Baltic firm Varul has relaunched an office in Latvia following a merger with local Riga outfit BDO Zelmenis & Liberte.
The move follows the closure of Varul’s office in Riga in October following the departure of founding partner Gints Vilgerts and his entire four-partner, eight-lawyer team to kickstart the Latvian office of Swedish firm Magnusson (4 October 2012). Varul first established a presence in Riga in 2010.
BDO Zelmenis & Liberte, which was founded in 2007 by two lawyers from Deloitte Latvia, Janis Zelmenis and Vita Liberte, focuses primarily on tax law, M&A and litigation matters.
The merger takes effect from the beginning of this year and will bring Varul’s total headcount across Tallinn, Tartu, Riga and Vilnius to 83.
Commenting on the significance of the merger for Varul’s prominence in the region, Robert Juodka, managing partner at Varul Lithuania, said: “Having one of the top business law firms in Latvia join the Varul alliance undoubtedly means great synergy and adds value to our numerous Baltic and international clientele, who are active on both regional and international markets.”
Varul is not the only firm to have adopted a pan-Baltic approach in recent years. In December 2011 Šarka Sabaliauskas Jankauskas in Lithuania, Latvia’s Treilons & Petrovičs and Estonian firm Tamme Otsmann Ruus Vabamets joined forces to create Triniti (7 December 2011). In 2010 Lawin announced it was close to completing a full merger between its Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian members after a six-year cooperation agreement (27 September 2011).
For BDO Zelmenis & Liberte, the time had come to shift from a Latvian to a pan-Baltic platform, said founding partner Vita Liberte: “The time for small local firms is over in Latvia. Today our clients demand a fast and multidisciplinary service that can only be provided by a pan-Baltic team with wide specialisation.”
“During its five years of operation, our office has experienced rapid growth and has achieved the set goal – we’re one of the five largest providers of legal and tax services in Latvia and in order to achieve further business goals we need to join forces with VARUL’s Baltic alliance,” adds Jānis Zelmenis, newly appointed managing partner at Varul Latvia.