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    Paweł Zdort

    Managing Partner, Rymarz Zdort Maruta

    Paweł Zdort is an attorney-at-law admitted to practice in Poland, a managing partner of Rymarz Zdort Maruta, and a co-head of the mergers and acquisitions practice.

    He joined the firm in 1996. Pawel is a renowned specialist in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and private equity transactions. His clients include public and private companies, private equity funds, underwriters and institutional clients from a variety of industries. He also has broad experience in corporate governance and hostile takeover defence issues. He graduated, with distinction, from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw in 1998 and qualified as an attorney-at-law in 2003.

    He joined the firm in 1996. Pawel is a renowned specialist in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and private equity transactions. His clients include public and private companies, private equity funds, underwriters and institutional clients from a variety of industries. He also has broad experience in corporate governance and hostile takeover defence issues. He graduated, with distinction, from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw in 1998 and qualified as an attorney-at-law in 2003.

    The prestigious legal ranking publication Chambers & Partners has since 2007 ranked Paweł as one of the best specialists in Poland for corporate/M&A, capital markets and private equity, including currently ranking him in Band 1 for equity capital markets, corporate/M&A and private equity.

    Another prestigious legal ranking publication, The Legal 500, has many times ranked Paweł as a “Leading Individual” for equity capital markets and since 2018 it has ranked him in the same category for M&A and private equity.

    Paweł Zdort has for many years been ranked as one of Poland’s best lawyers for stock exchange debuts, capital markets and securities as well as M&A and restructuring in the legal ranking prepared by Rzeczpospolita.

    Giedre Aukstuoliene

    Giedre Aukstuoliene is a partner and chairs dispute resolution practice at Ellex Valiunas since 2018, she is also a member of Ellex Valiunas Advisory Board. 

    For more than 15 years Ms Aukstuoliene’s practice is focused on arbitration, and she successfully represented clients in complex, high-profile disputes across a wide range of sectors in international commercial arbitration, including energy and corporate disputes. Giedre was part of the team which successfully represented the Republic of Lithuania in several investment arbitration proceedings. She also assists with recognition and enforcement issues.

    In addition to her other publications, Giedre is an author of the IBA report on arbitration for Lithuania and has contributed with translations of several IBA guidelines in arbitration into Lithuanian with an aim to raise awareness of IBA and best international practices in Lithuania. 

    David Burgess

    Publishing Director | The Legal 500 Series

    David has been working in tax and legal research advisory services for 26 years. Previously at Euromoney plc and a tax consultant, he joined Legalease in 2004 with responsibility for driving a variety of new launches. In 2007, David was responsible for the launch of The Legal 500 US, which in twelve editions has become the leading directory of elite law firms in the United States. In September 2008, he took over as Publishing Director for The Legal 500 – which now spans The Legal 500 UK, EMEA, US, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Deutschland, The Legal 500 Paris, Canada and Caribbean. The Legal 500 portfolio has extended in recent years to now cover the GC Powerlist series, GC magazine, fivehundred magazine, International Comparative Guides, and over 350 events in 65 countries.

    In March 2019, David became a member of the advisory board at the Association of Corporate Counsel Alliance, and was named in the “1,000 Global leaders and influencers in legal business” in 2018. He joined the International Bar Association’s Law Firm Management Committee, becoming an officer in 2022 with a focus on membership and general counsel relations. He travels extensively across the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe speaking at conferences, providing bespoke training sessions for law firms and most importantly, speaking to GCs to ensure that The Legal 500 is providing the information that they need to help them run their departments.

    Dr. Natascha Doll

    Partner Freshfields

    Natascha is a truly international lawyer specialising in advising global financial investor clients on acquisitions, disposals and co-investments across a number of jurisdictions.

    Having qualified both as a German lawyer (Rechtsanwältin) and as a solicitor (England and Wales), Natascha’s approach to M&A advice is holistic and international. Culturally versatile and speaking six languages, she particularly enjoys working on complex cross-border deals. Clients value her special expertise in regulated industries, including infrastructure and energy.

    Natascha is also an expert for M&A transactions and privatisations in the CEE/CIS region, where she has advised investors on some of the most sizeable deals. She is one of our lead country partners for CEE/CIS.


