Our story

  • 1991

    • Inspired by the newly regained independence of the Baltic nations, Aku Sorainen begins to write his master’s thesis at the University of Lapland about business and foreign investment-related legislation in the Baltic states.
    • He takes a ferry to Tallinn followed by a 12-hour night bus trip from Tallinn to Vilnius to attend the first ELSA (European Law Students' Association) seminar in Vilnius.
  • 1993

    • Aku Sorainen graduates and his master’s thesis "A Foreign Investor in the Baltics" is published. Many of the corporations who sponsored his thesis start seeking his advice on their business ventures in the Baltics and Aku decides to move to Estonia and start practising law.
  • 1995

    • On 6 September, Aku establishes the law firm Sorainen in Tallinn with the help of newly hired secretary Kristiina Agur (later Härms, who in 2019 is the firm’s regional HR head). The beginning is modest, with a single rented room and the first client, AGA gas company, lending a computer and printer. As the cash flow improves, these are followed by a second-hand fax machine, a filing cabinet and a new mobile phone. Aku dreams about setting up a pan-Baltic law firm.
  • 1997

    • The Estonian office now employs eight lawyers: an American, a Swede, two Finns and four Estonians.
    • In August, Sorainen Latvian office opens in Riga.
  • 1999

    • In January, Sorainen opens a Lithuanian office in Vilnius, fulfilling the dream of a pan-Baltic law firm, the first law firm to do so.
  • 2001

    • We are the first law firm to launch regional practice groups that operate as a single Baltic team.
  • 2002

    • Realising that a successful pan-Baltic law firm requires close cooperation at all levels ‒ work processes, IT, HR, BDM, training, knowledge management, quality management and finances – we are the first law firm in the region to start a thorough integration process across all offices.
    • Aku Sorainen is the first foreign lawyer to be admitted to the Estonian Bar Association, finally permitting conversion of the Estonian office into a law firm.
  • 2004

    • Now with 50 lawyers on board, Sorainen advises its 300th M&A transaction, having altogether brought more than USD 2 billion in investments to the Baltic states.
  • 2005

    • Sorainen is the first among the leading law firms in Estonia to promote a woman to partnership when Karin Madisson – who began with the firm as a trainee nearly ten years earlier – becomes the firm’s 8th partner.
    • As our first world-class mega transaction, we advise eBay together with Clifford Chance in acquiring Skype for EUR 2.6 billion, making many millionaires in Estonia.
    • By the end of the year, we have served over 3,000 corporate clients and established over 1,000 subsidiaries for foreign investors, bringing prosperity to our region.
  • 2006

    • Sorainen becomes the first law firm in the Baltics to implement a Quality Management System based on the ISO 9001 standard.
    • After 11 years of organic growth, we reach the magic number of 100 employees.
  • 2007

    • For the first time, we prepare a budget. This had made no sense earlier, with growth so rapid that we were never able to figure out what the next year would be like. Revenue and profit have grown every year since 1999, when the Russian crisis affected business.
  • 2008

    • Sorainen Belarus office opens in Minsk, first in Maksim Salahub's kitchen, then in a room rented from a local bank. We are the first foreign law firm to expand to Belarus with a real local team.
    • Eva Berlaus becomes the first female managing partner among the leading law firms in the Baltics, taking charge of our Latvian office.
    • During the firm’s Summer Days in Nida, Lithuania, we celebrate growth to 100 lawyers and 150 people in all. Sorainen also now sets up a knowledge management team ‒ the first law firm in the region to do so.
  • 2009

    • Sorainen Estonia is awarded as the country’s most employee- and family-friendly company.
  • 2010

    • We are the first law firm in the region to launch its own regional training programme for its employees: the Sorainen Academy.
    • By the end of the year we have served more than 6,000 corporate clients in the Baltics and Belarus.
    • The number of partners increases to 21.
  • 2011

    • The Belarusian Ministry of Justice awards Sorainen the title of "Best Provider of Legal Services in Belarus" ‒ the first foreign-based law firm to receive recognition.
  • 2012

    • We are the first law firm in the region to start its own Student Academy with leading universities in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. Over the years, the academy has offered courses to hundreds of students.
  • 2014

    • We are the first law firm in the region to launch regional sector groups where lawyers from all Sorainen offices join forces to serve specific industries.
    • For the first time all main international legal awards in the Baltics go to the same law firm, as Sorainen receives “Baltic Law Firm of the Year” awards from The Lawyer, IFLR and Mergermarket as well as the Chambers Europe Award for Excellence. To this are once again added the title of “Best Provider of Legal Services in Belarus” by the Belarusian Ministry of Justice and the “Baltic States Tax Firm of the Year” award from the International Tax Review.
  • 2015

    • Sorainen Estonia celebrates its 20th birthday with a visionary conference, ‘Sorainen 2020’. The keynote speaker is the former Icelandic minister of foreign affairs, Jon Hannibalsson, representing the first country to recognise the independence of the three Baltic states in August 1991. In the evening, the Sorainen Band entertains the guests, as it will at many events to come.
  • 2016

    • In March, Sorainen becomes the first law firm from the Baltic and Nordic region to win the prestigious "European Law Firm of the Year" award at The Lawyer European Awards ceremony in London.
  • 2017

    • Partner Allar Jõks runs for President of Estonia and reaches the final round.
    • Euromoney honours Sorainen as ‘Best in the Baltics’ at the “European Women in Business Law” Awards.
  • 2018

    • With a record number of new generation partners joining the partnership, the number of partners increases to 34. The total number of lawyers approaches 200 and the total headcount to 300 people.
    • Now that the administration of the organisation including many internal processes require more attention than ever, Sorainen is the first law firm in the Baltics and Belarus to appoint a chief operating officer (COO). Leda Iržikevičienė takes overall charge of Sorainen management together with managing partner Laimonas Skibarka
    • Sorainen launches co-operation with Avokaado, an Estonian based IT start-up specialising in automating legal documentation, and also begins to use Luminance, software utilising AI for document analysis.