Solicitors governing body: Croatian Bar Association
Competition authority: AZTN – Croatian Competition Agency
Financial regulator: Croatian National Bank, HANFA – Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Croatia is a civil law jurisdiction and one of only two countries in the Balkans (along with Slovenia) to be admitted to the EU. The legal system contains elements of Austrian and German law, from the country’s time under Austro-Hungarian rule, and socialist law from the latter part of the 20th century. As with other EU states, new legislation is now often based on or closely aligned to EU law and principle.
The Croatian legal market is relatively open, from an individual perspective, in that as long as qualified lawyers are a Croatian or EU citizen they can be admitted to practice by the Croatian Bar Association. Since the country’s admission to the EU, the groundwork is also in place for firms from the EU, EEA or Switzerland to be able to open offices in the country, though rules around naming exist.
As it stands the Croatian market is still dominated by local firms, with the only foreign firms present being the Austrian based regional groups - such as Schoenherr, Wolf Theiss and CMS - and Balkan regional firm Karanović & Nikolić. Though EU accession, as mentioned above, makes entry into the market for foreign firms easier than it has been the past, the size of the market and Croatia’s economic problems means that it is unlikely that many other firms will make the move.
Again, due to the market’s size, most lawyers tend to business law generalists and cover a range of work across the financial and corporate space.
Croatian firm Bardek Lisac Mušec Skoko, which works in association with CMS, is strong in banking and finance work, and has expertise in the corporate area.
The firm has been acting on mandates in banking, technology, real estate sector, and energy sectors where it has advised banks, financial institutions and private and public companies on financings, acquisitions, NPL sales and regulatory matters.
Key clients include Heta, OTP, the EBRD and Citibank.
"Highly responsive, knowledgeable and ready to help." – Project development, regulatory
"The law firm's biggest strength is the combination of first class legal and tax advisory services. This saves time, cost and prevents from potential conflicts between advisers. The firm perfectly combines international understanding and local demands." – Banking, M&A, project development, project finance, restructuring
"The law firm's employees are highly skilled and professional experts that have helped us in many aspects of our work, where we lack the necessary knowledge and experience. The response time was always short, and they were flexible to meet our specific demands." – Banking
"Very good value for money, usually quick response times, and thorough and reliable work. Appropriate staffing of matters (no over staffing). Very service-oriented and they get things done. Quality of work was always very good." – M&A
"Very professional in performing all tasks - timely and high quality deliverable. Very reliable." – Investment funds, project development, project finance, regulatory
Recently established Croatian firm, Bradvica Marić Wahl Cesarec, has a growing financial and corporate practice.
The firm has been largely active in M&A transactions recently, advising on deals across the IT, telecommunications and media, and real estate sectors, primarily acting for the buyers. It has also been engaged in restructuring and insolvency mandates acting for the reorganising company in corporate and debt restructurings.
During the research period, the firm hired Branko Skerlev as partner from Skerlev Law office.
The firm’s publishable clients include EGO Group and Europlakat.
"Team of top experts, very professional, discrete, fast and reliable." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, project finance, regulatory, restructuring
"The firm provides excellent work in the field of corporate and commercial law. In particular, Matthias Wahl is a great adviser for corporate and M&A transactions as well as for commercial business relations. He leads transactions with a hands on approach, creates straightforward solutions while considering our economic interest as well. Matthias is always available within short time period." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, project development, restructuring
"Very responsive and flexible." – Banking, M&A
In 2018, Čipčić Bragadin & Associates underwent a three-way merger with two independent law firms to establish Čipčić Bragadin Mesić & Associates.
The firm has been active in M&A and regulatory matters, primarily in the energy and banking sectors. It has acted for the likes of Nadeva wind and CTC holding on the acquisition of wind farms. Its regulatory team has advised the likes of JPMorgan and Barclays bank in relation to Brexit.
Following the recent merger, Marina Mesić is now name partner while Ivan Juričić is a senior partner at the firm who both joins the firm from independent practice
Key clients include Deutsche bank, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan.
Divjak Topić & Bahtijarević Law Firm is one of the leading domestic firms in Croatia. The practice is known for its strength across the financial and corporate and project development areas.
The firm’s work has mainly come from M&A recently, advising real estate funds on real estate acquisitions. The firm has also advised clients on financing transactions, including acquisition finance acting for lender. During the research period, the firm has acted across banking, real estate and energy sectors.
Globe Trade Centre, Arriva, and Sazka Group are some of the firm’s key clients.
