Solicitors governing body: Suomen Asianajajaliitto
Competition authority: kilpailu- ja kuluttajavirasto
Financial regulator: Finanssivalvonta
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Energy and infrastructure (published June) – Energy and infrastructure
Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking and finance, Capital markets, M&A
The smallest of the continental Nordic countries – both in population and economically – and the most sparsely-populated country in the EU, Finland is a civil law-governed market with a well-developed legal sector.
Though it lags slightly behind its North European neighbours in many indices it is still regarded as one of the most transparent, least corrupt and well-developed countries in the world. In terms of ease of doing business, it consistently ranks comfortably above such European powerhouses as Germany and France while GDP per capita is roughly the same as that in France and the UK. In terms of openness and transparency, it is routinely considered to be above neighbours Sweden and Norway and among the very best in the world.
The economy itself is a fairly dynamic and sophisticated one, albeit only mid-sized in the context of Europe. However, with a population of just under 5.5 million this means it punches above its weight financially. Mining and forestry, the country’s traditional industries, remain important parts of the economy but there has been a sea change in the market. While both have struggled in recent years the electronics – and in particular gaming – industry has become increasingly important. Helsinki is considered a global capital for mobile gaming and is increasingly recognised as one of the more important tech hubs in Europe.
The legal market, much like the economy, is a mixed bag. In contrast to some of its Nordic cousins, there is far more representation from regional and international firms on the ground here. Almost universally they are confined to Helsinki, though there are some with regional offices as well. While the most successful practices are a mix of domestic, regional – usually with a sister practice in Stockholm – and international names, there are a number of smaller domestic teams making an increasing impact on the market.
Many lawyers would argue the government could do more to encourage investment but there is also a sense that the regulators and legal professionals are moving in the same direction. Considered a safe bet for inward investment, there is a lot of interest in Finnish companies and so a sophisticated legal market has developed in parallel to this. Lawyers tend to be relatively specialised with a few specific experts dotted among the community. They will normally have a strong focus on one particular area but at the same time have extensive experience in related fields; e.g. corporate lawyers who also do notable equity capital markets and public takeover work. Really focused specialists do appear, however, and are increasingly active, though the size of the market means complex matters, like detailed structured finance deals, are relatively rare and subsequently the experience of working on such deals is equally sparse.
Jonathan Moore – Journalist - EMEA
Avance is a top-tier M&A firm with a reputation for handling demanding work. The firm’s M&A lawyers are often involved in private equity acquisitions and strategic exits. The firm has experience in the energy, financial services and healthcare sectors.
During the research period the firm was active for banks on bond programs and syndicated credit facilities.
On the debt side of the firm’s capital markets work, a standout deal saw the firm represent a joint venture as it issued the first large Finnish real estate development bond.
A notable change to the M&A team saw the arrival of partner Sebastian Kellas from Taxpoint Attorneys.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"They do a great professional job and provide a lot of helpful and important recommendations." – M&A
"We really like working with them. They are very helpful." – M&A
"We like working with him as he is fun, rational, and has a strong securities background."
"Excellent knowledge in the M&A sector. Proactive and efficient. Excellent at keeping deadlines."
Borenius is one of Finland’s leading firms for all areas of financial, corporate and project development advice. With satellite offices in New York and St Petersburg, the firm attracts international clients who invest in sectors including healthcare, real estate and technology.
In the banking area, the firm has recently advised on various large syndicated loans, major refinancings, and the acquisition financing terms of a large merger. Meanwhile, the influx of financial regulation work prompted the firm to recently create a new team to focus on regulatory matters.
The firm has represented both issuers and underwriters on several of the largest equity capital market deals in Finnish history, and is among the market’s most active firm on IPOs.
The firm has historically been a leader in the private equity space in Finland, attracting high-value, cross-border work. In recent years, the firm notably increased its work with Chinese acquirers.
