Practice areas


Banking and Finance

Banking and Finance is one of the strongest practices of SEE Legal. SEE Legal members provide legal services to leading international and local banks and financial companies, including some of the largest banks in the region.

SEE Legal members provide comprehensive services for the banking industry from assistance with commercial transactions to a variety of issues such as company formation, financing deals, privatisations, bankruptcies, and real estate acquisitions, to name a few. For example, SEE Legal members have assisted in the privatisation of many top-tier banks in South Eastern Europe, advised on regulatory and internal compliance, and assisted in the investment deals of some of the largest and most reputable names in business. SEE Legal members have acted as leading counsel in financing deals - commercial loans valued at millions of Euros, corporate and government bond deals, transactions financed by large international aid institutions, leases, derivatives, and credit agreements, as well as in project finance transactions.

The Finance sector continues to represent a substantial practice area that is key for all SEE Legal members as adviser to leading banks, financial institutions, brokerage and financial leasing firms, and investment funds throughout the region. Our first rate reputation ensures that clients in this sector are well versed in the up-to-date local practices in this transitional sector in South East Europe.

Although our markets differ in terms of size and stage of transition, one key factor dominates - the overwhelming need of all sectors for financing and the substantial interest, in particular from regional and international banks and institutions to facilitate this growth.

Bankruptcy and Restructuring

In the corporate world, the prospect of bankruptcy is a reality which has to be dealt with in a professional manner. Our privatisation and restructuring practices throughout the region have significant experience in dealing with creditors and bankruptcy administrators. In many cases, government led bankruptcy has seen the largest and most indebted local state and socially owned companies sold efficiently.

In many cases investors use the bankruptcy procedure to acquire company assets, which is often real estate. Our SEE Legal advisors structure the process efficiently and swiftly.

Due to the fact that we represent premier banking institutions in the region, we are often asked to advise the bank as a creditor in such cases.

Capital Markets

The practice within the group covers securities aspects from regulatory, compliance, structuring and transactional perspectives and providing legal services for both local and cross-border transactions. Our firms assist clients in relation to securities products, corporate governance, equity and debt instruments, including equity-based programs implemented by multinational employers, OTC and exchange derivatives, securitizations and structured finance.

Competition and Antitrust

Competition and antitrust matters have become a crucial part of global business. Developments in the region of South East Europe, such as the introduction of modern antitrust and merger control regulations in all countries in the region have made a great number of transactions and business practices subject to regulatory control. The combination of foreign investors with local and regional players, as well as their growth and expansion have created market leaders in many vital industries.

We advise clients on all aspects of Competition Law with an excellent track record on merger control in local and cross-jurisdictional transactions, cases of abuse of dominant position, and assistance in being granted exemptions for their dealership or cooperation agreements. We also combine our Competition Law practice with industry-specific regulatory issues (Banking, Insurance, Finance, Telecommunications, Energy, etc.).

Consumer Protection

Our lawyers provide assistance on all consumer protection matters, including labelling, product safety, product liability, warranties, product recall, distance contracts, abusive clauses, promotional activities, in relation to various products and services (e.g. food and food supplements, cosmetics, paper, toys, textiles, vehicles, electronic devices, supports and services, software, bank services, etc.). We have extensive expertise in this area, as well as deep knowledge and understanding of the relevant practice and constant contact with the competent authorities in each jurisdiction.

Corporate and M&A

SEE Legal firms are valued for the multi-disciplinary support they provide to clients in shaping their operational objectives, financial data and transaction parameters into a realistic business scenario. We integrate and provide from the onset regulatory, state aid/EU funding, tax and other perspectives in order to facilitate the accurate and complete initial evaluation of opportunities and the exploration of alternatives.

The SEE Legal law firms assist in connection with transaction structuring and development of risk mitigation strategies, as well as a coherent and sound contractual framework for the implementation thereof. We draft, negotiate and provide legal advice in complex contractual arrangements. Our lawyers have extensive experience with transactions in industries such as utilities, insurance, telecommunications, information technology and pharmaceuticals.

Corporate Governance and Compliance

All of our corporate practices throughout the region are heavily dependent on the correct use of company law in each jurisdiction. Many member countries are members of the European Union and, as such, have a more recognisable set of principles.