    Marcin Schulz

    Partner, Linklaters

    Marcin Schulz is a partner in the Warsaw corporate practice of Linklaters. With over two decades of experience, Marcin specializes in providing expert advice to international financial institutions, top-tier private equity funds, and large corporations on a range of matters including Polish and cross-border M&A transactions, private equity deals, and restructurings (including distressed asset sales and pre-sale restructurings). He is an active member of the Warsaw Financial Regulatory Group and the CEE desk team. Marcin has successfully managed numerous transactions across various sectors, such as finance, insurance, healthcare, TMT, chemical, and energy. Chambers, The Legal 500 and IFLR1000 directories have consistently ranked him among the top professionals for Corporate/M&A in Poland.

    Prof. Dr. Jörg K. Menzer

    Partner, Head of Bucharest Office, Noerr

    Jörg K. Menzer has been an active member of the IBA – the world’s largest lawyers’ organization – since 2007.

    With years of experience working alongside the IBA organisation, promoting the rule of law and the independence of the legal profession throughout the global network of IBA, he was elected as IBA Secretary-General and serves as such since January 2023. Until 2022 he held various functions within the IBA. He was Co-Chair of the European Regional Forum, Member of the Law Firm Management Committee Advisory Board and Chair of the Section on Public and Professional Interest.

    He has been at Noerr for over two decades, currently serving as an M&A, corporate and state-aid specialist, and head of the firm’s Bucharest office. He specializes in M&A transactions and concentrates on structuring major foreign investments and business expansion projects in Romania. He has extensive experience in acquisitions and greenfield investments, based on his knowledge of the business and legal environment in Romania and his excellent networking in the region.

    In addition, Jörg K. Menzer has worked on many restructurings, private equity investments and capital measures, as well as for public listed companies. Most of the projects Mr. Menzer advised on, had an economic impact in CEE and Romania and led to the development either of certain regions or in specific industries.

    Sera Somay


    Sera Somay is the partner heading the banking and finance practice at Paksoy.

    Ms Somay’s practice covers a broad range of financing transactions including; club loans, syndicated loans, regulatory capital, ECA covered loans, acquisition financing, various forms of secured financing and other structured financings. She has been representing international and local lenders as well as Turkish borrowers including the Republic of Turkey. She worked on the first AT1 issuance by a Turkish bank.

    Ms Somay is also working on financial restructuring of debt and on debt collection proceedings and bankruptcy proceedings. She is advising funds and other institutional debt investors on their investment in the Turkish debt markets.

    Ms Somay also advises on regulatory M&As across a variety of sectors with a focus on Banking M&As.

    She is a member of the International Bar Association.

    In 2018, in 2019, in 2020 and in 2021, Sera Somay was named as a Women Leader by IFLR 1000, which is the guide to the world’s leading financial law firms recognising 300 female lawyers globally and 13 from Turkey that consider to be among the best transactional specialists in their markets and practice areas. 

    Robert Gawałkiewicz

    Managing Partner, attorney-at-law

    Affiliated with SK&S since 1994, and a Partner since 2000. In his legal practice he focuses on consultancy work in what can be broadly defined as commercial law, company law and M&A. Advises clients on all aspects of domestic and international trade, as well as in transactions and restructuring processes covering a range of business fields, including various industries, the FMCG sector and the media, and in litigation and arbitration disputes. He is the head of SK&S’s German Desk. He also acts as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Chamber of Commerce and is the author of numerous publications on commercial law.

    Stephen Revell

    Making Change Happen

    Following his retirement from Freshfields, Stephen has established a consulting firm in London/Singapore – Making Change Happen – through which he provides management advice to law firms and other professional service providers throughout the world.  He advises on a wide range of topics relevant to the management of law firms, ranging from governance and remuneration to right sizing business services and implementing new pricing strategies. 

    Stephen practised at Freshfields for over 41 years on 3 different continents and was a partner for 33 years.  He has extensive experience representing corporate and institutional clients in all types of corporate transactions – from M&A and joint ventures to IPOs, equity offerings and debt offerings of all kinds – many with a cross-border element and involving emerging markets – he has worked in over 50 countries.

    As part of his portfolio of activities, he is a member of the advisory boards of several law firms and is an independent non-executive director on the board of several companies including Crown Resorts Limited, a leading player in the Australian entertainment industry.

    He is co-author of a variety of books and a regular speaker on law firm management.  Most recently he edited a second edition of “Business Development” – an IBA/Globe book that is the ‘bible’ on the subject. 

