Oglinda & Partners > București 030167, Romania > Firm Profile

Oglinda & Partners
Strada Mântuleasa 17

Romania > Dispute resolution

Boutique firm Oglinda & Partners focuses on handling international arbitration and disputes in the construction sector. Eugen Sarbu is the key name.

Romania > PPP and procurement

Oglinda & Partners stands out for its skill in international arbitration. The PPP team, led by Eugen Sârbu, has particular expertise in the energy sector.

Oglindă & Partners is a Romanian boutique law firm specialized in international arbitration, construction and corporate law. During more than 20 years of experience in this particular area of expertise, Oglinda & Partners’ lawyers learned that excellence in arbitration and construction can only come along with a deep know-how in complementary branches as public procurement, M&A and corporate law and real estate.

Therefore, starting in 2016 the boutique was organized on departments able to provide this complementary support for the firm’s main activity – Arbitration and Construction – this way transforming Oglinda & Partners into a top choice for foreign investors interested in arbitration and construction in Romania.

To this day, the firm has kept its core specialization and its major activity regards arbitration and construction, even though the departments initially designed to provide support for the main specialization matured into new areas of practice due to the high demand, which created the necessity to expand these teams and attract talented and experienced lawyers in public procurement, M&A and corporate law and real estate.

Areas of practice:
International arbitration: International arbitration in Romania was born with us and we were born with it.

After the communist economy fell and free market economy took its place, in the 90’s, international arbitration started to evolve in Romania.

As lawyers specialized in international arbitration in Romania, Oglinda & Partners’ team has participated in the most complex and innovative cases that shaped the arbitration into becoming the most efficient method of solving commercial litigations in Romania.

Oglinda & Partners’ lawyers have contributed at the birth of Romanian modern arbitration being involved in drafting the Rules of Arbitration of Bucharest Court of Arbitration and promoted the introduction in Romanian Arbitration Rules of new and modern institutions like emergency arbitrator, simplified procedure, interim measures, party appointed experts or the participation of third parties in arbitral proceedings.

Moreover, our lawyers counseled the Romanian Government to enact the law that introduced mandatory arbitration clause into the Romanian Public Procurement Contracts regarding construction and public works.

Our lawyers specialized in Romanian arbitration coordinated the first emergency arbitrator procedure in Romania and in the last 20 years they were involved as lawyers or arbitrators in more than 300 arbitration cases in front of Romanian and foreign arbitral institutions like ICC, VIAC, LCIA, SCC, SHAC or Eastern Europe Courts of Arbitration, covering a wide range of sectors and industries such as energy, environment, construction in public and private sector, banking and finance, waste and water, EPC contracts, pharmaceutical, ITech Law, transportation and maritime law, etc.

Therefore, international arbitration is our law firm’s trademark.

Construction and engineering: Oglindă & Partners’ construction and engineering team gathers together lawyers and engineers with over 20 years of experience in Romanian construction law, that became leaders on the Romanian market by proving their expertise in major projects for airports, bridges, buildings, dredging, energy, railway, roads, water treatment etc.

Oglindă & Partners has shaped its construction law team in order to offer one of the most innovative and interconnected services in the Romanian construction market that has become a must-have for any contractor or public authority: management of construction contracts.

Providing strategic advice, high-quality drafting and innovative solutions, the team works alongside the most experienced specialists in construction and engineering  in Romania (engineers, architects and construction costs specialists) providing interconnected know-how from the precontractual phase, following the evolution of the project throughout its progress, until its completion, including through assistance and representation in court or arbitral proceedings for disputes which have arisen in relation to  Romanian construction projects.

Corporate and M&A: Foreign investors rely on Oglindă & Partners when they need Romanian lawyers specialized in M&A to help them extend on the Romanian market, frequently aiming for synergy, higher growth, stronger market power or diversity.

Oglindă & Partners provides highly experienced lawyers and of-counsels covering the entire chain of genuine due-diligence so necessary for securing transactions made by foreign investors in Romania: finance, real estate, competition, energy, tax, employment, domestic and cross-border insolvency, state-aid, EU-regulations, compliance, etc.

Oglindă & Partners’ M&A team counts on some of the most experienced litigators and leading specialists in Romania, assisting its clients in insolvency and bankruptcy special procedures, privatizations, restructurings, private transactions, mergers, spin-offs, cross-border acquisitions, divestments, joint ventures.

Public procurement: Oglindă & Partners’ public procurement team was tailored throughout its seven years of experience and became leading practitioners in Romanian public procurement, handling the full range of matters in this area.

The team earned this reputation by successfully assisting private and public entities in all stages of the process from initiating the tender according to the selection and award criteria to clarification and evaluation.

Oglindă & Partners’ strong skills in public procurement law are completed by the experience and know-how in representing domestic and international bidders to challenge and defend procurement decisions in front of Romanian Council for Solving Complaints and Romanian courts of law.