The projects team regularly works on a range of energy deals across the region, with specialisms in environmental and mining mandates.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"Great job. Deep knowledge, friendly and has super availability." – Banking
"Their approach has been very pragmatic. Their analysis and recommendations on how to achieve the best possible outcome has been very useful for us." – Banking
"Very good work overall. Excellent project management." – Banking
"Highly professional law services and excellent client service." – Capital markets: Debt
"The firm has good problem solving skills, team management skills and they are able to meet tight deadlines." – Capital markets: Debts
"Very smooth cooperation, timely responses and a high level of drafting." – Capital markets: Debt
"Intellectually adventurous and commercially aware." – Capital markets: Equity
"They are easy to work with, very responsive and service-minded." – Capital markets: Equity
"They provide excellent advice and I believe they are among the strongest players in the capital markets law field in Helsinki. Good know-how of regulation and further understanding of investment banks procedures and market practice in Finland." – Capital markets: Equity
"A very high quality, pragmatic and service-oriented firm." – M&A
"Excellent push for client's benefits and value." – M&A
"Extremely quick, diligent, professional and reliable. Always a reliable reply and guidance within 24 hours of any request, irrespective of which day of the week." – M&A
"High quality, consistent work throughout." – M&A
"It was high quality work and we were happy to hire them." – M&A
"Key strengths include ability to support the client on a wide variety of topics, responsiveness and high overall quality of output." – M&A
"Strengths include their high expertise level, precise advice, high commitment, practical approach, solution driven, speedy response and a good level of communication." – M&A
"The professional competencies were very comprehensive, covering all aspects and areas in the transactions. The way of working was very proactive, practical and hands-on in getting things done, very well in time and as planned." – M&A
"Very good overall performance. Dedicated, service minded offering with timely deliveries and good quality." – M&A
"Outstanding knowledge in all aspects of insolvency law. Their advice is always practical and understandable, despite the complexity of the work." – Restructuring and insolvency
"The firm conducted our case with great skill." – Restructuring and insolvency
"He is an excellent lawyer and a fantastic person to work with. He has sound experience and has been part of many transactions recently. He knows the market practice and law really well. Further, I think the team he has built around him is very good and has good knowledge of legal matters."
"Very easy to work with, pragmatic and service-minded. He has a strong international network and understanding of US aspects."
"A trusted partner in legal matters, easy and efficient discussions, good practical problem solving and team management skills."
"Great accessibility, friendly attitude, deep experience."
"Very good cooperation and communication. She is easy to approach and provides a smooth service."
"Very good in communication. Provides a high level of initiative, and a strong ability to drive the project and client's interest."
"He is a proactive lawyer, who is a great talent in the field of insolvency matters."
"He is a very promising younger lawyer who has already shown very good competence in the field of insolvency law."
"Excellent in all respects - professional, quick, and not shy to express his opinion. Extremely reliable and a very likable person. Will usually find an answer to any question by consulting with the broader team."
"Hands-on partner who takes on responsibility throughout the process."
"He is strong at managing complex situations requiring a wide range of expertise. It always feels like he is up to speed in terms of progress and links between different workstreams. His availability is also excellent."
"He was able to gather a superior team for us and to utilize the team extremely well. We always had somebody available whenever needed and that person was always up-to-date regarding the processes we had on-going."
"Very pleasant to work with, also pragmatic and flexible."
"Great client work and pushes value in favor of his client."
"Highly experienced lawyer, very committed, and has a straight approach."
"Excellent understanding of client needs, flexible, great at problem solving."
"Consistent top quality work and solid advice."
"He is one of the most experienced insolvency lawyers in Finland."
"High quality in challenging, international M&A transactions. Very high level of legal know-how."
"Very pragmatic and systematic. Very pleasant to work with."
The oldest firm in the country, Castrén & Snellman, has one of the leading corporate teams in the Finnish market and secures top tier spots in all of IFLR1000’s rankings.
In banking work the firm is best known for its strong real estate finance work, and represents lenders and borrowers on a deals to finance ongoing residential, retail and sporting developments.
In recent years the firm’s M&A team has secured a larger share of the market’s high end work and it has recently advised on a number of public deals in the financial services sector.
The firm’s project team advises on some of the biggest infrastructure projects in the Finnish market, including the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The team made several counsel-level hires during the research period. Minna Korhonen joined the firm’s banking team from Krogerus. Samuli Tarkiainen joined the projects team from Roschier. Sami Lommi was hired from an in-house role at Folksam Non-Life Insurance to take up a position in the capital markets team. The firm lost an M&A partner as Kimmo Rekola announced his retirement after 19 years at the firm.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"Very good communication including pro-active analysis of complicated issues." – Banking
"Very satisfied with the legal support provided to us. Possible options were described with common sense and with interests in mind." – Banking
"Highly impressed. They have a very responsive, flexible and resourceful team." – Capital markets: Debt
"The work they provide is of very high quality, they have a deep knowledge of debt instruments." – Capital markets: Debt
"Overall very good and effortless partner relationship which is based on our continuous flow of joint cases. Legal substance is in order, and professionals are very capable individuals and good teamworkers which is needed in our demanding capital markets assignments." – Capital markets: Equity
"Responsive and well-thought-out solutions which cater to client needs." – Capital markets: Equity
"Their team seems to work well together and they are very service-minded. They were able to seek pragmatic solutions when needed. They were very responsive and easy to approach and discuss with." – Capital markets: Equity
"Very impressed. Fast, uncomplicated, knowledgeable, smooth." – M&A
"The firm's work has been reliable and equitable for all parties." – Restructuring and insolvency
"He has great networks and long experience on mining companies bankruptcy estates, and its been a pleasure to work with him."