    Stephen has been very active in the IBA for many years and is involved in a wide array of project, activities and committees.  He is presently Co-Chair of the Law Firm Management Committee.

    Timur Bondaryev

    Founding and Managing Partner at Arzinger, attorney-at-law

    Timur Bondaryev has more than 20 years of professional legal experience and is the Founding Partner and Managing Partner of the law firm ARZINGER – the largest independent law firm with its head office in Kyiv and regional branches in Western and Southern Ukraine.  

    Timur Bondarev is a respected lawyer with an exceptional reputation in the Ukrainian and international markets. Timur specializes in supporting complex transactions, investment arbitration disputes, and antitrust investigations in Ukraine and abroad with the participation of international and national investors. Timur’s expertise in transactional support, real estate, and antitrust law has been recognized for many years by leading Ukrainian and international ratings, including Chambers, Legal 500, Best Lawyers etc.

    Timur has been a valuable member of different committees of the International Bar Association and American Bar Association for many years and participated as a speaker in a great variety of international professional conferences.

    Alexandru Birsan

    Partner, Filip & Company

    Alex is one of the founding partners of Filip & Company and head of Corporate, M&A and Capital Markets department. His background includes diverse experience in other areas such as privatisations, telecommunications and IT, real estate, project financing, energy, and banking. Previously Alex has worked for seven years in the Bucharest, London, and Paris offices of a Magic Circle firm and has acted on projects in a large number of jurisdictions in CEE, CIS as well as Western Europe.

    Cristina Filip

    Managing partner, Filip & Company

    Managing partner Cristina Filip has a broad expertise in M&A transactions and corporate matters, representing clients in complex high-profile deals, multi-lawyered partnerships, and large restructurings across various sectors, including financial services, energy, and natural resources, media, and automotive. Energy is a key area for which Cristina is recognised as a leading legal expert.

    Boris Šavorić

    Senior and Managing Partner

    Boris is a founding partner of one of the leading Croatian law firms with more than 25 years of experience in legal advisory and client training. He has a Magister Iuris degree in Law from the University of Zagreb. Boris led a significant number of largest and most complex transactions, privatisations and acquisitions in Croatia in past decades providing his services to clients in high-profile corporate, M&A, capital markets and financial projects in Croatia.

    He built an understanding of major levels of legal risk and solutions as he successfully managed various teams and demanding structures. During his career, Boris advised premier international clients, leading multinational corporations, PEs, financial institutions, listed companies, banks, investment funds and clients from various industries.

    Boris is a visiting lecturer at Zagreb Faculty of Law, providing students insight into legal practice and attorney profession, M&A structures and strategies, negotiation skills, etc. Boris is a speaker at international legal conferences and has publish several articles in legal journals.

    Boris has been a member of Supervisory Board of a number of leading Croatian joint stock companies implementing high corporate governance standards.

    Glib Bondar

    Glib Bondar is a Senior Partner of AVELLUM and the Head of Finance and Energy practices. Glib focuses on financings, capital markets and debt restructurings.

    Markus Bruckmüller

    Partner, Corporate M&A of Wolf Theiss

    Markus Bruckmüller is a partner in the practice group Corporate M&A of Wolf Theiss and has been with the firm since 2001. Since 2003, he manages the firm’s branch in Ljubljana (Slovenia). He is admitted to the bar in Austria and registered as a foreign attorney in Slovenia. He specializes in the legal fields of corporate & M&A, banking & finance and real estate. His career experience includes advising on several large-scale M&A transactions across different sectors with a particular focus on the financial industry, on, cross-border banking and finance projects and real estate transactions. Markus regularly holds internal and external lectures on legal aspects of M&A transactions and restructurings and has authored a number of publications with a focus on corporate law, real estate and restructurings. He is active as a member of the board of the Slovenian branch of Red Noses International, the international organisation of clowndoctors. Markus graduated from the University of Vienna. Before joining Wolf Theiss, Markus had worked as a research assistant at the University of Economics and Business Administration in Vienna as well as for an Austrian law firm.

    Goran Ilej

    Senior Partner

    Goran is a Senior Partner and the head of the Croatian practice. With over 20 years of experience, he has acquired strong expertise in advising clients in a wide range of corporate transactions, including M&A, joint ventures, equity investments, restructurings, acquisition and project financings, etc. Goran regularly assists domestic and international companies with various matters related to Croatian corporate and banking & finance law, often involving multiple jurisdictions and complex structures and relations.

