fivehundred magazine > > Interview with Celia Pourgoura and Alexia Aspri, CA Advocates (Pourgoura & Aspri LLC)

Interview with Celia Pourgoura and Alexia Aspri, CA Advocates (Pourgoura & Aspri LLC)

The Cypriot government announced the suspension of its controversial ‘Golden Visa’ scheme in November 2020. What impact has this had on the nation’s real estate market?

Indeed, there has been a decrease in demand0 for luxury real estate sales since the abolition of the Citizenship by Investment program, surprisingly though, the overall impact on the real estate market has not been as dramatic as originally suspected.

Albeit the abolition of the Citizenship Program, Cyprus still offers a Permanent Residency program, which requires, among other criteria, the purchase of a house for a minimum of €300,000. Furthermore, the government has been promoting quite extensively the international headquartering of high-tech companies, which concerns investors who wish to move their headquarters to Cyprus. A third factor which assisted the market until now, has been the financial support provided to the local market; for the whole of 2021, the government with the cooperation of local banks, was offering subsidized housing loans. All of the above factors, coupled also by an interest shown in the last couple of months due to the political unrest in Ukraine and the region around, have actually caused the prices to increase and not decrease.

Where do you feel your clients need the most legal support in the next 12 months?

We consider that over the next 12 months we will see an increase on enquiries by clients requesting services of relocation of headquarters that are primarily situated in or near the areas where there is political unrest, due to the war in Ukraine and also from other areas due to the tax incentives provided by Cyprus. This will most definitely entail assistance for restructuring of how such clients will operate such as setting up of new entities, proceeding with mergers, acquisitions, relocation of company seats, real estate acquisitions, employment law services etc. Furthermore, it is evident that our clients will continue to require support on the definition and application of the different sanctions the EU, UK and USA are imposing on Russia and certain banks and individuals.

It is evident that our clients will continue to require support on the definition and application of the different sanctions the EU, UK and USA are imposing on Russia and certain banks and individuals.

What sets your firm apart from competitors?

We take the challenge of the high competition in the legal industry in Cyprus and we strive to improve our firm’s practice further, however we try to maintain our firm’s character, vision, mission and ethical approach through the healthy competition within the industry.

Our main strong point is that we are efficient and effective! We are a small boutique law firm consisting of young professionals that strive to provide personalised services to our clients in

the most efficient way. Our main mission is to maintain our character and ethical values as a law firm, while progressing and prevailing to reach our goal and be considered one of the best boutique law firms in Cyprus.

Are there specific practice areas you see as particularly thriving, which you intend to bolster in coming years? Are there any new areas of practice that have emerged recently?

Over the last few years we have been receiving increased exposure in the real estate law market, due to the affiliation our law firm has with the fully licensed real estate agency, CA Real Estate Limited (CA Real Estate). The cooperation with CA Real Estate, gives the opportunity to the interested purchaser / seller to receive a full service from A to Z, in respect of a purchase / sale of any specific property.

Furthermore, we have also been gaining quite extensive expertise on a variety of banking and finance issues, including corporate finance. We have acted for a number of leading lenders and we are able to advise companies of all types on their dealings with lenders. We also advise a variety of corporations (international corporations, family businesses, charities, trusts and developers) on all aspects of their relationships with lending entities.

How active are members of your team in terms of thought leadership?

We always promote staff from all levels to speak out when they have any ideas which can help the firm in any way, which we take very seriously. We often organize team building activities where each member of staff can provide their feedback on the way the firm operates. We also provide opportunities for continuous education and we especially focus on events and communication channels which promote the freedom of expression and appropriate ways to exchange feedback between management and employees.

What are your firm’s policies on diversity and inclusion? Does your firm have any specific diversity initiatives?

Diversity and inclusion mean giving the opportunity to all individuals to work, learn, practice, train, evolve, try, fail and rise again despite their different background, level of experience, nationality, beliefs and culture. Diversity and inclusion can be difficult in our jurisdiction, due to the high competition and great number of family businesses which often act as a hurdle for professionals. Thankfully, the new generations of professionals have been raised with great endurance and persistence and spirit which enables them to prevail and not give-up in the looking of their desired position. Although our firm does not have any specific diversity initiatives, we take pride in the fact that a fair percentage of our employees are of a distinctive diverse background.

What does innovation mean to you? Can you tell us about any specific innovation initiatives at your firm?

Innovation is crucial for the successful continuing of an organization. It is about implementing new technologies, products and policies. It is about communication with the clients, listening to their needs and make sure to assist and satisfy those needs in a most efficient way. Another aspect of an innovative approach is collaboration and partnership with other industry related service providers and the ability to offer complete service packages to clients. All the abovementioned are an indication on how firms can do in order to enhance their practices.

What technological changes have you implemented at your firm to improve the legal services you provide to your clients?

We consider that technological advancement and relevant training of staff are two crucial aspects in the future development of the firm. Although we are always aware of new digital products which may be useful in our productivity and effectiveness, during the last two years, and party driven by the adverse conditions of Covid19 outbreak, we had the opportunity to utilize to the maximum the digital resources available in the market that are specific for our sector. We further believe that providing continuous support and training of staff on new developments gives an even greater potential to the available technological means.

 

CELIA POURGOURA, MANAGING PARTNER, POURGOURA & ASPRI LLC
Celia Pourgoura is an English qualified lawyer with an LLB qualification, an LLM qualification on Commercial Corporate law, a Middle Temple Barrister-at- Law with registration at the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales as a non-practising Barrister at Law, and a practising registered member of the Cyprus Bar. Between the years 2002 and 2005 and from 2008 until today she has been dealing with trust law, corporate and commercial law, anti-money laundering issues, contract law and corporate administration. Since April 2011 she is the co-owner and director of CA ADVOCATES (Pourgoura & Aspri LLC). She speaks Greek and English fluently and currently learning Russian. She has been nominated by Kings College London as their ambassador in Cyprus. She is a member of (STEP) Society of Trust and Estate Practitioner and of the International Bar Association. She is a the current President of the Cyprus Belarus association, as well a member of the board of directors of the Cyprus – UK association, the Cyprus – India Association, the Cyprus – Russia Association, the Cyprus – Poland Association and the Cyprus – Ukraine Association. 

ALEXIA ASPRI, MANAGING PARTNER, POURGOURA & ASPRI LLC

Alexia Aspri obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2000 and then an LLB from the same university in 2002. She was admitted as a member of the Cyprus Bar in 2003 and since then, she gained solid corporate and commercial law experience by having worked at the corporate law departments of some of the most renowned law firms in Cyprus. Her main specialization is concentrated in contractual drafting and in consulting on corporate and tax strategies, mergers and acquisitions and re-organisations, Company law including management and administration of companies, Trusts and estate planning. She became a member of (STEP) Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in 2010. Since April 2011 she is the co-owner and director of the law firm CA Advocates (Pourgoura & Aspri LLC). She speaks Greek and English fluently. She is also a member of the International Bar Association.

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