DLA Piper slams the door on Bulgaria

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  • The Bulgarian authorities did all they could - and even attempted more, in breach of EU rules - to stop any foreign lawyers from practising in BG. I suppose that the foreign law firms have had enough of the tricks being played on them, just as many Western engineering, consultancy, etc entities before them. After all, the market there is minuscule and the clients with money are almost always money launderers. Gradually, the major foreign presence there shall remain Greeks, Turks and some odd Austrian formations mostly representing exported communist capitals in the late 80s. Pity!

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  • I presume that DLA Piper persuaded the Law Society to campaign for British firms to be allowed into Bulgaria. This must have been a costly exercise in time, money and effort. All for the benefit of Austria. Whilst EU law allows us into Bulgaria there will always be a limited demand for common law firms in a Roman Law jurisdiction whose civil law is baswed on German Law. Never mind, it is the principle that counts, as always.

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  • It was clear that this will happen as DLA is not able to manage throughout CEE after it split of the CEE region. Bulgaria was never unprofitable but the DLA business model does not fit for smaller jurisdictions which for the future will make it difficult for DLA to position as a full service law provider which is able to serve clients globally.
    However other CEE offices of DLA will follow and we can expect some bad news in this respect in the near future.

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  • Did anyone mention that Ms Rizova-Clegg is married to the only Wolf-Theiss partner in Bulgaria (the expat Richard Clegg)? Hence the team movement is not surprising at all.
    The business model of these foreign law shops, opening offices in CEE was obviously sick, since they have been expecting to live on the high-tide of the foreign investments only, being totally unable to attract local clients and offer legal support other than set-up of business, and basic M&A.

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  • I enjoyed the comment on the relationships between Wolf Theiss and DLA Piper in Bulgaria. What was left unsaid was the fact that CMS Cameron McKenna, DLA Piper and Wolf Theiss ventured into Bulgaria on the back of the local incumbent telecom - BTC. One single connection between all those names - Richard Clegg. How convenient to be a former recruit of CMS Cameron McKenna assigned to BTC (Richard Clegg); to have your wife (Anna Rizova-Clegg) made a sole local partner in a law firm (DLA Piper, note: launched by the previous sole partner of CMS Cameron McKenna - Peter Valert), and to have placed yourself in Wolf Theiss after leaving the chief legal counsel function in BTC (Richard Clegg). What a saga, right?! Even the cheap soap operas rarely allow themselves such amusing scenarios; and even the local "top" law practitioners (which have been through lots of suspicious transformations) can claim to have created such a fairytale. Congratulations to the lotto winners!

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