The European Commission is to report in May on Romania’s suitability to join the EU from 1 January 2007. National firm Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen is playing a key role in the process, helping the government draft new legislation to appease Brussels.
“We’ve helped the government draft the mortgage bond law, which has just passed; the securitisation laws and the privatisation laws were done by us as well,” says senior partner Adriana Gaspar.
“The legal system in Romania is quite different when compared with our neighbouring countries,” he adds. “The financial institutions and private sector have done a lot in driving the process of changing the legislations and getting uniformity. A lot of this has been because of the EU accession process too.”
Nestors is a member firm of the South East Europe Legal Alliance (SEE Alliance). The largest Romanian firm in terms of revenue, it is one of the very few firms that has successfully combined Western-style legal standards with intimate local knowledge.
The firm, through the SEE Alliance, has a number of connections with leading UK and US firms and is happy to have an open door policy with all Western firms. “The moment you go exclusive with one, you blow up all your bridges with the others,” says Gaspar.
The firm currently has two offices, but as the country’s economy grows Nestors is planning on riding on the coat tails, with plans for two key locations for expansion already well advanced. “Constanta is a port on the Black Sea and is a big draw for EU investment,” says Gaspar. “Our office there will open later in 2006.”
The second target is the city of Cluj, a growth town 270 miles from the capital. Cluj will be the centre of operations for key client Bechtel in its 425km motorway project. “[Cluj] is the main centre of operations and our client needs us there,” insists Gaspar.
But new offices are causing growing pains, with the firm finding the recruitment of talented local lawyers tough going. The firm hopes to grow organically but it will not shy away from lateral hires.
Nestors’ reputation as the leader in the Romanian market is backed up by its deals. “The size of deals we’re doing for our clients, Romanians don’t even know how to write these numbers,” says Gaspar.
The firm recently completed the E3.75bn (£2.6bn) privatisation of the country’s national bank. It also advised a Romanian-US enterprise on a E100m (£69.2m) sale of a mortgage and lease company.
Senior partner: Adriana Gaspar
Turnover: E7m (£4.9m)
Total number of lawyers: 65
Total number of partners: Nine
Main practice areas: Corporate M&A, securities and capital markets, real estate, IP
Key clients: AstraZeneca, Bechtel, Deutsche Bank, Philip Morris, Pirelli, the Romanian government, Vodafone Romania, UBS
Number of offices: Two
Locations: Bucharest, Timisoara