Landmark transactions and client centred culture land SORAINEN an international award

21.02.2014

Yesterday The Lawyer, a leading international website for the entire legal profession, presented its Europe-wide awards in London. Joanne Harris, Europe editor of the publication, shared her insights on the winners: “What they all had in common was a commitment to excellence across the board and a clear strategic vision.” SORAINEN received the Baltic Law Firm of the Year 2014 award for advising on innovative landmark transactions while maintaining high levels of client service and developing its strategic vision.

Aku Sorainen, founder and senior partner of the firm, reminisces: “At a time like this I cannot help recollecting the early days. In 1993 I had finished my master thesis ‘A Foreign Investor in the Baltics’ which was published by the Finnish Lawyers’ Association – and suddenly I noticed that in Finland I was considered a specialist on Baltic law. Initially as a representative for a Finnish law firm and then in 1995 starting my own firm in Estonia – all this was actually quite an adventure and a real challenge, especially as I had not really practised law even in Finland. And now I was supposed to establish and manage the first foreign law office in Estonia and practise foreign business law! But it was an opportunity to realise my Baltic aspirations and since I did not yet have a family to feed I thought I could afford to take the risk!”

Since 2005 the firm has more than doubled its turnover in the jurisdictions where it operates and in 2012-2014 welcomed four new partners. “Our continuous growth is the result of being the only fully integrated law firm in the Baltics and Belarus with solid and collegial partnership. Additionally we are committed to building a client centred culture and investing in our people,” comments Sorainen.

“Although leading a law firm is not rocket science, still each year we learn to lead the firm better. Despite the fact that we are now larger than ever, I think there is much more maturity and clarity within the organisation than ever before. I indeed feel privileged for having been able to move to the Baltic States at the right time, when development started, and for having been able thus far to spend the best years of my working life with a really enthusiastic and intelligent group of ambitious people.”

>> READ MORE OF AKU’S REFLECTIONS ON HOW SORAINEN HAS DEVELOPED FROM ITS EARLY DAYS

Among key mandates last year, the firm is proud to have advised the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance on European Union presidency matters ‒ the first time a Baltic country held the presidency position. Additionally SORAINEN advised insurance group ERGO on the cross-border merger of its subsidiaries in the Baltics as well as on related matters in Belarus. This was the largest cross-border merger in the Baltic insurance sector to date, and already the fourth completed by SORAINEN in the sector. The firm also advised Lithuanian commercial bank Šiaulių Bankas on its acquisition of Ūkio Bankas assets and subsidiaries (a “good bank”) with a total transaction value of EUR 782 million, the largest deal in the region during last seven years. The transaction helped to stabilise the situation in the Lithuanian financial sector and ensured that obligations towards insured depositors were taken over.

The award winners were chosen by a panel of judges, including managing partners of international law firms and in-house lawyers of multinational companies. Nominees were selected in 25 categories. The main selection criteria were strategic vision, strong financial performance and growth, consistent excellence in delivery of legal services, outstanding talent management and robust partnership culture. See more at www.thelawyereuropeanevent.com

SORAINEN receiving the award at The Lawyer award gala on 20 Feb in London: (from the left) Ed Tillotson, commercial director of The Lawyer; Aku Sorainen, senior partner of SORAINEN; Laimonas Skibarka, office managing partner of SORAINEN Lithuania; and the host of the gala – Mishal Husain, a British news presenter for the BBC.

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