On 5 September 2017, the Law Society hosted a seminar on “Doing legal business in the V4”, or Visegrád Group states. 

The cultural and political alliance of the Visegrád Group States (V4) comprises four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – for the purposes of furthering their European integration, as well as for advancing military, economic and energy cooperation.

If counted together, the Visegrád Group is the fifth largest economy in Europe and the 12th in the world. Its members have witnessed extraordinary progress over the last three decades, cementing sustained GDP growth.

For this reason, the Law Society organised a seminar presenting the economic climate in the region’s countries, sectors of importance, and tips and tricks for law firms and individual lawyers interested in expanding their business to one or more of the four countries. 

After welcome remarks by Mickael Laurans, head of International at the Law Society, we heard from our keynote speaker Tom Salusbury, Regional Director of the Central European Network at the Department for International trade, about the attractiveness of the Visegrad Group States which are 4 developing markets on the UK’s doorstep, with EU levels of ease of doing business.

He underlined the immense EU funds (€142.59 billion in EU funding 2014-2020) for the region, which also offers great potential due to a collated population of 64 million people, who are becoming affluent consumers, with an appetite for UK goods and services. In addition, the region’s growth rates at over 3%, the highest in the EU, widespread use of English, and the easy access from the UK with most cities  just 2 hours away.

He presented business opportunities for in strategic sectors such as , and encouraged the audience to use the DIT’s Financial & Profession services campaign that supports UK businesses including law firms who would like to explore this market. Past cooperation include CMS Cameron McKenna, Bird&Bird, Clifford Chance, and Taylor Wessing.

Subsequently, a team of leading practitioners from the region presented an economic overview of the V4, sectors of importance as well as each country in more detail. Please find the presentations in the attachments to the right.

Grzegorz Wozniak, Managing Partner of Wozniak Legal, gave an economic and legal introduction to the V4 region.

Adrian Andrychowski, also from Wozniak Legal,  presented his home country Poland’s success story with , as well as an overview over the energy sector which profits from ne and ongoing projects such as One Belt One Road, the three seas initiative, and new gas pipelines such as the LNG terminal in Świnoujście and the construction of the Baltic Pipe.

Jan Täubel, Founder and Managing Partner of Taubel Legal presented the economy of the Czech Republic and introduced the audience to Industry 4.0, explaining the legal issues related to these advanced cyber physical systems, which represent a great business opportunity for law firms.

Rudolf Pfeffer, Partner at AKF Lawyers, explained how to start and grow a business in IT and Digitalisation in Slovakia, which is becoming a hub for start-ups in the sector due to a business friendly environment, EU as well as local incentives, and venture capital investors; with legal business opportunities in the public sector, automotive industry, as well as retail lending and crowd funding.

Last but not least, Andras Szecskay, Founder and Managing Partner of Szecskay Attorneys at Law took a look at Financing and M&A in Hungary. The country is recommended for investment again by Moody’s, Standard & Poor and the World Bank, seeing increased FDI due to a significant increase in its growth rate in 2017. A corporate income tax rate of only 9 percent and a high consumer confidence index aid to the improvement.

Afterwards, participants joined us for a networking reception to build links between the UK and the region.

For more information, or if you are interested in similar events, please email EuropeCIS@lawsociety.org.uk