The in-depth capacity to provide full services led Oglindă & Partners to be the first choice of foreign investors that participate in Romanian bids in industries such as: infrastructure, transportation, construction, energy and environment, EPC, technology, pharmaceutical and healthcare, education, etc.

Real estate: Success in the Romanian real estate market takes more than basic legal skill and what makes our practice so unique is our profound understanding of the client’s business. We provide commercially viable solutions for leading Romanian project developers, as well as foreign investors in the Romanian real estate market.

With over 20 years of experience as real estate lawyers in Romania, Oglindă & Partners has the resources and capability to build teams suited to each client’s specific interests, offering a solution-oriented approach on the most significant transactions in the Romanian real estate market.

Our Bucharest-based team has earned a leading reputation as real estate litigators, successfully representing private investors as well as public authorities in some of the most complex real estate disputes in front of Romanian courts of law.

Department Name Email Telephone
International Arbitration Bazil Oglindă bazil.oglinda@oglindapartners.ro -
Construction & Engineering Cristina Olariu cristina.olariu@oglindapartners.ro -
Public Procurement Eugen Sârbu eugen.sarbu@oglindapartners.ro -
Real Estate Simona Reithofer simona.reithofer@oglindapartners.ro -
Corporate and M&A Simona Reithofer simona.reithofer@oglindapartners.ro -
Bucharest Bar

Oglinda & Partners has always encouraged a dynamic and balanced work environment, which can only be achieved by cultural and social diversity. Thus, Oglinda & Partners has constantly welcomed new members from all Romanian regions, which are marked by important cultural and social differences that added together in a friendly environment brings creativity, dynamics and growth to our teams.

Oglinda & Partners deeply values its members and is happy for having a diverse team which respects individuality on grounds of age, gender or religious beliefs. These values are promoted by Oglinda & Partners when organizing the law firm and each specific department, being an equal proportion of female and male, seniors and youngsters.

Setting aside political correctness regarding diversity, which can sometimes be just futile words to stay in trends, for a law firm diversity should mean first of all the freedom to think and act according to an individual’s own conscience. Oglinda & Partners encourages each of its lawyers to act according to its own ethical code, to act according to its own beliefs and cultural values without any constraint at all and, most of all, promotion inside the organization is based strictly on meritocracy proven by treating their clients with high professionalism.

CLIENT: Thor Octavian Pleter, CEO
“Throughout our long-term collaboration, Oglindă & Partners’ team has offered us support and counsel in Real Estate matters, as well as in many other practice areas. We were impressed by their expertise, thorough approach, and flexible thinking. Above all, we want to thank Simona Reithofer, head of the Real Estate department; she has a real eye for detail and a remarkable ability to unravel the most complex legal issues with surprising ease. The team has demonstrated incredible depth in terms of their working methods and communication.”

CLIENT: Florian Cătălin Predescu
“Oglindă & Partners’ team proved excellent strategic and analytic thinking, efficiency and responsiveness. Choice of counsel is a very important decision in Real Estate as it requires trust and transparency, qualities demonstrated by the team throughout our collaboration. The Real Estate department led by Simona Reithofer is, without question, one of the most organized, considerate and reliable teams we have worked with. They understand the pressure and difficulties that come with real estate projects, providing prompt answers and convenient solutions”.

CLIENT: Andrei Petre Popescu
COMPANY/FIRM: Tecnoservice București S.A.
“Oglindă & Partners has assisted us in the last five years along numerous projects in public procurement and international arbitration, each time showing professionalism and dedication in defending our rights and interests. The international arbitration team has an experience that exceeds many other firms on the market. Their ambition and continuous desire for knowledge turns any problem we encounter into a challenge, working as hard as necessary to overcome it. We also thank Eugen Sârbu (leading partner of this area of practice) for the patience and promptness he has showed throughout our collaboration and especially for the way he always puts our interests first.”

CLIENT: Mădălina Ignatuc
COMPANY/FIRM: Inspeti Building Restauration S.R.L.
“In what concerns the public procurement and international arbitration matters, Oglindă & Partners differentiates itself from other firms by its empathy towards clients and solid legal knowledge that revealed from every discussion held with them throughout our collaboration. The team has experienced, determined, punctual lawyers who have found the best solution to our legal problem in the shortest time possible. Highly organized and with a well-developed legal intuition, Oglinda & Partners succeeds in anticipating our needs and presenting all options in an objective.”

CLIENT: Marian Constantinescu
“Oglindă & Partners is one of the most professional law firms I have worked with. The Public Procurement and International Arbitration team manages to rise to the highest standards every time.