"DTB offers the complete range of legal services in Croatia. We appreciated their commitment to see the transaction through, often under time pressure. DTB took ownership of the project and was fully invested, even at the senior level." – Banking, M&A, regulatory
"Excellent work and communication with other law firms and client in Croatia." – Project development
"Nice people. Very well connected and supportive." – Banking, M&A
"Very professional, hardworking, and available, with extensive knowledge across industries." – Banking, M&A
"Very responsive, talented lawyers and fair pricing." – M&A
"He is very invested and committed, and he is also well coordinated."
"He is very responsive and provides impressive and thorough advice in German language."
"Very good technically."
"Very good technically and keeps to deadlines."
"I have been working with him for over 10 years, and I really appreciate his professionalism and always come back for his advice."
"Very good technically and keeps to deadlines."
Saša Divjak and Andrej Žmikić
"Excellent work. Both have the ability to empathise with client's perspective and answer questions before they are even asked."
Glinska & Mišković is an independent firm that often works with DLA Piper. The firm is active in financing and facility agreements, working for lenders. It is also active in M&A transactions, where it acts for international hedge funds. Other finance work includes advising banks on financing retail and energy projects.
In the research period, Lea Pogarčić Mataija left the firm to join Single Resolution Board.
Key clients include EBRD, Sberbank, VTB bank and SPAR Hrvastska.
"Competent and eager team, very good negotiation skills and problem-solving ability." – Banking
"Fast, precise and well-known." – Banking, project development
"High level of expertise and professionalism, very focused, detailed and reliable. Cooperative during ad-hoc problems and new issues while supporting to find creative solutions." – Banking, capital markets
"Reliable, client-oriented, providing accurate and detailed information, transparent." – Banking, project development, regulatory
"They provide practical and technical advice which is easy to understand." – Restructuring
"We have worked with Glinska & Mišković since 2011. We are very happy with the work provided. We receive quite detailed and profound advice, good response times, solid and clear strategy with the best results. Glinska & Mišković is a first class firm with high value for our work. We certainly appreciate being represented by the firm." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, regulatory, restructuring
"Law Firm Glinska & Mišković provides us with a high-quality legal counsel service. They are knowledgeable and proactive, one of the best in the country. We are closely working with Mrs Beata Glinska and Mr Marko Tomić, whom we can highly recommend for their responsiveness and personal skills, excellent knowledge and for finding solutions to difficult for complex issues." – Banking, insolvency, investment funds, project development, project finance, regulatory
Hanžeković & Partners is one of largest firms in Croatia and has expertise across all practice areas.
The firm has been primarily active in M&A, advising in deals in the real estate, tourism, energy, and food sectors largely acting for buyers. The firm has also acted on restructuring mandates, acting for the creditors, and advised on the acquisition of NPL portfolios.
In the project space, the firm has been active on infrastructure development, notably advising a contractor on the development of an LNG terminal.
Most of the firm’s clients are confidential however, publishable clients include LNG Croatia and Helector.
"The law firm's employees are highly skilled and professional experts that have helped us in many aspects of our work, where we lack the necessary knowledge and experience. The response time was always short, and they were flexible to meet our specific demands." – Banking, M&A, restructuring and insolvency
"She has wide corporate expertise and excellent financial knowledge, as well as effective negotiation skills that helped us in many situations."
Iva Markotić Bagarić, Dora Hanžeković, Andrea Domac Ričković and Vedran Vusić
"All of them are at our disposal at all times, providing prompt and quality legal assistant."
Since its inception in 2014, Kovačević Prpić Simeunović has been growing its practice especially in the financial and corporate area. During the research period, the firm worked on acquisitions for funds, the transfer of aircraft leasing agreements, and gave regulatory advice to Tankeska Next generation in relation to capital reserve issues.
The firm recently hired Uroš Pavasović as counsel from Žurić i Partneri.
The firm has advised the likes of Ferratum Bank, Erste Factoring, and AIK banka.
"Happy long term client of the law firm. Since we have periodical need for more intense legal advice, we always found them responsiveness and honoring deadlines which were sometimes tight." – Regulatory, restructuring
Law firm Kallay & Partners has been active in infrastructure projects working on water utilities, oil and gas and waste management projects primarily advising the developers. The firm is also active on corporate area advising the sellers on cross border acquisitions of water vehicles, and business shares.
Law Office Mucalo has been active across TMT, energy, and manufacturing during the research period. One notable highlight saw the firm advise HEP on power plant developments. In M&A, it advised a foreign client on the sale of a local quarry.