Our SEE Legal practices are deeply rooted in corporate governance and compliance law matters, which are embedded in all advice given to clients from establishment and liquidation to bankruptcy and joint venture. We additionally advise incoming managers on their personal and company liability, decision making process, company structure and bodies.

Many SEE Legal firms have a separate company law department within which all company related matters are resolved.

Data Protection

Our multi-disciplinary teams are highly experienced in advising clients on data protection matters, including in respect of compliance with specific data protection requirements applicable to clients’ core businesses, marketing or employment activities, database sharing and data protection implications of mergers and acquisitions projects, both national and cross-border. We perform data protection audits and trainings and assist clients in implementing privacy requirements and drafting privacy language for as part of their day-to-day activities.

Employment and immigration

Our clients rely on us to help them attract and retain top local and international personnel through employment arrangements that comply with the legislations of the jurisdictions in the region.

Our firms provide legal assistance in relation to individual and collective labour contracts, internal regulations and policies, confidentiality, restrictive covenants and non-compete agreements, management contracts, stock option plans and other benefits programs, health and safety rules and regulations and data protection implications in an employment context. SEE Legal law firms also represent clients in connection with individual and collective labour conflicts.

Energy and Renewables, Utilities and Natural Resources

The region of South East Europe is rich in natural resources, minerals and potential energy projects. Each member of the SEE Legal Group has experience in this area as many have represented leading international mining companies, cement producers and other companies requiring a concession to exploit natural resources.

Our Utilities practices have grown by the fact that we represent several state and private oil, gas and electricity companies. Many of these companies have been restructured by SEE Legal lawyers and the entire sector has been developed in the policy area thanks to contributions from SEE Legal members working on policy and legislation drafting.

The area of energy is a pivotal one for the development of the region and further integration is necessary to improve efficiency. Our regional understanding of the sector ensures that clients are served in a more integrated way, a fact which becomes more valuable as regional integration accelerates.

Environment

Due to the continuously increasing need of specialised advice in this area, the environmental practices within the member law firms developed providing assistance on both general environmental law matters and specific environmental and permitting issues. Our practices cover allocation/ mitigation of risks at the level of M&A and privatisation transactions, environmental permitting and compliance matters, the functioning of the Emission Trading Scheme, the framework on natural protected areas, general waste management, the framework for various types of waste, liability for nuclear incidents, assessment of risks related to historical pollution.

Gaming

Our lawyers offer legal advice on all gaming matters, including organisation and exploitation of gambling activities, online gambling matters, gambling advertising, as well as joint venture agreements between private and public entities for organising and exploiting state monopoly gambling activities, advertising lotteries and other gaming/ promotional activities.

Our teams have substantial cross-disciplinary experience and our expertise in gaming legislation grew by constant collaboration with well known local and international companies acting in the gaming industry, as well as with other international law firms specialised in betting and gaming.

Infrastructure

The law firms within SEE Legal have advised on major projects initiated so far in the region for infrastructure, design, financing, construction, rehabilitation, operation and maintenance. Our teams of lawyers analyze projects from multiple perspectives in order to develop cost effective solutions tailored to the specific needs of our clients, including evaluation of country-specific factors that shape commercial and financial arrangements for each project.

Insurance

As all economies in the region of South East Europe are experiencing rapid growth and expansion, we have witnessed a greater concern towards risk which has led to an explosion in insurance premium sales. The insurance sector represents a substantial practice area for all SEE Legal members who represent leading regional and global insurance companies active in life and non-life insurance throughout the region. Our first rate reputation in this area ensures that clients from this industry are on the forefront of the changes taking place in this rapidly changing industry.

EU member states follow EU Insurance Directives, but other countries are increasingly adopting EU compliant legislation, resulting in a more cohesive region for international companies moving in. New products, private pension insurance, professional indemnity insurance in addition to the more traditional forms are all being developed in this growing area.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and architectural designs. Intellectual property plays an important role in an increasingly broad scope, ranging from the internet and health care to nearly all aspects of science and technology, literature and the arts. Within the SEE Legal Group, our firms advise on all aspects of IP protection.