"Easy to work with, very responsive and ready to help when needed. Has a positive way of looking at things and a proper 'can do' attitude. She is an experienced attorney with industry knowledge across different sectors."
"She is an excellent lawyer by international standards. Her knowledge of any legal aspect, quick grasp of client issues and the ability to see the business aspects are at the level rarely seen in the legal work. She provides pragmatic, easy-to-implement solutions that are highly valued by clients, and thus also save a significant amount of effort from all parties."
"Very concise and straight to the point advice. Understands the bigger picture - also political and economic conditions very well."
"Solution oriented and highly responsive. Proactive and accessible."
"Very good at negotiations, gets things done."
"Excellent work, highly-skilled."
"Fast, uncomplicated, knowledgeable and fun to work with."
Dittmar & Indrenius has a broad strong team across the financial and corporate area but is probably best known for its transactional work within the energy and infrastructure sector.
The firm is often mandated as Finnish counsel on large inbound M&A acquisitions and project financings, especially on deals involving renewable energy and infrastructure matters. It was recently involved in the largest ever Finnish energy-related acquisition, natural gas transaction and subsidy-free wind power project.
The firm has expertise in project-related issues, such as questions on mankala companies, energy market regulation and feed-in tariffs and subsidies.
During the research period the firm lost M&A capital markets partner, Juha Nurminen, who took up a role at Dottir Attorneys.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"Very responsive firm, provides good customer service and always takes into account our feedback." – Banking
"Easy to access, very helpful and has dedicated lawyers. They have deep knowledge of debt capital markets products and how the market functions." – Capital markets: Debt
"Solid expert advice with practical solutions. Good knowledge of the banking industry and years of experience." – Capital markets: Debt
"Hands-on senior people who understand the big picture and are nice to work with." – M&A
"High quality work and very responsive service; particularly strong M&A and finance practices, providing insightful and commercial legal advice." – M&A
"The firm does a superb job. It is professional, responsive, commercial and always constructive: a truly excellent team capable of executing Finnish transactions at the highest level." – M&A
"Very pragmatic, commercial and to the point in their advise." – M&A
"Very diligent, professional, timely." – M&A
"He is as sharp as they come. Always constructive and creative."
"Very knowledgeable and responsive lawyer. Also an excellent negotiator."
"He has an in-depth knowledge on the energy sector. Truly among the best experts in Finland."
"He is a highly skilled lawyer with deep insight in debt capital markets related questions. He had very valuable input and good knowledge of the legislation and how the market functions."
"She is very responsive and has a very practical approach to the assignments."
"Excellent team player and very strong client relationship skills."
"Very client-oriented and provides a high level of service. Good knowledge of the banking industry."
"He is a hugely experienced M&A lawyer, who is calm, cool and collected. A senior advisor of genuine note."
Hannes Snellman is best known for its strong banking, capital markets and M&A offerings. With strong Finnish and Swedish offices, the firm’s cross-border presence makes it one of the most visible Nordic firms.
In banking, the firm regularly represents both lenders and borrowers on matters including acquisition finance, real estate financings and refinancings.
The capital markets team often deals with complex securities transactions, including multi-jurisdictional offerings.
The firm’s M&A team works across a range of different sectors including energy, financial services and healthcare, advising on a mix of acquisitions, sales, joint ventures and financial investments.
Recent staff changes include the addition of former Nordea counsel Tuomas Toivonen to its finance team.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"Great firm to work with, very responsive lawyers and great expertise on relevant matters." – Banking
"Their biggest strength is that they deliver consistently high quality. You can expect everything to be in order, and they are strong across the board." – Capital markets: Debt
"Excellent depth of knowledge in relation to public M&A and is able to give succinct and helpful strategic advice. The supporting associates are professional and efficient." – M&A
"High quality, well structured, good service." – M&A
"Excellent in all aspects. He has been extremely impressive in terms of how prepared he is every single time, including industry knowledge, and his firm grasp of the numerous documents at any given time. He has an extremely impressive capability of having a great overall grasp of the entire project, as well as attention to detail. His arguments are strong and he is able to hold ground where others would have to concede, and pushes our asks very skillfully. He's incredibly prepared, capable and manages projects well. Overall, incredibly impressive."
"Impeccable legal knowledge and commercial understanding."
"He is extremely responsive and helpful in anticipating client needs, very commercial in his advice and has exceptional knowledge of technical aspects of financial regulation. A pleasure to work with."
