Gide looks south with new Belgrade office

French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel has launched a new office in Serbia and Montenegro in a bid to capture more privatisation work.

Associate François d’Ornano will move from the firm’s Budapest office to lead the Belgrade expansion. He will be joined by one lawyer from Paris, who is French, Serbian and Croatian-qualified, and a local lawyer scooped from the European Reconstruction Agency.

“The Belgrade office can assist clients in each of the countries of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, especially Croatia, Bosnia-Herzogovina and Slovenia. A presence in this market is essential for our credibility in the region,” d’Ornano told The Lawyer.

The office launch continues a southerly expansion of the firm’s Central and Eastern European network, which has been pioneered by Budapest head Jacques de Sarvigny.

The main focus for the Belgrade office will be advising existing Eastern European clients on privatisations and project finance. The firm launched a Serbian desk based in Budapest last year and has assisted with the harmonisation of Serbian legislation with EU laws.

Clyde & Co was the first international law firm to launch a Belgrade office after the war in 2001, and the Austrian ally of CMS Cameron McKenna, CMS Strommer Hasche Sigle, also has a Belgrade office.
Linklaters has been particularly aggressive in targeting privatisation work in Serbia from its Budapest office.

Gide’s other offices in the region comprise Bucharest, Budapest, Istanbul, Moscow, Prague and Warsaw.