I refer to the IFLR1000 whenever I need outside counsel for a region where I do not have any experience, or if I am unhappy with a counsel and want to change.
Robert GullaGeneral CounselLukoil International (Austria)
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Havel Holásek & Partners
Havel Holásek & Partners is a very large Czech firm that was established in 2001. Since it was formed the independent firm has expanded rapidly and fixed itself firmly in the Czech legal landscape. It has offices in Prague, Brno, and Ostrava. "The company has branches in Czech Republic and in Slovakia," one client says. "It can provide legal services for transactions involving the CEE (Central & Eastern Europe) countries." The transaction focused firm is a strong choice for local counsel and has worked with international firms like Linklaters, Freshfields and Norton Rose Fulbright. In March 2013, the firm was dealt a blow as the head of its banking, finance and capital markets practice, Ondrej Petr, sadly passed away. Partner Jan Topinka has now taken over the practice.
M&A is a core area for the firm and it is experienced in acting for private-owned and state-owned companies in the banking, energy, building, trade, and automotive sectors. The department is headed by Jaroslav Havel. "It has a well qualified team with good additional value for clients," one client says. In November 2012, the firm hired partner Ludvík Juricka from PwC Czech Republic, but in December 2012, it lost partner Michael Mullen who went the opposite way.
In a major deal, the firm acted for a syndicate of banks that included Bank of America, Barclays and BNP Paribas in the domestic aspects of the €2 billion acquisition and working capital financing of Net4Gas, the gas transmission system operator.
Led by Marek Vojacek and Dusan Sedlacek, the firm's restructuring and insolvency team has over 12 lawyers. It advised Ceska sporitelna in insolvency proceedings concerning Hajek, a real estate developer. The €40 million insolvency case is one of the larger cases on the Czech market regarding the total value of registered claims. The firm also created a specialised body dealing with distressed debt servicing and enforcement. Its large portfolio of non-performing consumer loans and B2B claims generates much insolvency work for secured and unsecured creditors.
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