgrounds, we benefit from my experience as a client when I was a general counsel of a media company and a chief operating officer of another media company. I often draw upon this experience to remember and to share with our team how to communicate efficiently and well with our clients.

The nature of our work means that we often work with other external law firms inside and outside of Poland. We have forged seamless and successful working relationships with such cooperating firms and count such counsel as valued colleagues and often, friends.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

As a result of the current virus epidemic, there may well be negative changes in the global economy. Often, in times of economic instability, companies look for alternatives to competition in order to achieve margins. An obvious alternative to competition is collusion with competitors. To the extent that the competition authorities detect such collusion, there will be more competition cases.

Likewise, we expect that the Polish Competition Authority, which is also responsible for investigating infringements of consumer protection law, will be faced with a slew of consumer complaints in connection with the current lock-down and the perhaps unfair and aggressive marketing strategies adopted by companies at the expense of consumer interest.

Finally, as a result of changes in the economy, we may expect an increase in mergers and acquisitions during the next 12 months.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

I think that our closer work with antitrust economists in a variety of cases has benefited our clients.

A recent achievement of Hansberry Tomkiel is a case that Ms. Hansberry-Bieguńska overlooked for the past six years. In December 2019, the Competition Court issued a judgement in which it annulled the Polish Competition Authority’s decision charging one of the Firm’s clients with minimum price fixing. During the hearings before the Competition Court (a court of first instance), a leniency applicant testified against the Firm’s Client. The outcome of the case before the Competition Court is even more significant as it is rare for a defendant to prevail in a case in which a leniency applicant has provided evidence.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

When we consider the question of the challenge of technology, our first thought is the importance of our firm’s knowledge and familiarity with the businesses and markets of our clients, especially in new technology industries. In order to create robust competition-law-based solutions, we have to understand thoroughly the technology used by our clients. This learning process is a priority for each of us in the Firm.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

We represented a client operating in the hypermarkets, supermarkets and discount store sector in an investigation in which our client was charged with an infringement of consumer law. We proposed very specific commitments, including the creation and organisation of series of workshops for the consumer ombudsmen and an e-learning platform on our client’s website for its customers. The Authority accepted the commitments, which were novel and carried out successfully. Not only did our Client avoid severe financial sanctions, but it also benefitted from what turned out to be positive publicity of its image as a company that stepped up when challenged by the Authority and responsibly paid attention to consumers’ interests.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We can safely say that it is a universal truth that clients look for stability and strategic direction from their law firms. A tenet of our law firm is to be “a sure thing” by consistently delivering excellence to our clients. In my opinion, that is stability. Strategy is a part of stability because our services and products are based upon weighing the strategies of taking a certain approach and the results that can be expected. A large part of our work is devoted to discussing the strategic aspects of a client’s choices in view of the business involved and the expectations of a company. These discussions continue over the period of our representation of a client. I remember from my work as a general counsel that I valued and felt supported when external counsel well understood my company’s business and competitive environment and was able to wisely prepare strategies for our legal approach.

Over the coming three years, I expect that our firm will be more and more engaged in damage action litigation as our collective experience is very well suited for this type of litigation. Hansberry Tomkiel worked on a private damage action claim filed late last year by one of the largest mining companies in Poland. The claim sought damages resulting from bid-rigging among suppliers of the company. In addition to drafting the claim, Hansberry Tomkiel worked closely with competition economists and the client in assessing and calculating the claimed damages

Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńska, Partner, Hansberry Tomkiel

What do you see as the main points that differentiate [law firm name] from your competitors?

The Hansberry Tomkiel firm is differentiated from other firms in its makeup, approach and reach. Each of our lawyers has worked in a competition authority. I was a senior trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice. Ms Krasnodębska-Tomkiel was the Chairperson of the Polish Competition Authority for several years and our other lawyers worked for the Authority in positions that gave them vast experience in handling competition and consumer protection cases and in understanding the approach and reasoning of the Authority.

In addition to our enforcement backgrounds, we benefit from my experience as a client when I was a general counsel of a media company and a chief operating officer of another media company. I often draw upon this experience to remember and to share with our team how to communicate efficiently and well with our clients.

The nature of our work means that we often work with other external law firms inside and outside of Poland. We have forged seamless and successful working relationships with such law firms and count such counsel as valued colleagues and often, as friends.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

As a result of Covid, there have been a number of downward changes in the economy. Often, in times of economic instability, companies look for alternatives to competition to achieve margins. An obvious alternative to competition is collusion with competitors. To the extent that the competition authorities detect such collusion, there will be more competition cases.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

When we consider the question of the challenge of technology, our first thought is the importance of our Firm’s knowledge and familiarity with the businesses and markets of our clients, especially in new technology industries. In order to create robust competition-law-based solutions, we have to understand thoroughly the technology used by our clients. This learning process is a priority for each of us in the Firm.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

I agree that clients look for stability and strategic direction from their law firms, and they have every right to do so. A tenet of our Firm is to be “a sure thing” by consistently delivering excellence to our clients. In my opinion, that is stability. Strategy is a part of stability because our services and products are based upon weighing the strategies of taking a certain approach and the results that can be expected. A large part of our work is devoted to discussing the strategic aspects of a client’s choices in view of the business involved and the expectations of a company. These discussions continue over the period of our representation of a client. I remember from my work as a general counsel that I valued and felt supported when external counsel well understood my company’s business and competitive environment and was able to wisely prepare strategies for our legal approach.

In the next three years, I expect that our Firm will continue to be engaged in damage actions as our collective experience is very well suited for this type of litigation. To date, Hansberry Tomkiel has represented clients from the plaintiff side as well as the defence side in private damage cases.