Poland

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Krajowa Izba Radców Prawnych (National Council of Legal Advisors)

Competition authority: Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

Financial regulator: Polish Financial Supervision Authority

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction: 

Banking, Capital markets : Debt, Capital markets : Equity, M&A, Project developmentProject finance 

Jurisdiction overview

Poland is a civil law jurisdiction backed by the country’s constitution. The two primary groups in the Polish legal market are adwokat (advocate) and radca prawny (legal adviser). Radca prawny is the equivalent of a solicitor as they don’t handle criminal matters.

As a member of the EU, the country abides by the freedom of movement regulations for lawyers from the EU and EEA. In general foreign lawyers can practice their home country and international law and EU lawyers do have the option of requalifying as a Polish lawyer.

There are few restrictions on foreign firms practising and there is no licensing regime except the requirement to register with the local bar.

The market has a number of international firms present, most being the Polish offices of UK or US firms. Those firms tend to employ Polish or dual qualified lawyers with the occasional foreign lawyer employed to coordinate cross border matters. 

The market’s domestic firms are in general larger operations by headcount and dominate the market in areas such as regulatory and licensing work.

Financial and corporate lawyers in Poland can often cover a range of work and will handle matters across the corporate finance or M&A areas, however the market is becoming increasingly specialised with lawyers dedicating more time to one or two specialisms.

Financial and corporate
DeBenedetti Majewski Szcześniak

Established in 2005, DeBenedetti Majewski Szczesniak is a corporate boutique based in Warsaw.The firm employs 20 lawyers, six of whom are partners. It is a member of legal network Globalaw, which is present in 85 countries.

 

Focusses / specialisms

When it comes to transactions, the firm focuses on M&A and has expertise within the insurance and renewable energy sectors.

 

Key clients

The firm works with Vienna Insurance group and Fidera Fund.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020) 

The firm was active in M&A and restructuring.

The firm was very active in M&A, working in both local and cross border transactions. The firm usually advised buyers in both acquisitions and share acquisitions in the insurance, renewable energy and FMCG industries.

The firm also worked on restructuring mandates, advising creditors and debtors in financial restructuring.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Fidera Funds €1.5 million acquisition of receivables 

VIG acquisition of Gothaer

VIG acquisition of controlling stake in TUW TUW

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020) 

Wojciech Barański

“He provides complex and professional assistance in every area involved in transactional processes (including court representation of the client). He is very flexible in terms of availability, open, straightforward and operative.”

Domański Zakrzewski Palinka

Established in 1993, Domański Zakrzewski Palinka is a large full-service domestic firm with offices in Warsaw, Poznań and Wrocław. The firm employs more than 100 lawyers, including 33 partners.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is strong across all practice areas and particularly in banking and finance, M&A and project development.

In the banking space the firm advises international banks and financial holding and investment companies on the polish aspects of cross border financings, refinancings and debt restructurings. Foreign payment services also seek the firm’s advice on regulatory matters in relation to establishment and operation of services in Poland. 

In capital markets work the firm is experienced on Polish law bond sales, advising issuers.

In the projects space the firm has expertise in advising on public procurement and financing for energy and transport infrastructure projects. Its experience includes advising on renewable energy PPP projects – photovoltaic and offshore wind mostly. The firm is active in oil and gas sector, advising Polish operators on a range of contracting and tender processes for both regional and domestic pipeline and LNG projects.

 

Key clients

The firm works with internationally renowned clients Goldman Sachs and Astaldi and represents the state in the form of the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy. It also advises multinational banks and investment funds Finergis Investments, Ergis, Getting Noble Bank, and Idea Bank. 

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm was active in banking and finance, M&A and projects.

In banking and finance the firm has been advising both borrowers and lenders in refinancing, project financing, and syndicated financing transactions. It also advised on Polish regulation for international companies.

In M&A the firm advised a number of publicly listed companies in acquisitions. It advised on the buy and sell side, and worked on public and cross border acquisitions.

In project development the firm worked with investors and developers on oil and gas, public infrastructure, waste management projects, and with private parties on PPP projects.

Recent staffing changes include the departure of Paulina Armada Rudnik, a senior associate in the capital markets department.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Astaldi Tri-City waste management system

Baltic pipeline

DWF Group acquisition of K&L Gates’ Polish branch 

Ergis PLN226 million refinancing 

Gazprombank / Novfintekh  PLN 181 million acquisition of Carcade 

Getin Holding PLN 35 million acquisition of Idea Bank

Orion Group £475 million refinancing

Outer Port of Gdynia

Weilton PLN413 million refinancing 

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

M&A

“Good legal competency and complexity needed for M&A. Good business understanding and will to use it. Good partnership cooperation with us, taking into consideration the business goals. Ability to prioritise problems.”