I worked together with Mihai Ionescu-Balea (associate in this area of practice), a well experienced and innovative young lawyer, being a real help in solving our problems. The accuracy of working and the ability to find new strategies according to our new interests, determined us to continue the collaboration in the future. Clarity, promptness and patience are qualities that characterize both Mihai Ionescu-Balea and the entire Oglindă&Partners company.”

Bazil Oglindă, Managing Partner

Bazil Oglindă shares some insights about Oglindă & Partners and his thoughts about how classic Romanian lawyers had to adapt to the Client’s more sophisticated and specialised needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Oglindă & Partners from your competitors?

There are four main points that differentiate us from our competition:

    • Very direct and open relationship with our clients – the feedback we have received after each project was that they felt us as part of their team, more loyal and devoted even than their internal employees.
    • The main feature that places us at a considerable distance from our competitors comes from the profile of our boutique law firm specialized in a very narrow branch – International Arbitration, Construction and Corporate Law – it is our technical knowledge and our lawyers’ ability to work with complex evidence specific to the client’s industry (e.g. documents, drawings, reports, evidence, etc.);
    • The Hyper-specialization and technical understanding of the case gives us another major difference, which places us ahead of the competition: our high capacity for legal research and case-precedent analysis.
    • Also, from our law firm profile as a hyper-specialised boutique comes another main point that built our reputation as the main choice for Clients in need of lawyers specialized in Arbitration and Construction under Romanian law: the creativity in providing strategies and the ability to anticipate our opponent’s moves in order to always have a plan B. Both plan A and plan B are deeply analysed and outlined from the beginning. Arbitral proceedings are initiated always after a thorough case assessment and after agreeing with our client all aspects of the strategy. During this process we anticipate, evaluate and prepare for all possible scenarios.

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

International Arbitration will become more popular in the next couple of years and the number of cases will grow, especially in the Construction field, in the context of instability in material and workforce prices, as well as in financial-banking contracts, due to interest volatility, inflation, and the lack of predictability of cash flow that affects middle companies – but even major global corporations are not exempt from the impact existing in industries such as energy, infrastructure, and so, giants that the market believed to be among the most stable companies went into insolvency or bankruptcy.

Thus, this unpredictable environment will lead to cash flow problems, which, in order to be overcome, motivates companies to start disputes that can give them a quick result, for the collection of claims to be as quickly as possible, and only arbitration can do this, because only arbitration can give a fast solution, with the advantage of being enforceable almost everywhere on the globe, according to New York Convention.

On the other hand, I think that Romanian Mergers & Acquisitions will develop more and more in the next 12 months because, in the context of the economic crisis and with a lot of Romanian companies becoming insolvent or having financial difficulties, foreign investors will continue to be more and more attracted to acquire at a good price traditional Romanian companies that imposed themselves as local or European brands. The massive flow of mergers and acquisitions in the recent years has also been determined by the important steps taken by the authorities in order to solve infrastructure problems that in the last 30 years have hindered the development of businesses in geographical areas with tremendous potential, providing skilled workforce and low costs for building facilities, halls, or industrial parks. Due to the massive investments in infrastructure made through The National Recovery and Resilience Plan approved by the European Commission for Romania, partly last year, but massively this year, an extraordinary infusion of capital was made in the development of infrastructure and connection of Romania to EU networks, which, in my opinion, further increases the appetite of foreign investors for mergers and acquisitions in Romania.

Also, in the context of this massive capital infusion due to The National Recovery and Resilience Plan, another practice that is facing a notable expansion today, and I give you for sure, it will continue to grow impressively here, in Romania, in the next 12 months or even years is the Public Procurement practice.

There are major projects having the Feasibility Study done and ready for launching the auction, therefore the numerous foreign investors that entered the Romanian market this year (from EU countries, Turkey, China, Israel etc.) will continue to become more numerous and we made the proper investment in order for our Public Procurement team to be ready for this major extension of the Romanian Lawyering Market.

As you can see, I have presented you so far three areas which I am convinced, based on my years of experience as a lawyer and arbitrator, that will grow in the next 12 months. As it always happens in economic crisis, people aim for: (i) taking advantage of the crise and expanding profits; (ii) securing the business.

The practice areas that I foresee growing are those which better promote profits and security: Romanian Mergers & Acquisitions, Public Procurement, International Arbitration (disputes that can balance companies’s cash flow in a short period of time).

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

A lawyer can achieve success only through a lawyer’s cooperation with his clients and I learned that, in practice, to build this cooperation with the client you need to show transparency and facilitate the client’s access to each activity and drafted documents in order for the client to observe and to feel the lawyer’s devotion for his case.

In order to facilitate Client access to lawyer’s activities and drafts, we have invested in the digitalization of our law firm, and in the present, we are able to use dedicated servers where both lawyers and clients have access to the fille documents, can upload documents and keep track of drafts in work.

