Contact: Tzvetelina Dimitrova
What subsequently became Studio Legale Sutti’s office in Sofia was originally established as a purely Bulgarian firm at the beginning of the nineties, and has been one of the country’s leading practices for more than ten years, with a growing emphasis on international clients and in particular Italian clients. This naturally led to the establishment of an ever closer relationship with SLS. In 2000, Studio Legale Sutti, thanks to the newly-established presence on site further to the agreement reached with its new Bulgarian partners, became for all purposes an Italo-Bulgarian law firm, and started extending this business model to the entire region, ending up as the main independent law practice in South-Eastern Europe.
Therefore, not only is Studio Legale Sutti the sole Italian full-service business law firm represented in the country, but it is also the only Bulgarian law firm with offices in Milan, Genoa, Rome, London, Belgrade, Bucharest and Tokyo. This international vocation was also recognised by the appointment of Studio Legale Sutti as the firm responsible for the Bulgarian sections of International Recognition and Enforcement of Money Judgments and of International Attachments of Assets, two collective works published and periodically updated by Juris Publishing, Inc., the leading publisher in the field of comprehensive international legal guides.
Another turning point was the appointment of three new partners and the transfer from the original office of our Bulgarian colleagues to new, larger premises at the current address in 2004.
Our Bulgarian office, which retains wide autonomy with respect to its day-to-day management, is fully and seamlessly integrated with the central resources of the Firm, and offers the full range of Studio Legale Sutti’s services with respect to the Bulgarian market, law and jurisdiction, including representation before all local courts and authorities and assistance in privatisation issues – besides of course offering to local and international clients on-site access to Italian and trans-Balkanian legal services, in Bulgarian, Italian, English, German, French and Russian.
Conversely, members of our office in Sofia have cooperated with those in our Milan office in the preparation, for the Centro Estero Camere di Commercio Lombarde, of the only comprehensive introduction to Bulgarian law for foreign investors that is available in Italian. This and our presence on site have led to, inter alia, the invitation of SLS’s members to several Italian conferences and seminars aimed at informing Italian businesses and companies interested in investing or distributing in the country, such as that on 16/09/2003 in Milan on Doing Business in Bulgaria (CECCL) or that on 20/11/2003 in Padua (“Aspetti legali rilevanti per l’attività commerciale italiana in Bulgaria” in Investire ed esportare in Bulgaria, by Unione Industriale di Padova).
A summary description in Bulgarian of the activity of Studio Legale Sutti in general, and of our Sofia office in particular, is available here for our local clients and for those amongst our readers who are more comfortable with this language.
The ambitious growth plans of our Bulgarian partners are of course backed by an intense recruitment programme, which is referred to in detail in the relevant section of this site.
In February 2002 The European Lawyer remarked how SLS was one of the very few truly international firms currently active in the Bulgarian jurisdiction. This situation has not changed much since.
In particular, SLS Sofia has been recommended for “Technology & Telecommunications” by the 2001 edition of ILFR 1000 (published by Legal Media Group), which mentions as well its specialisations in international trade, company law and intellectual property. In 2002 and 2003, our Bulgarian practice was mentioned by The European Legal 500 for commercial law, privatisation, arbitration, labour, banking and tax law; while in 2004 the same publication mentions us as market leaders in the following areas: banking and finance; corporate-commercial; IP, IT, telecoms and media; privatisation and foreign investment; project finance and construction.
Studio Legale Sutti is also listed by Global Counsel 3000, in its 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 edition, in the section “Which Lawyer Bulgaria”, for “Company and Corporate Transactions” in general, as have been a few local partners personally in the Bulgarian section of European Legal Experts.
Similarly, Studio Legale Sutti is often noted for its expertise in Italo-Bulgarian trade matters by the Italian financial press, namely Il Sole 24Ore 08/02/2002 (“Il giurista gioca d’anticipo sull’allargamento a Est”). Recently, our prominence in the Bulgarian market of legal services has been recognised once more by Il Mondo 02/07/2004 (“Gli avvocati italiani in corsa per conquistare l’Europa dell’est “).
To celebrate the beginning of our operations on site and to welcome our new partners and associates amongst SLS members a reception was held on 17/05/2001 in our Bulgarian office of that time, which was attended by many local authorities, local colleagues and companies. In particular, the establishment of the office in Sofia was saluted by the Bulgarian National Bank, the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria, the Embassy of Italy, the President of the Sofia Bar, the Bulgarian Court of Cassation, the Sofia Office of the Italian Istituto per il Commercio Estero, the Italian Consulate in Sofia, the US Agency for International Development.
The establishment of an SLS office in Sofia was also hailed by vast coverage in the Italian and international media. We mention here Corriere Italia-Bulgaria, June 2001, Il Sole 24Ore 02/06/2001 (“Sutti Finds Bulgarian Allies”), La Libertà 08/06/2001 (“First in Bulgaria. SLS Opens an Office in Sofia”), Il Mondo 01/06/2000 (“Sutti Towards East”), Il Giornale, Il Corriere della Sera, Il Messaggero, The Lawyer (“Studio Legale Sutti Completes Bulgarian Merger”), The Law Society Gazette 28/06/2001 (“Bulgarian First”), The International Financial Law Review July 2001, The Legal Media Group News 24/06/2001 (“Studio Legale Sutti seals Italo-Bulgarian merger”), The International Law Office July 2001, Mondaq (“SLS Welcomes Varadinov & Co. Partners and Associates”), Lawyer International September 2001 (“Sutti Marches Into Eastern Europe”), and in October 2001 Legal Business, European Legal Business and the French Avocat News, (“Studio Legale Sutti pose ses jalons dans les pays de l’Est”).
At that time, however, the Bulgaria- and Eastern Europe-related plans of Studio Legale Sutti had already been discussed by the Italian and international press for several months (see Il Mondo, 14/01/2000, The Lawyer, 17/04/2000, “SLS Expands into Eastern Europe”; The International Financial Law Review, May 2000).