    Judith Gliniecki

    Judith Gliniecki is General Counsel with CEE Equity Partners Ltd. and serves as a Key Person for the China-CEE Funds I and II, to which CEE Equity Partners is the investment advisor. 

    Judi’s work is focused on transactional matters.  As a part of this, she supervises the legal work on all Funds’ transactions throughout the CEE region.  To date, the Funds have made acquisitions in 7 CEE region countries, and deal opportunities were considered in many more. 

    Judi has been based in Poland since the mid-1990’s.  Before Judi made the transition to private equity in 2014, she led the M&A/corporate law practice of an international law firm.  In her private practice days, she advised international, regional and Polish clients on transactional matters in various sectors, including TMT and manufacturing.

    Judi holds a BA from Wellesley College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

    Martin Kriz

    Martin Kriz leads the M&A practice of PRK Partners in Prague and Bratislava. His work focuses on transactions in the sectors of energy, infrastructure, media, insurance and finance. With the exception of 1999 and 2000 when he worked as a foreign associate in a leading firm in the City of London, Martin has been working with PRK Partners since 1996. He became partner in 2001. Martin holds law degrees from the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague and Comenius University Law School in Bratislava, as well as an MBA from Warwick Business School in England. He is an attorney at law admitted to the Czech and Slovak Bar Associations.     

    Mirella Lechna-Marchewka

    Public procurement. Managing partner.

    Mirella Lechna-Marchewka graduated in law from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, completed a postgraduate course on the Washington CITES Convention, and postgraduate studies in environmental protection. After completing a Master of Law degree in Public Procurement Law, in 2019 she started a PhD at the Faculty of Law at the University of Nottingham.

    She has been with Wardyński & Partners since 1997 and has headed the Wrocław office since 2009. In 2023, she was elected Managing Partner to oversee the work of all local offices, specialist and administration teams.

    Her legal work involves three of the firm’s practice areas: infrastructure, transport, public procurement and PPP; environmental protection; and the energy sector. She also coordinates the firm’s Korean Desk and Chinese Desk. The high positions she attains in international rankings such as IFLR, The Legal 500 EMEA and Chambers Europe, attest to her qualifications and the highest quality of her work.

    Mirella is also involved in many outside initiatives. She is a joint chair of the International Construction Projects committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, a member of the Council of the PPP Centre Foundation, and a founding member as well as a board member of the Public Procurement Law Association.

    Oleg Roibu

    Oleg Roibu is the General Counsel of eMAG Group coordinating the legal, public policy and sustainability efforts of the group in CEE, but also Brussels. Oleg has been actively involved in promoting the e-commerce sector and digital economy from the position of Vice President of the Romanian E-commerce Association (ARMO). He is also a supporter of the development of the Romanian ICT sector as a member of the Board of Directors of the Services Industry Association (ANIS). He is the co-author of the documentary booklet “Digital Romania. Operational Concepts and Tools.

    Tijana Kojović

    Senior Partner
    Managing Partner

    Tijana is the founding and managing partner of BDK. She is active in the firm’s transactional, antitrust and dispute resolution work, managing complex projects and advising on strategic matters. She is a Board member of the Belgrade Arbitration Centre due to her outstanding experience in international arbitration.

    Tijana is the only Serbian lawyer ranked by Legal 500 in four practice areas: within Hall of Fame category for Commercial, corporate and M&A and Dispute resolution, and as a leading individual for Banking, Finance and Competition practice areas. She is among the leading female transactional experts, according to the 2022 edition of IFLR1000 Women Leaders, included in the Legal 500 Arbitration Power List 2021 for CEE and ranked as Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation Europe 2022.

    Tijana holds an LLM and PhD in International Business Law from the Central European University in Budapest. She has published articles in legal journals and publications.

    Perry V. Zizzi

    Managing Partner, Romania | Head of Corporate

    Perry V. Zizzi is Managing Partner of the Bucharest office, head of the Corporate practice group in Romania and a core member of the Real Estate team. He has over a quarter century of experience advising on M&A in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the US and elsewhere. He has particular expertise advising private equity clients and he is recognized as a market leader in real estate M&A.

