Solicitors governing body: Georgian Bar Association
Competition authority: Competition Agency
Financial regulator: National Bank of Georgia
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Energy and infrastructure (published June) - Energy and infrastructure
Financial and corporate (published October) – Financial and corporate
Since achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has effectively rebuilt its entire legal system, replacing Soviet era laws with new ones created with the assistance of Western European legal experts.
As with other countries with a civil law model, Georgia has a constitution and civil code at the core of its legal system. In the case of the former, the country adopted its current constitution in 1995, but various amends have been made since, including a flurry between 2004 and 2006 which recast the respective powers of government, parliament and president.
One interesting talking point from a regulatory perspective is the future of financial regulation in the country. While this has traditionally been overseen by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG), 2015 saw the latest attempt to transfer regulatory oversight to a separate financial regulatory body.
Though there are no explicit restrictions on foreign firms practicing in the country, only Georgian citizens licensed by the Georgian Bar Association can practice as local advocates. Equally there are no restrictions on foreign law firms hiring local Georgian lawyers.
The legal market is made up primarily of local Georgian firms, but a handful of foreign firms have opened offices including Dechert, DLA Piper and the legal branches of accountancy firms Deloitte, EY and PwC. These offices are generally staffed by local Georgian advocates.
As with most countries in the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe), lawyers in Georgia are not specialised in just one area of practice and generally act on a range of matters that fall under the broader umbrella of business or corporate law.
Sam Duke - Editor
BDO Law is the Georgian legal branch of the wider BDO network which provides accountancy and other business services.
The firm has been active in the banking and agriculture sectors during the research period advising on M&A and general corporate matters.
Key clients include the likes of Olam International, JSC Partnership Fund and the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture.
BGI Legal is one of the leading firms in Georgia adept at both finance and corporate work.
During the research period the firm has focused on financing and restructuring matters primarily advising international lenders.
Staffing changes include the departure of Otar Kakhidze who departed to take up a position in politics.
“Very good law firm for this jurisdiction. Strong knowledge with minor hiccups in responsiveness and understanding foreign countries' lawyers' mentality.” – Banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency
“Good communication skills, responsive.”
BLC Law Office has focused on M&A during the research period in a range of sectors.
On the financing side the firm also picked up work acting for Credit Suisse on a loan to Georgian Railways and advised TBC Capital on capital markets matters.
Key clients include the likes of ABC Pharmacia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Proparco.
Business Legal Bureau has focused its work on financing and project development work during the research period acting on a number of bank lending matters.
Key clients include the likes of APM Terminals, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Microsoft and Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Dentons, as a brand, is new to the Georgian market, though the team itself is one that has had a sterling reputation in the country for a number of years. 2017 saw the former DLA Piper Georgia team transfer to Dentons in what seems to have been a frictionless transfer.
The firm has been engaged on various matters relating to the reshaping of the Georgian banking market including TBC Bank’s acquisition of Bank Republic. The firm has also been active in the energy sector advising on various hydroelectric power projects and Schlumberger’s acquisition of upstream oil and gas blocks.
Key clients include Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, ING and TBC Bank.
“Responsible, competent and high quality. Sometimes a little bit slow because of having many projects.” – M&A
"Very helpful, responsible, competent, experienced and sometimes too busy."
LPA Law firm has acted on a range of M&A and general corporate work during the research period acting in a range of sectors including agriculture and telecommunications.
A notable project saw the firm advised on the structuring and establishment of a new cement company in Georgia by Georgian Cement Company and LafargeHolcim.
Key clients include the likes of Caucasus Online and Georgia Boers Agro.
Mgaloblishvili Kipiani Dzidziguri has been active in the banking, pharmaceuticals and energy sectors.
The firm had a role on one of the largest deals of the 2016 advising on TBC Bank’s acquisition of Bank Republic advising seller Société Générale. Another notable deal saw the firm advise the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on its first public Georgian bond issue.
Staffing changes during the research period include the addition of Paata Kiknavelidze who re-joined the firm after a spell in politics.
Key clients include Asian Development Bank, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and the EBRD.
“Excellent lawyers. The most responsive and professional worked with across 10+ countries in the region. Good balance between useful advice on local risks and offering practical solutions. In particular, highly available and quick to understand the details of the project.” – Banking and finance, investment funds
“Result-oriented, very flexible and responsive, driven by the client needs.” – M&A, restructuring and insolvency
“Excellent, highly responsive and a good balance between identifying local risks and offering practical solutions. Works quickly and professionally, always accessible. Had the impression we were her only client, even knowing that this was not the case.”
David Dzidziguri and Victor Kipiani
“Experts with international approach and knowledge.”
Nodia Urumashvili & Partners has been focused on general corporate matters and restructuring during the research period.
Staffing changes during the research period include the addition of Vakhtang Gamtsemlidze from British American Tobacco.
Key clients include Finstar Financial Group, JSC Caucasus Development Bank and Zarapkhana Development