22 year anniversary of the Forum!

11th Balkan Legal Forum – Legal Practice Transformation!

30 JUNE/1 JULY 2022


Over Twenty Years On – applying the lessons learned from the past 20 years to the future and, more importantly, discussing what comes next for law firms in the region. This discussion is taking place with an unprecedented political situation on the region’s border with impacts throughout Europe and worldwide, but we must look forward,meet and exchange ideas.

18:30 - 20:00

Welcome Reception, Park Hyatt

Supported by the Vienna Host Committee
Host Committee Chair: Dr Martin J Brodey, Dorda, Vienna; IBA Corporate and M&A Law Committee

Throughout the conference there will be a Legal Tech Fest consisting of providers of legal tech. You have the opportunity to talk with representatives at their stalls, and they will be making a series of “lunch and learn” presentations.

09:00 - 09:30

Official Opening of the Forum

Opening remarks
Peter Bartlett, MinterEllison, Melbourne; Chair, IBA LPD Officers
• Borislav Boyanov, Boyanov & Co., Sofia; Member of the Boards, IBA European Regional Forum and IBA Law Firm Management Committee
Jörg Menzer, Noerr, Bucharest; Chair, IBA SPPI
Stephen Revell, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Singapore; Co-Vice Chair, IBA Law Firm Management Committee

Welcome from the President of the IBA
Sternford Moyo, Scanlen & Holderness, Harare; IBA President

09:30 - 10:45

What has happened in the last 20 years and how will it shape the next 20

The first part of the session will look back at the last 20 years of events and challenges in Central and Eastern Europe, examining in particular key successes and learning points for the future. Our panel is made up of senior members of the profession who have led law firms for over 30 years. During the second part on day 2 – What will really happen in the next 20 years – we speak with the new generation of law firm leaders on their expectations for the next two decades and their takeaways from the conference. We will discuss a variety of topics in this first session including:

Is the rule of law now alive and well?
Respect for lawyers – up or down?
International law firms came and went? – what will happen in the future
The voice of clients – is it louder and what does that mean for law firms?

Moderator: Stephen Revell, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Singapore; Co-Vice Chair, IBA Law Firm Management Committee:

Ted Talk - Can the past inform the future?

Peter Bartlett, MinterEllison, Melbourne; Chair, IBA LPD Officers

Borislav Boyanov, Boyanov & Co, Sofia; Balkan Legal Forum Liaison Officer, IBA Law Firm Management Committee
Nina Selih, Odvetniki Šelih & Partnerji, Ljubljana
Andras Szecskay, Szecskay Attorneys at Law, Budapest
Tomasz Wardynski, Wardynski & Partners, Warsaw
Branko Maric, Maric & Co., Sarajevo

10:45 - 11:15

Coffee Break

11:15 - 12:15

Technology – It’s changing clients; is it changing law firms?

Clients all say they are being impacted by technology in one way or another. It is changing their businesses dramatically. It is also changing their need for legal advice. Is technology really changing law firms? Is it impacting the way in which we provide services and more importantly, is it changing the way we train our lawyers to advise clients on this new and constantly developing area of law?

Moderator: Alexandru Birsan, Filip & Company, Bucharest

Ted Talk: Kalin Radev, CEO of Software Group

Mihaly Barcza, Oppenheim, Budapest
Alric Ofenheimer, E+H Rechtsanwälte, Vienna
Gozde Ozsoy, Allen & Overy, Hamburg
Judith Gliniecki, GC, CEE Equity Partners, Warsaw

12:15 - 13:00

Do clients in the region really care about “sustainability”, “diversity” and “conduct”

There is much talk about clients becoming increasingly focused on sustainability, diversity and conduct but how is this really impacting the practice of law in the region.

How can lawyers in the region best react to clients requesting advice on sustainability and do lawyers need new skills to help clients predict the future.

Not least as illustrated by the IBA report on sexual harassment and bullying, the lack of diversity in the profession and the apparent high incidence of sexual harassment and bullying in the profession, is a cause for concern globally. How are firms in the region dealing with these developments?

