Romania forces foreign law firms to change their names

In an attempt to temper the dominance of international firms in Bucharest, the Romanian government has ordered all foreign entities in the capital to change their names.

Firms such as Linklaters & Alliance, CMS Cameron McKenna and Altheimer & Gray have all been told to give up their brands or face possible criminal prosecution.
A law drawn up by the Buch-arest bar and passed by the government states: “In the case of companies with foreign associate-lawyers, the company’s name shall compulsorily include the name of at least one of the Romanian associate-lawyers.”
The law has caused many firms to promote Romanian senior lawyers to name partner status. Linklaters’ Bucharest office is now called Miculiti & Asociatii Linklaters, after a Romanian associate in the office; Camerons has changed its name to CMS Cameron McKenna Cristina Brinzan Law Office, after senior Romanian lawyer Cristina Brinzen; and accountancy firm Ernst & Young has restructured its in-house legal team as a Romanian firm called Testa David, after two of the Romanian lawyers in the team.
Firms were given a June deadline to comply with the rules. US firm Altheimer and Sinclair Roche & Temperley have still not had their new names confirmed.
The new law also requires that international firms employ at least an equal amount of Romanian and foreign lawyers. Linklaters was the first international firm in Bucharest to comply with both regulations.
Linklaters has just appointed four extra Romanian lawyers, including ex-Taylor Joynson Garrett senior lawyer Adrian Bulboaca, to even out its numbers. Taylor Joynson has just shut down its Bucharest office (The Lawyer, 6 August).
Many Romanian lawyers practising in Bucharest are pleased with the changes. One such Romanian associate said: “There are some Western firms here that only employ lawyers who have not studied Romanian law, who know nothing about it, and who rely solely on their brand names to get work.”