“High level of professionalism, reliable advisory, simplicity of opinion/advice given for complex issues, time and accuracy.”

“Very good coordination of works of the other law firms in multiple jurisdictions. Very good advisory in structuring the transaction.”

“Commercial attitude, reliable and very high availability.”

“Professional, experienced and hardworking team of lawyers, very good up to date understanding of Polish legal framework and practices, strong track record and good negotiation skills.”

“We have been working with DZP for many years and are happy with this cooperation. They have a professional approach, superb quality, responsiveness, pragmatic approach, broad perspective including business issues rather than a traditional narrow approach focused on strictly legal matters. Also, we feel comfortable with DZP's global reach via their international network.”

 

Private equity

“The law firm is very well known for its size and quality, and has a significant influence in the market.”

 

Project development

“DZP has one of the best PPP experience on the Polish market, they have done many projects before, thus winning the tender for this tram project. Their experts are well acquainted with PPP market standards and the expectations of private partners, which is helpful for us (as a contracting authority).”

“Constant communication, balanced advice and attention to detail.”

 

Project finance 

“Very good knowledge of the Polish mining sector and industry as well as legal requirements arising from EU law. Lawyers' availability and quick response is a big plus.”

 

Anna Glapa

“Communication skills, understanding problems and focusing on solving it”

 

Bartosz Marcinkowski

“Excellent negotiator, Commercial attitude. Reliable”

 

Marek Świątkowski 

“Knowhow creativity communication skills”

 

Michał Przychoda

“Michał‚ knows the market and PPP standards in Poland very well. He is precise and accurate. He's also a very positive and hard-working person, making working with him on this project a pleasure.”

 

Piotr Jackowski

“Availability, creativity, problem solving, knowledge.”

 

Przemysław Furmaga 

“Good communication and process orientation”

“Knowledge, cooperation with other specialist, availability, always showing the risk and meeting the best possible aim”

 

Paweł Grzejszczak

“Pawel has good client communication skills, he absorbs what you are saying and then provides a balanced response, he is not intimidated by clients and not afraid to challenge your thought process”

 

Rafał Hajduk

“Rafał performs his work diligently, on schedule and at the highest quality. Furthermore, Rafał acts very graciously with their client as well as with the counter party, which promotes the successful execution of the deal.”

 

Robert Niczyporuk

“Professional attitude, very good level of expertise, reliable, responsiveness, and customer oriented”

Mrowiec Fiałek

Established in 2014, Mrowiec Fiałek is a transaction focused boutique based in Warsaw and employing 15 lawyers, two of whom are partners.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm specialises in M&A and private equity transactions. It is often advises portfolio companies and private equity funds on M&A transactions in Poland and is experienced in public M&A.

The firm’s lawyers have experience in banking and finance and capital markets transactions.

 

Key clients 

Clients of the firm include international and domestic groups such as Schindler Group, OCRK and Clovin. 

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm was active in capital markets and M&A during the research period. 

In debt capital markets work the firm has been advising issuers in bond sales.

The firm was very active in M&A, particularly when cooperating with private equity and venture capital funds. It has roles on buy and sell side in deals in the ecommerce, IT and manufacturing sectors. It also advised on the acquisitions of shares as well as entire entities, and worked on corporate investments, often on the investee side.

Recent staffing changes include the hire of Rafał Siemieniec, a senior associate in M&A, and Paweł Izdebski, a senior associate with capital markets experience. Paweł Cyganik and Małgorzata Banaszkiewicz both rejoined the firm as senior associates, the former specialises in advising private equity and venture capital funds, and the latter advises on M&A. 

Two senior associates – Martyna Marczewska from the M&A department and Juditha Majche from the capital markets department – left the firm.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Avallon acquisition of Colvin Group

BHM investment in Alvo

Centrum Rozliczeń Elektronicznych Polskie ePłatności PLN60 million acquisition of TopCard

DL Invest Group PLN9 million bond issue 

GEO PLN10 million bond issue 

Infinity PLN11 million bond issue 

OCRK acquisition of minority stake in Marcos Bis

Schindler Polska acquisition of DŹWIG Polska

Yuniversal Podlaski PLN10 million bond issue

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

M&A

“High professionalism, support in business consulting and engagement.”

“Vast experience of the senior partners, cost-competitiveness and flexibility of solutions delivered to the customers.”

“Comprehensive knowledge of M&A market practices and newest trends and solutions, extremely helpful in negotiations and creative approach.”

 

Mirosław Fiałek

“Very good negotiator, excellent communication, presents flexible and ingenious solutions. Comprehensive knowledge, creativity, and an excellent negotiator.”

