Roschier Holmberg gears up for European Union accession with Baltic Rim alliance

Finland’s largest law firm Roschier Holmberg has launched an alliance with firms from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as the Baltic Rim edges closer to EU accession.

The Finnish Baltic alliance was announced the day after the creation of another new Baltic alliance called the Lawin Group, which is between Lithuania’s Lideika Petrauskas Valiunas & Partners, Latvia’s Klavins & Slaidins and Estonia’s Lepik & Luhaäär.

Roschier’s cross-border operation will be called RoschierRaidla and will draw on the services of Roschier, Estonia’s Raidla & Partners, Latvia’s Lejins Torgans & Vonsovics and Lithuania’s Norcous & Partners.

The firms comprising RoschierRaidla will be equal partners working towards what will effectively be a merger of the four firms.

“The final structure we haven’t resolved yet… I don’t think that [differing profits] is a bar towards anything, because if you want structural change and cross-ownership, you can always find solutions to what differences exist locally,” said Roschier senior partner Tomas Lindholm.

Roschier houses 100 lawyers out of the combined four firms’ 150 attorneys. The Finnish firm has fostered a relationship with 30-partner Raidla since the latter was founded in 1993, after Estonia was granted independence from the Soviet Union. The bond between the two firms has developed over the last 18 months into a best friends relationship as the two firms prepared for the alliance.

Lindholm commented: “The vision is that there’ll be considerable growth. The major part of that growth will be from the Baltics, because Finland is a relatively mature market and can not expect much growth.”

RoschierRaidla is the latest expansionist move by Finnish firms cementing historical and cultural ties with the Baltic region.

Late last year, Helsinki’s Borenius & Kemppinen went one further than Roschier by securing joint ownership in two 12-lawyer practices in Latvia and Estonia.

The Latvian firm is called Liepa Skopina Borenius and the Estonian firm Luiga Mugu & Borenius. Borenius is now finalising a merger in Lithuania.

The firms in brief

Roschier Holmberg (Finland)
The firm was founded in 1936. It is Finland’s largest firm, with 100 lawyers. Its predicted turnover for the year ending May 2004 is &eur;28.7m (£19.2m).

Raidla & Partners (Estonia)
Raidla was founded in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1993. It has 30 lawyers and its managing partner is Jüri Raidla.

Lejins Torgans & Vonsovics (Latvia)
The firm was founded in Riga in 1994 and has 11 lawyers.

Norcous & Partners (Lithuania)
Norcous was founded in 2001 in Vilnius and has grown rapidly into a leading Lithuanian law firm with 11 lawyers.

The Lawin Group:

Klavins & Slaidins (Latvia)
Launched in 1992, Klavins has 13 lawyers in Riga with plans to add an additional three lawyers during the next quarter.

Lepik & Luhaäär (Estonia)
The firm, established in 1990, claims to be the first private law firm to be founded since the post-war period in Estonia. It is situated in Tallinn and has 20 lawyers.

Lideika Petrauskas Valiunas & Partners (Lithuania)
The firm started life in 1992 and is situated in Vilnius. It also has a branch in the Klaipeda seaport. Lideika has 28 lawyers, seven assistant lawyers, two tax advisers and one adviser on competition matters.