Moderator and Ted Talk: Natascha Doll, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hamburg

Cristina Filip, Filip & Co., Bucharest
Jörg Menzer, Noerr, Bucharest; Chair, IBA SPPI
Christian Richter-Schöller, Dorda, Vienna
Vladimir Dasic, BDK Advokati, Belgrade

13:00 - 14:00


There will also be “lunch + learn” Tech Fest Talks.

14:00 - 14:45

Predatory Pricing: Do we fight back or join the pack?

How have the panelists’ firms changed the way in which they price their services? How have they responded to increased price competition from their traditional competitors and “predatory pricing” from new entrants into their markets?

Moderator: Norman Clark, Walker Clark, Fort Myers, Florida; Member, IBA Law Firm Management Committee Advisory Board

Martin Solc, Kocián Šolc Balaštík, Prague
Luka Lopicic, Schönherr, Belgrade
Richard Lock, Lakatos, Koves & Partners, Budapest
Alper Işıkal, Isikal Law Office, Istanbul

14:45 - 15:30

Sanctions and Transnational White-Collar “Crime”

Helping clients with sanctions, investigations and extra-territorial laws.

Transnational criminal investigations is of importance to all law firms with commercial practices because of the growing vulnerabilities of some of their clients to possible sanctions, investigations or prosecutions (or all three), both as corporate entities but also as individuals. This isn’t just for litigators! How should a law firm respond when one of their major clients is facing international economic sanctions or criminal prosecution arising from business operations? How can law firms, through their advice to clients who might be vulnerable, reduce the risks? Sanctions are again, sadly, front of mind for many clients.

Moderator: Dennis Boyle, Boyle & Jasari, Washington

Tatjana Popovski Buloski, Popovski & Partners; Skopje, North Macedonia
Katarzyna Randzio-Sajkowska, Soltysinski, Kawecki & Szezak; Warsaw, Poland
• Nikolaus Pitkowitz, Pitkowitz & Partners; Vienna, Austria

15:30 - 15:50

Coffee Break

15:50 - 16:45

Predicting change, deciding upon change and making change happen. How should law firms manage change?

Lawyers and law firms talk frequently about change but do lawyers know what to change and how to change? How do we best decide what changes need to be made to “our” law firm and how do we actually manage that change? We also will discuss whether our lawyers are really changing to adapt to the introduction of new technology and methods

Moderator: Robert Gawalkiewicz, Soltysinski Kawecki & Szlezak, Warsaw

Ted Talk: Lisa Walker Johnson, Walker Clark, Fort Myers, Florida

Lowel Morgan, Nunes Scholefield DeLeon & Co., Kingston
• Naida Custovic, Wolf Theiss, Sarajevo
 Perparim Kalo, Kalo & Associates, Tirana

16:45 - 17:30

Do traditional law firms need a new business model? Will Covid and the ‘Great Resignation’ cause a rethink of what a law firm is and how it operates.

Moderator and Ted Talk: Moray McLaren, Lexington Consultants, Madrid

Martin Brodey, Dorda, Vienna
David O'Donnell, Mason Hayes & Curran, Dublin
• Richard Singer, CMO, Dentons Europe, Prague
• Roman Iwanski, B2R Law, Warsaw
• Katharina Kubik, Freshfields, Vienna

17:30 - 17:35

End of day 1 closing remarks

19:00 - 23:00

Gala Dinner

Börse, Wipplingerstraße 34, 1010 Wien, Austria
(admission by ticket)

08:15 - 09:00

Meditation and Wellness – can it help?

Led by Chris Owen, Penningtons Manches Cooper, London; Co-Chair, IBA European Regional Forum

09:00 - 09:15

Day Two Opening Remarks

Norman Clark, Walker Clark, Fort Myers, Florida; Member, IBA Law Firm Management Committee Advisory Board

09:15 - 10:15

Client Panel – How are clients’ needs changing?

