Three Baltic law firms merge

  • 2008-09-03
  • By Adam Mullett
VILNIUS - Three leading business-law firms in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 's Tark & Co, Loze, Grunte & Cers, and Sutkiene, Pilkauskas & Partners 's have consolidated their businesses by creating TLS Alliance, a pan-Baltic business-law partnership.
TLS Alliance representatives said "the union would strengthen their capacity in offering highly professional cross-border legal counseling across the Baltic countries."
The group is planning to take on a Belarusian partner soon and is expected to make the announcement September 6.

"The three firms, united in TLS Alliance, provide their clients with high-level services meeting best international standards. The alliance's strength lies in cross-border legal services covering all aspects of contemporary business law," said Aare Tark, managing partner of the Estonian firm Tark & Co.
Close to 100 attorneys and lawyers will work in the companies of TLS Alliance. The combined revenue of TLS Alliance law firms in 2007 was about 9 million euros.

In business, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are considered to be one market. "The new alliance allows us to better serve the needs of our clients. Our cooperation in different projects has been most fruitful and the firms in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have acted in common projects as a unified and well-integrated team," said Janis Loze, managing partner of the Latvian firm Loze, Grunte & Cers.

"The founding of TLS Alliance is a logical step after years of close cooperation between Tark & Co, Loze, Grunte & Cers and Sutkiene, Pilkauskas & Partners, and it will send a stronger signal of our close ties to the clients as well," Eugenija Sutkiene, Managing Partner of Lithuanian Sutkiene, Pilkauskas & Partners said.
"We have historically cooperated a lot before the joining of the European Union, and we always cooperated on corporate clients and multinational companies. We noted that most of our clients see the Baltics as one market, so we decided to join," Sutkiene said.

"It is convenient for companies to come to us because they can come to one office in one country and we do all operations from there," she added.
TLS Alliance is not the first intra-Baltic law firm partnership. Baltic Legal Solutions is a partnership between the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian firms Glikman & Partnerid, Kronbergs & Cukste, and Jurevicius, Balciunas & Bartkus. Their partnership is comprised of about 80 lawyers across the three countries.
TLS Alliance, however, claims to be unique in that they have undergone internal restructuring in order to mirror each other. "We are different from other alliances because our focus is on the content of the cooperation. We have cooperation on the level of practice and the organization of the business, not just the firms," a spokesperson said.

The members of TLS Alliance have experience in advising commercial transactions and work with leading law firms in the Baltic and Nordic states. TLS Alliance law firms have been involved in several landmark transactions in the Baltic region, such as the founding of the first European company (Societas Europaea) in the Baltics by merging Sampo Life's Baltic subsidiaries into a single European company and also conducting the same procedure for Seesam.

The three law firms coordinated the first cross-border merger in the Baltic banking sector involving Danske Bank A/S, which is one of the largest financial enterprises in theNordic region in terms of total assets, and subsidiaries of the Sampo Bank Group.
TLS Alliance members also advised the launch of Pohjola Bank in the three Baltic countries and the reorganization of a major Estonian construction company, Merko Ehitus AS. TLS Alliance, together with the international law firm Lovells LLP, also conducted research on electricity sector regulation in a number of EU jurisdictions.