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The three members of Baltic alliance Lawin are a step closer to a full merger after consolidating their management and creating firmwide practice heads.
Strategic decisions for the three Lawin firms, based in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will now be made by a six-member management board, with Filip Klavins, name partner at Latvian firm Klavins & Slaidins, as chairman.
“After 20 years of leadership in each of the Baltic countries and six years of pan-Baltic cooperation, we already work together with the major businesses in energy, banking, IT and other industry sectors in the region,” said Klavins. “Our current integration includes working in combined practice groups, having unified service standards and providing client services across the region. This year we’re taking a further step by uniting our three law firms into one pan-Baltic firm.”
Klavins said the firms have built up a level of trust over the years that allows them to delegate central decisions.
“A decision may come from our Vilnius office or it may come from Tallinn, but we know that whoever makes the decision won’t just be thinking about their own office, but taking into account the whole firm,” he added.
Klavins was elected by the management board and will serve a one-year term as chairman before handing over to Lithuanian partner Rolandas Valiuñas, who is also a member of the new board.
The other four members of the board are Lithuanian partner Žilvinas Zinkevicius, Latvian partner Raimonds Slaidins and Estonian partners Peeter Lepik and Martin Simovart.
Lawin has also appointed firmwide heads for its five core practice areas: corporate and M&A; banking and finance; industries and regulatory; real estate; and dispute resolution.
Board member Simovart will head M&A, while Ermo Kosk, Jaunius Gumbis, Tomas Milasauskas and Igal Gudrenika-Krebs will head the banking, regulatory, real estate and disputes practices respectively.
The combined firms have 210 members of staff, including 130 lawyers, as well as dedicated finance and marketing directors - something that is uncommon among Baltic law firms.
The three member firms making up Lawin are Tallinn-based Lepik & Luhaäär, Riga’s Klavins & Slaidins and Lideika Petrauskas Valiunas ir Partneriai in Vilnius. The firm has begun phasing out the use of the local names except for certain official documents and hopes to have dropped them completely within six to 12 months.
Lawin has not merged its finances, although Klavins said: “We’ve not merged finances because we don’t need to - if we do, then we’ll do it.”
Other pan-Baltic firms include Sorainen, which has offices in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus, and the Borenius Group of law firms, which are represented in Finland and the Baltic states.
In August Lawin’s Lithuanian office advised life sciences specialist Fermentas International on its $260m (£169m) acquisition by Thermo Fisher Scientific.
This was the largest transaction in the Baltic states in the past 20 years and was praised by the country’s prime minister Andrius Kubilius.