Moderator: Michael Kutschera, Binder Grösswang, Vienna

• Henrik Starup-Hansen, CEO, Wiesenthal Autohandels AG, Vienna
• Velko Djilizov, Unicredit Bulbank, Sofia
Regine Bock, Chief Legal Officer, Schmid Industrieholding Gmbh, Vienna

10:15 - 10:45

Coffee Break

10:45 - 11:30

Recruiting and Retention: The free agency of legal talent

Over the past 20 years, the competition for good associates has become almost as intense as the competition for good clients. How have the panelists managed the increased competition and changing expectations of young lawyers?

Moderator: Chris Owen, IBA European Regional Forum

• Florian Klimscha, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Vienna
• Ruxandra Bologa, Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen, Bucharest
• Zoya Todorova, Dimitrov Petrov & Co, Sofia; Regional Liaison Officer, European Regional Forum

11:30 - 12:15

The twilight of the law firm partnership? – Alternative ownership and governance structures for law firms

Alternative business structures, including non-lawyer and public ownership and more “corporate” decision making processes, have become more common in many jurisdictions over the past 20 years. What have been the experiences of the panelists in considering and adopting (or rejecting) these new structures?

Moderator and Ted Talk: Hermann Knott, Kunz Rechtsanwälte, Köln

Darko Jovanovic, Karanovic & Partners, Belgrade
Ema Menđušić Škugor, Divjak, Topić & Bahtijarević, Zagreb
Peter Petrov, Boyanov, Sofia

12:15 - 13:00

How will partner remuneration change in the next 20 years

There is no “best” system of partner remuneration – everyone agrees about that. But what is the best system for your law firm, and how is that likely to change in the next 20 years? Although we have seen arguably inexorable shifts towards performance-based compensation systems, many firms are recognising the inadequacies of that approach, and there is much talk about how to incorporate the perceived benefits of lockstep. How will this play out?

Moderator and Ted Talk: Michael Roch, MHPR Advisory Services, London

Gus Papamichalopoulos, KG Law Firm, Athens
Iryna Nikitina, IOCONS, Sofia
• Panagiotis Drakopoulos, Vice-Chair, IBA European Regional Forum, DRAKOPOULOS, Athens

13:00 - 14:30


There will also be “lunch + learn” Tech Fest Talks.

14:30 - 15:15

Will you next new associate be a robot? – Are we really embracing and integrating advanced technology and artificial intelligence into law firm operations

What have been the experiences of the panellists in deciding whether, when, and how to introduce advanced technology and AI into the production of legal services? What worked better than expected? What were the disappointments? How, if at all, would they do things differently in the future?

Moderator: Aku Sorainen, Sorainen, Estonia

Peter Lakatos, Lakatos, Koves and Partners, Budapest
Cosmina Simion, Simion & Baciu, Bucharest
Tijana Kojović, BDK Advokati, Belgrade
Lukas Sevcik, Kinstellar, Prague

15:15 - 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 - 16:30

What will happen to law firms in the next 20 years

The first part of the session we look back at the last 20 years of events and challenges in the region, examining key successes and learning points. During the second part of the session, we will listen to the new generation of law firm leaders about their expectations for the next 20 years and their takeaways from the conference. We will cover topics including:

The importance of culture
The Great Resignation
Are law firms responsible for wellness?
What will the real impact of technology be?
Does work-from-home work for clients and firms?

Moderator: Stephen Revell, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Singapore; Co-Vice Chair, IBA Law Firm Management Committee

Jelena Gazivoda, Janković Popović Mitić, Belgrade; Council Member, European Regional Forum
Dovilė Burgienė, Walless, Vilnius
Boris Šavorić, ŠAVORIĆ & PARTNERS, Croatia
Paweł Zdort, Rymarz Zdort, Warsaw

16:30 - 17:00

The Forum of Friends and closing remarks

Borislav Boyanov, Member of the Advisory Board, IBA European Regional Forum
Norman Clark, Walker Clark, Fort Myers, Florida; Member, IBA Law Firm Management Committee Advisory Board
 Stephen Revell, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Singapore; Co-Vice Chair, IBA Law Firm Management Committee