The firm has recently advised the likes of HEP and Alas group.
"Law office Mucalo provides swift, comprehensive and reliable legal advice and information. They are very flexible and fast." – Financial and corporate
"Law Office Mucalo has a very professional and high level of knowledge." – Capital markets, M&A, regulatory
Madirazza & Partners have expertise across all areas of work covered by the rankings, but especially M&A. During the research period the firm has been active across numerous sectors, picking up mandates in the TMT, insurance and pharmaceutical industries, primarily acting for acquirers.
Among its highlight deals, its role representing creditors including VTB Bank and RCB Bank in Agrokor’s restructuring stands out.
The firm has also been engaged in work in the power and oil and gas sectors, advising on acquisitions, financings, and project development work for the likes of Željko Samardžić and RP Global.
VTB Bank, MET Croatia Energy Trade and Hrvatski Telekom are some of the firm’s notable clients.
Marohnić Tomek & Gjoić has been active across financial and corporate areas.
During the research period, the firm has been mostly kept busy advising buyers on acquisition of loan portfolios. It also advised foreign clients on establishment and winding-down of businesses in Croatia. In project finance work, the firm and has picked up an advisory role to the local authority in the redevelopment of Medvednica National park.
The firm has advised the likes of JP International, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, and Balkan Properties.
Matekovic Law Firm has capability in corporate work and experience advising both domestic and international clients.
During the research period the firm acted for foreign clients, as acquirers, in two M&A transactions in the automotive and energy sectors. It also acted on several corporate restructuring mandates, notably in the Agrokor restructuring where it advised the creditor AVA 3 Company.
Key clients include China Dynamics, Aventis and Renesola Shanghai.
"Good knowledge of pharmaceutical law." – Regulatory
"I appreciated the firm's prompt response to our legal issues. I also think that it is a strong point of this team that it properly evaluates the work on each project entrusted to them." – Insolvency, Regulatory
"Strengths: expertise, knowledge, quick response and clear answers." – Capital markets, project development
Porobija & Porobija is one of the leading law firms in Croatia active across all practice areas.
In the financial and corporate space, the firm has worked for the likes of investment funds and public companies on M&A transactions. In project finance, the firm has acted for lenders and borrowers on road development and wind farm projects. During the research period, the firm was involved in the issuance of two sovereign bond issues.
Elsewhere, the firm has been active on real estate, energy and infrastructure projects.
Key clients include UniCredit, PPHE Hotel Group and Vipnet.
The Croatian office of the regional law firm focuses on financial and corporate work, primarily cross-border transactions.
The firm’s work is largely concentrated in cross border M&A across various sectors including IT and media, largely advising the buyers. In the banking sector, the firm has been active on the acquisition of NPL portfolios, and is acting for Sberbank on the restructuring of Agrokor.
Staffing changes include a new managing partner in Miriam Simsa, while Arijana Petres and Jana Cvirn Adamčić left the firm.
The firm has acted for the likes of Sberbank, Lidl and Alca Zagreb.
"The firm have a dynamic cross-border team with experience from several jurisdictions, allowing them to provide sound advice to their clients. In addition to that, their approach is very much business-oriented and serves to facilitate the transaction going through while still protecting their client." – Banking
"I have always received highly professional, on time, accurate and quality service from them. One thing that I would like to emphasize is the fact that they are always available to you (client) at any time, which I appreciate the most." – Banking, M&A, regulatory
"Strengths - practical advice, knowledge of local practice and local network. High standards of providing services." – M&A
"They were great professionals and met our expectations in handling our case." – Regulatory
"Very professional, concentrated on my requests. Gave me very digestible advice." – Banking, regulatory
Wolf Theiss has established a reputable presence in Croatia. Its network of offices across CEE region allows it to take on multi-jurisdictional mandates.
In financial and corporate work, the firm has been largely active in M&A advising on private equity and corporations. It has also been active on acquisition finance transactions, where it acted for the lenders. On the borrower’s side, the firm acted on the financing of a shopping mall.
The firm’s project team is active in advising the concessionaires and bidders on implementation of projects and for tenders in the construction and development of infrastructure projects including the Pelješac Bridge.
The firm’s publishable clients include Bain Capital, Vermilion Zagreb Exploration, and Borealis.
"We received fast and tailor-made legal opinion/assessments as to the entry on the Croatian market. Our intention was to find an experienced law firm that provides comprehensive but accurate advice. They delivered within the set deadline and with full professionalism. Also good English communication was crucial for us and we got it." – Regulatory