 

Dominika Leszczyńska

“Dominika is highly engaged, she negotiated each contractual clauses in favour of her client, and has a very comprehensive legal knowledge.”

Allen & Overy A Pędzich

Magic circle firm Allen & Overy A Pędzich established its Warsaw office in 1991. It now employs more than 50 lawyers including nine partners in Poland.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm focuses on banking and finance and excels in debt capital markets transactions. It has a strong relationship with international banks and is often involved in cross border syndicated loans.

The firm has leading English law capabilities,

 

Key clients

The firm works with notable international banks, such as Santander, ING Bank, Commercial Bank of China, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank and HSBC, to name a few. It advises important investment funds and private equity groups, including development funds, such as the Polish Development Fund, Mapletree, Green Investment Group (part of Macquarie Group), Cromwell European Real Estate Investment Trust and IFM Global Infrastructure Fund.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020) 

Over the research period the firm advised on banking and finance, including project finance, capital markets and M&A.

The firm was particularly active in banking and finance, particularly when advising lenders on syndications. It worked on several cross border financing transactions, advising lenders on refinancing, revolving facilities, project financing and acquisition financing. It was also active on the borrower side, advising companies and private equity firms on acquisition financing, export credit financing and refinancing.

In project financing work the firm was especially active on the financing of renewable energy projects, both in Poland and across Europe. It advised international development banks and regional banks as lenders in development projects, as well as investors, sponsors and developers as borrowers to enable the development of wind farms, solar farms, gas infrastructure and transport infrastructure.

The firm was very active in debt capital markets, working closely with issuers and arrangers on bond issues. It worked on mortgage-backed bonds, green bonds, SDG bonds and sovereign bonds; both on the Warsaw stock exchange, but also on international covered bond issues.

In M&A the firm almost exclusively advised buyers, both strategic and private equity. It was particularly active in the wind farm industry, however also advised on several transactions in the media sector, agriculture, and real estate. It advised on cross border joint ventures and intragroup mergers.

Recent staffing changes include the departure of two senior associates from the M&A department; Tomasz Ciećwierz and Maciej Olszewski 

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Akuo and Mirova €123 million financing

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport €600 million project financing

Deceuninck / So Easy System joint venture

ENEA €220 million 1.2% bond issue

Green Investment Group acquisition of 42MW Kisielice onshore wind farm

Grupa Żywiec $131.6 million acquisition of Browar Namysłó

Mapletree €650 million refinancing 

MLP Group €93.93 million financing

PKO Bank Hipoteczny €992 million covered bond issue

Tauron Polska Energia €440 million SDG-linked bonds

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“A&O has the best B&F team in Poland, leaving their competitors far behind. The A&O Team consists of many highly qualified and fully professional advisors. Their approach towards their clients is excellent. They are looking for solutions advantageous for their clients and creating compromises instead of creating conflicts.”

“Very knowledgeable individuals with regards to finance/banking, good contact with customer”

“Very professional, great understanding of our needs and standards, full availability and support.” 

 

Capital markets: Debt

“The team has professional knowledge and works efficiency.” 

 

M&A

“The team responds at speed and flexibility with a practical approach to problem solving. They have experience in M&A transactions and knowledge of best practice.”

“Very professional, service oriented, great availability and constructive. Felt like a real partner in the process.” 

 

Project finance

“Clear description of the negotiation points in understandable manner for a banker.”

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang Pośniak i Bejm

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang Pośniak i Bejm is the Polish arm of international firm CMS, which has 70 offices worldwide. The Warsaw branch was established in 1995 and now employs more than 90 lawyers, including 26 partners.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on project development and project financing particularly for energy and infrastructure sectors clients that it also advises on cross border M&A.

 

Key clients

The firm advises several local and international banks such as Erste Group Bank, Raiffeisenlandesbank, Bank Pekao and the European Investment Bank. It advises investment funds such as Fundusz Inwestycji Samorządowych (Local Government Investment Fund) and private equity groups like Macquarie's portfolio company Green Investment Group and CEE Equity Partners. It also works with important companies in the construction sector, like Vinci

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020) 

Over the research period the firm advised on banking and finance, project finance, capital markets, M&A, private equity and project development. 

In banking and finance the firm predominantly advises on the lender side. It worked with syndicates and individual banks on financing transactions, acquisition financing and refinancing. It advised on financing in the real estate sectors and worked on multiple export credit financing facilities.

Project financing is a key focus of the firm, and the transactions of the research cycle highlights this. It worked with important project lenders, like the EBRD, and EIB on financing PPP projects in energy, waste treatment, and public infrastructure. It also advised borrowers and developers on securing financing in transport, hospital constructions, production plants and multiple renewable energy projects.

In capital markets work the firm advised issuers on prospectuses for bond issues and secondary public offerings.