Classical Romanian lawyering had to change and to adapt, and perhaps the most important change that we made in our law firm, which brought the greatest value to our clients and also to our team’s achievements, was made five years ago, when we decided and trained lawyers to work together in mixed teams tailored according to each project special feature, under the leadership of a partner lawyer, and we have set the wheels in motion for working in multidisciplinary teams.

For example, in construction arbitrations, we tailored teams comprising engineers with a deep expertise, accountants or quantum experts, lawyers specialized in scrutinizing construction evidence plus two partners with experience in pleading and building arbitral strategies.

In addition, to support our clients, we have invested in a modern and highly digitalized conference room in order to provide the highest technical standards of representation in International Arbitration, especially since the covid and post-covid period, when most arbitral institutions have used online conferences to conduct arbitration meetings and even hearing procedures. Therefore, we have helped our clients to optimize their costs, no longer having to support the cost category related to accommodation and travelling.

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

Technology provides an indispensable array of tools for the modern lawyer and I, personally, and our team at Oglindă & Partners, make full use of the possibilities brought on by use of technology.

Firstly, technology directly connects us with our clients. In the post-Covid pandemic era, we encourage online meetings for time efficiency and comfort for our clients. For our complex Arbitration and Construction projects, we use online databases where our lawyers and the clients’ technical experts can share and easily keep track of files and documents. We have also developed an online consultation option on our website, for quick and professional legal advice.

Secondly, technology helps us in our day-to-day activities: all lawyers in our firm have access to and use an internal server for document sharing and remote file access. We use various premium online databases for research and documentation on each project we work in. Also, we use dedicated software for task management and time tracking. All these tools improve, automatize and make our work more efficient, helping us provide high quality services in due time for our clients.

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

We are very proud of managing to create multidisciplinary teams, highly qualified to understand construction technicalities and work alongside engineers, technical and quantum experts or accountants, teams allocated on specific Construction or Arbitration projects.

In this way, we provide our clients a new legal service – a full package solution consisting in legal and also technical assistance.

As practical examples of how this new service added value for our clients stands the success rates we achieve in arbitral disputes. For example, in the last ICC case, through our collaboration with the Client’s engineers, our internal technical and quantum experts, mixed together with our legal expertise, we have managed to add important monetary value for our client and also to protect its good reputation on the market.

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

Since 1990 until now there have been several stages of major legislative changes in the Romanian regulatory system, marked also by taking over the EU normative framework and, this trend of major instability and frequent change of legislation continues to be fully manifested in Romania.

In order to provide stability to our client, we must be able to absorb the legislative instability in Romania. The strategic direction of any law firm, which operates in a context marked by massive and constant changes, must be focused on allocation of time and resources for training in order to continuously update its know-how.

In conclusion, regarding the first part of your question, an investor operating on Romanian market is not only looking for stability, but also has an urgent need for stability in order to have predictability on his business and on its cash flow.

Another key direction for our law firm is the allocation of an important investment in recruitment and vocational training, as we need in the following three years to expand our teams and to add new areas of practice in order to answer our clients more and more sophisticated and specialised needs.

Oglinda & Partners obtains establishment of precautionary garnishment in the exequatur procedure

Oglinda & Partners successfully assisted a well-known energy company in an arbitral dispute against a French company. The arbitral award was granted in Switzerland by an arbitral tribunal constituted according to ICC Paris rules and had to be recognised and enforced in Romania.

Oglinda & Partners successfully represented a French company in an international arbitration, achieving full admission of claims for direct costs, indirect costs and profit due for supplementary works and time prorogation

Oglinda & Partners proved that duration of a Design and Works Contract (Yellow FIDIC) has been extended due to the employer’s failure to finalise in due time the expropriation, to achieve the construction permit and to grant full access on Site in accordance with the contractual Time Schedule.

Oglinda & Partners achieves for a foreign construction company acting in Romania the rejection of all claims raised in an international construction arbitration

The lawyers of Oglinda & Partners assisted the Defendant in the arbitration initiated under a Joint Venture Agreement, whereby the Claimant was pretending 3.7 million Euro as his share of participation related to a water and wastewater contract performed in Romania.

Oglinda&Partners succeeds in an international arbitration against a company in the world’s top 5 tobacco manufacturers

In a recent international arbitration, the lawyers of Oglinda&Partners successfully represented their client achieving the admission of the request for arbitration against a company in top 5 world’s tobacco producers. The arbitral tribunal ordered the tobacco producer to pay delay penalties of 3.5 million lei.

Oglinda&Partners achieves in court the recognition and enforcement in Romania of an ICC Arbitration Award against a company in insolvency prevention proceedings.

Oglinda&Partners obtained a recognition and enforcement of a foreign Arbitral Award against a French company that entered into an insolvency prevention proceeding during the litigation, this way achieving for this client the right to seize the goods and receivables owned by the French company on Romanian territory.