    Perry is President, Founder and Board Member of the Romanian Diversity Chamber of Commerce (RDCC), the world’s first organization of this type, which strives to promote the principles of diversity and inclusion in the Romanian business community and to support the development of the Romanian economy through implementation of greater diversity and inclusion.

    Zdravka Ugrinova

    Managing Partner

    Zdravka Ugrinova is one of the Managing Partners in DGKV, heading the M&A and Corporate Practice Groups. She is a leading lawyer in Bulgaria with significant experience and expertise in corporate and commercial law, private equity transactions, acquisitions in various industries of private and publicly listed companies, JVs and concessions.

    Zdravka has been the lead lawyer advising major domestic and international clients of the firm in some of the largest M&A, private equity, joint venture, privatization, and infrastructure projects to ever originate on the Bulgarian market. She has been involved in a number of high-profile M&A transactions both local and cross-border. Zdravka is recognized and highly praised for her professionalism and profound knowledge by both clients and partners. Zdravka is ranked in Band 1 as a market-leading transactional lawyer for Commercial, Corporate and M&A in Chambers and Partners Europe, Legal 500 EMEA and IFLR1000.

    Aku Sorainen

    Senior partner, SORAINEN

    Aku Sorainen is the founder and senior partner of SORAINEN, an international business law firm with offices in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Founded in 1995, the firm has grown organically to 44 partners and over 250 lawyers with integrated legal practice and sector groups, firm-wide leadership, quality management processes and business services. Aku is of Finnish origin but has worked as a lawyer in the Baltic states since 1993.

    In 2015, Aku was honoured to receive the Knight’s Cross, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland from Finnish President Sauli Niinistö for two decades of work developing relations between Estonia and Finland; and in 2021, he was awarded the Service Cross of the Estonian Foreign Ministry for promoting Estonia’s national interest. Aku is also the honorary consul of Malta in Estonia. He is recognised as an eminent practitioner by international legal directories and is an active member of the IBA.

    Milica Pešterić

    Partner, Bojović Drašković Popović & Partners

    Milica is partner and a head of ESG department at Bojović Drašković Popović & Partners, with more than 10 years of experience in energy sector in Serbia. Her main focus is on energy, contract law as well as overall commercial law. Milica is an active member of the Serbian Energy Law Association (UPES), RES Serbia and CANSEE.

    She participated in many energy conferences, publications, and various energy projects led by EBRD, GIZ, Rio Tinto, etc.

    Milica earned her LL.M. from the Queens’ College, Cambridge University. She earned her LL.B. from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law.

    Milica is fluent in English and has an upper-intermediate knowledge of German. Milica is a member of the Serbian Bar Association.

    Milica is ranked as a “Rising Star” in Commercial, Corporate and M&A and Project and Energy within The Legal 500 EMEA report.

    Eva Bognar

    Head of the Labour Law practice, Lakatos Köves and Partners

    Eva Bognar is a top ranked international employment law expert and heads the Labour Law practice of Lakatos Köves and Partners in Hungary. She is highly experienced in cross-border transactions, executive hiring and terminations, incentive schemes, complex deal management, multi-jurisdictional restructuring and compliance projects. AI and digitalization in the HR field, platform usage and
    discrimination risks represent a key focus of her practice.
    Eva holds degrees from the ELTE University of Budapest and the Humboldt University of Berlin and a postgraduate qualification in EU-law. Since 2001, Eva has been practicing law at various leading law firms, including Freshfields and Linklaters.

    Borislav Boyanov

    Managing Partner, Boyanov & Co

    Borislav is Managing Partner of Boyanov & Co. He specialises in M&A, Banking and Public Affairs. He is the only Bulgarian lawyer listed in Who’s Who Legal for M&A and Governance 2010-2023 and Private Client 2015-2022. Borislav has been active member of the International Bar Association since 1989, being Co-Chair of its European Regional Forum and member of various boards. He is Honorary Chair and Active Co-Chair of Southeast Europe Legal Group – the leading regional service provider in SEE for the last 20 years.

    His activity is dedicated to promoting the rule of law, improving the business climate in Southeast Europe. Since 2000 Borislav co-chairs a bi-annual event called Balkan Legal Forum, which with its 11 editions has been described as “the best legal event in the region” with averaged participation from 34 countries from the five continents.