The firm advised on several deals in renewable energy, working with buyers and sellers on the acquisition of wind and solar parks or the project companies that run them. It counselled a wide range of clients, most often international strategic companies or investment funds working at cross border transactions, but also local strategic players and private equity firms, and has recent experience on both sides transactions. Whilst it’s focus was on the energy industry, it also advised on transactions in pharmaceuticals, automobiles, media, cosmetics and software.

The firm advised international private equity funds with a focus on renewable energy in the acquisitions and sales on the Polish market. It also worked closely with the Polish development fund to invigorate local government projects, such as waste management and sewage supply.

The firm was active in project development, working on several PPP projects. It broadly advised private partners, investors and developers in renewable and traditional energy projects – ranging from licensing agreements, tender offers, construction, establishment of project companies or joint ventures, and environmental regulation concerns. It was also active outside of energy, working with developers on public housing projects and the development of industrial plants.

Recent staffing changes include the departure of the head of M&A, Marek Sawicki, partner Jakub Marcinkowski, and counsel Rafał Kluziak, all specialising in M&A and private equity. The firm also saw the departure of partner Iga Lis and counsel Marcin Oszczak, who focused on project financing and infrastructure. The firm recently hired partner Łukasz Szatkowski, who focuses on energy and project development, and counsel Marek Trzos- Rastawiecki, who works in financial services regulatory and capital markets.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Aberdeen Standard Investments acquisition of 45.4MW solar power park portfolio 

Advent international acquisition of Alvogen 

Allianz Real Estate €300 million refinancing

Green Investment Group acquisition of 48MW Zajączkowo wind farm

Grupa Azoty Polyolefins $1.8 billion project financing 

GTC Galeria CTWA €130 million refinancing

Olsztyn waste to energy PPP

Piastów school PPP

Stadtwerke München acquisition of 132MW Jasna onshore wind farm

WKD €150 million project financing 

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Friendly, responsive for client requirements, looks for solutions rather to create unnecessary tensions.”

 

M&A

“Deep/Up-to-date industry knowledge and experience, ability to meet tough timeline and still deliver high quality of work”

“They take commercial and pragmatic approach, with broad cross-functional expertise (M&A, funding, employment law, IP, etc.). They understand our needs and priorities and are very committed and involved. “

 

Private equity

“Solid work, good response time, pragmatic attitude. They are able to adapt their style depending on the flow of negotiations. We've worked with the team of Rafal Zwierz and Olga Czyzycka on a couple of matters now and are happy with their work.”

 

Project development

“A comprehensive approach is all aspects of the contract and the most important is: - intellectual property law - non-competition law - public procurement law”

“It provides you with the comfort of being your business advisor not just a legal advisor.”

“Very responsive to requests for input; very knowledgeable”

Schoenherr Stangl Lutz

Schoenherr Stangl Lutz is the Polish branch of an Austrian firm that was established 2009 in Warsaw. The office employs 21 lawyers, including four partners.

Established in 1950, Schoenherr is a leading Austrian firm with a European network that includes offices in 15 jurisdictions.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm works on banking and financing mandates, with a focus on lenders, and in capital markets on bond issues and it is active on domestic and cross border M&A transactions, where it often advises buyers.

 

Key clients

The firm works with banks Societe Generale and Morgan Stanley, private equity funds Apax Partners, KKR and EQT partners, and industrial clients Assa Abloy Group and Jones Lang LaSalle.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020) 

The firm worked with international banks as lenders on real estate, acquisition and syndicated financing. It also worked with a borrower in a corporate finance transaction. 

In capital markets work the firm advised on bond issues doing work on the issuer side and for arrangers and joint managers.

The firm was particularly active in corporate M&A. It worked with several private equity firms in their acquisitions of targets in Poland, either advising as lead or local counsel. It advised strategic buyers in the insurance, automotive, architecture, software, and consumer goods industries. The firm also advised sellers in the architecture, life sciences, automotive industry and real estate sectors.

The firm also advised companies on restructuring, usually working with the debtors.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

APAX acquisition of ADCO Group 

Caverion acquisition of Maintpartner Group 

Deutsche Private Equity Management acquisition of Euro-Druckservice 

GR Sarantis acquisition of PZ Cussons 

Kongsberg Actuation Systems €300 million 5% bond issue  

M7 Real Estate €90 million financing  

Mapletree Investments €500 million financing 

Progroup €450 million 3% bond issue 

Uniqa group €1 billion acquisition of 5 AXA Group subsidiaries 

Wepa Hygieneprodukte €125 million financing  

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

M&A

“Very effective in supporting the decision making on SPA negotiation and deal structure. High competence in all transaction related items. Available and responsive to customer needs.”