Litigation and Arbitration

It is of significant importance to our clients that we guide them through all their business activities in the region. In that regard, their expectations of us as leading law firms, is that we are also able to advise them when faced with disputes. Our region-wide dispute resolution capabilities ranges from mitigation and mediation to full scale litigation and arbitration practices, continuously ranked as leading by all major international directories.

In difficult circumstances, we often take our clients through court proceedings guiding them as to the best strategy along the way. Our proactive and business-oriented approach ensures that we are on top of the matter in question at all times and we often win groundbreaking cases.

Our arbitration practices have grown as this solution remains an attractive one for countries in transition and for larger investors and states. Our arbitrators have regional and European experience in the largest arbitration centres.

Pharmaceutical and Health Care

Our firms have experienced teams of lawyers in this area, who focus on providing extended assistance and legal guidance on regulatory and compliance related aspects as well as on specific pharmaceutical business matters. Our lawyers successfully combine a detailed knowledge of relevant laws and regulations and complete and accurate understanding of the client’s business models with successful assistance and representation of clients before competent authorities in this field for each jurisdiction.

Privatisation

South East Europe has entered a new era of stability and economic recovery. Today, the region is composed of consolidated and newly established democracies, with active regional interaction promoting trade and investment. The scope of privatisation has become an important cornerstone in SEE.

All SEE Legal member firms have grown out of the privatisation process in their countries, with many firms leading in the sector. This method of attracting foreign capital into these markets has had a key effect in developing the economies of the region.

Public Procurement and PPP

Public Procurement involves the purchase of goods, services, concessions and PPP projects involving public and private partners. Public procurement is subject to EU and international rules although not all public procurement is subject to these obligations. Public sector procurement must follow transparent open procedures ensuring fair conditions of competition for suppliers and adequate balance of risks taken by public and private partner. All SEE Legal members have advised governments, investors and financiers on PPP projects.

Real Estate

Real Estate is a key practice area for all SEE Legal members who represent leading real estate developers, banks, financial institutions and real estate funds throughout the region. Our first rate reputation in this area ensures that clients in this domain are well versed in the up-to-date local practices in this growing sector.

Advice relates to local due diligence of locations, urban planning and construction laws, infrastructure agreements, zooming and utility access. Many markets in the region are experiencing particular interest in all forms of real estate, from residential and commercial property to hotel and tourism and entertainment facilities. Our real estate practice combines the best of local experience with the highest international standards to ensure that deals are concluded efficiently and safely.

Tax

Due to the specific importance of taxation in all commercial activities, SEE Legal members provide a wide scope of legal services related to different tax issues. Led by highly skilled and experienced tax and commercial lawyers, all SEE Legal members have developed a comprehensive and original approach to tax matters, dedicated to finding the most effective tax structures.

Tax presents an unavoidable issue when doing business, especially in respect to investments and financial deals, the acquisition and purchase of property or shares, formation and functioning of investment funds, restructuring and similar procedures. As thus, tax advice has become one of the most important services provided by the members of SEE Legal. In this respect, SEE Legal members have assisted in structuring transactions valued at millions of Euros, performed between leading companies, banks and financial organisations, solving their most sophisticated tax problems.

SEE Legal members are particularly focused on providing tax advice in the following areas: corporate income taxation, including local taxation and taxation of cross-border activities, and avoidance of double taxation, personal income taxation, property taxation, sales taxation, as well as assistance in complex tax litigation. All SEE Legal members have constant dialogue with policy makers, ensuring that clients’ needs are treated in the best possible manner.

Telecommunications and Media

The region of South East Europe has seen rapid expansion in telecommunications networks, new licences issued and many privatisations of existing state telecom operators. Each of the SEE Legal member firms have been engaged in this sector over many years which ensures that we have a full understanding of the sector and the underlying regulations. In many countries EU legislation dominates, however, in each there are significant policy matters and pending local regulation.

Our clients in this sector range from local and international telecom operators, internet service providers, cable companies and leading international TV networks. Telecommunications is a pivotal sector for the development of the region and further integration is necessary to improve efficiency. Our regional understanding of the sector and investors ensure that clients are served in a more integrated way, providing value to our clients as regional integration accelerates.

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