"Excellent legal knowledge, high negotiation skills. Well structured and always on top of things. Well trusted."
"He is always keen to address specific client needs and has a very good understanding of the needs of in-house counsel. A great technical expert, very responsive and displays a good sense of humour."
Krogerus is recognised as one of the leading Finnish domestic firms and secures top tier rankings across the banking, M&A and project development areas.
In banking, the firm attracts significant work in the real estate sector and often generates mandates from German financial institutions. The project finance team regularly assists clients in connection with transactions in the energy sector.
The firm has recently been very active in M&A and equity capital markets, where it works largely for issuers. Healthcare, technology and transport are sectors where the firm completes the most transactions in these areas.
Within the projects space the firm is among the strongest firms locally in the renewables and PPP sectors, where it has advised on the construction of schools and hospitals for municipalities.
Staffing changes during the research period included the retirement of banking partner Kimmo Mettälä and the departure of banking counsels Minna Korhonen and Marjukka Sippola, who left to join Castrén & Snellman and OP Financial Group respectively.
Recent Deal Data highlights
Roschier is one of the region’s best firms across all areas of financial and corporate work, with the Finnish office displaying particular strength in banking and M&A.
The firm is recognised for its high-profile work on refinancings and new money acquisition facilities in the banking and finance space, where it acts for a mix of borrowers and lenders.
The firm’s capital markets team has considerable experience in working with clients on a wide range of regulatory and transactional work, including equity and debt offerings.
In the M&A space the firm regularly works on the largest private and Nordic deals, and shares a close working relationship with private equity houses like Axcel and KKR.
In the projects space, energy is a key component of the firm’s work, including nuclear, electricity, wind and other renewable energy sector deals.
The only major staffing changes during the research period saw public M&A partner Paula Linna take up a new role outside the legal sector.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"Easy access, very smooth communication and co-operation." – Banking
"High quality work and good expertise. One of the best law firms in Finland." – Banking
"Highly competent and has quick response times." – Banking
"Overall great work. The lawyers are highly professional, well available and also great to work with. Very prudent and thorough in all assignments." – Banking
"Proactive and reliable team, nice to work with." – Banking
"The firm did an excellent job in managing the legal process. They provided valuable insight throughout the process. Highly recommended." – Banking
"Very good understanding of the banking sector." – Banking
"They have very skillful and service-oriented lawyers. They are easy to work with and always available when needed. Their international grasp is strong due to their good foreign connections." – Capital markets: Equity
"Diligence, high quality and generally very good service." – M&A
"Excellent support, high quality advice and judgement." – M&A
"The team has been extremely committed to deliver high quality advisory services on a practical level." – M&A
"Very professional and provides high quality legal support." – M&A
"Very professional, diligent, strong execution, with broad knowledge." – M&A
"Excellent firm, providing high level advice." – Project development
"Truly committed to take care of their customers." – Project development
Waselius & Wist is recognised for its strong banking and finance work, counting several global banks among its clientele.
In banking and finance the firm largely acts on the lender side but works for borrowers in acquisition finance deals. The firm is also advises on regulatory issues on the establishment and provision of services by banks and investment funds.
The firm’s capital markets team is best known for its work in the debt space, and regularly represents international banks as the Finnish counsel on notes issuances.
Cross-border transactions for the acquirers generally feature heavily in the firm’s M&A mandates.
Recent Deal Data highlights
"Very strong, required minimal supervision, quick response times." – Banking
"Very commercial and pragmatic, while providing incisive advice on local law issues." – M&A
"Good communicators, thorough and responsive." – Project development
"Very strong attention to detail, great at progressing matters with other counsels. Also has a quick response time to emails and has a strong understanding of deal structure."
"Friendly, reliable and commercial. A great partner,"
"Excellent, very responsive and engaged."
White & Case’s Finnish offering is best known for its transactional financial and corporate work. Several of the country’s most experienced capital markets specialists work at the firm and, as a result, it is generally involved in Finland’s most significant equity and debt offerings. Banking and M&A are other areas where the firm is highly commended.
In the banking and finance area the firm often acts on real estate financings and geenraky works for lenders including Carnegie Investment Bank, Credit Suisse and DNB Bank.
The capital markets team regularly advises both issuers and underwriters on debt, equity or hybrid capital markets transactions. In the debt space the firm works on a large range of mandates including on high-yield bonds by Finnish companies and on bond buy-backs. On the equity side the firm is often working on headline IPOs as well as on several accelerated bookbuild offerings.
The firm’s M&A team takes roles a number of high-profile Finnish deals for acquirers and sellers and has a particular specialism of working on large public cash tender offers.
Recent Deal Data highlights