With a population only second in size to Poland’s, any lawyer operating in international markets will now be well aware of Romania as one of the most exciting of the emerging markets in Eastern Europe.
From the early 1990s the country has seen some of the largest and most consistent growth in GDP in the world. This burgeoning prosperity has attracted international law firms, which have been tracking the progress of privatisation and commercial projects and trying to shoehorn their way into the country’s legal market, which is already extremely well served by its established domestic firms.
For reasons of ‘inevitability’ and part-coincidence, 2008 saw a glut of firms – some half-a-dozen – open up in Bucharest. But it may be too late.
The downturn has affected Romania more than its neighbours, and with projects drying up and expertise hard to find, 2009 could see as many firms leave the country as quickly as they arrived.