Latvia

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Latvijas Zvērinātu advokātu padome

Competition authority: Konkurences padome

Financial regulator: Finansu un kapitala tirgus komisija

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Energy and infrastructure (published June) – Energy and infrastructure

Financial and corporate (published October) – Financial and corporate

Jurisdiction overview

Latvia sits in the middle of the Baltic states, geographically, economically and in terms of population. It is a civil law jurisdiction based on a constitution first ratified in 1922 and reaffirmed as the country’s de facto governing document in 1990, following the parliament’s declaration of the Soviet occupation and annexation as illegal.

An EU and Eurozone country, it is ranked as a very highly developed nation by the UN and is listed as among the 25 best countries to do business in by the World Bank. It operates a mixed economy with a strong focus on services. Key industries include agriculture, manufacturing and the processing of natural resources.

As one of the Baltic countries it maintains strong links with Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south, economically, socially and politically. Around one in four Latvians are ethnically Russian. As such, the country has traditionally had the strongest connection to Russia of the three Baltic states, with Estonia having a similar Russian population but much stronger cultural ties to Finland and Scandinavia and Lithuania having a much smaller population and a more traditionally European focus.

The legal market resembles that of its Baltic neighbours, dominated by pan-Baltic firms at the top of the market with several domestic firms also active. All major practices are based in the capital Riga.

The individual practice of law follows a similar pattern to that of most EU states. To qualify as a Zvērināts advokāts (sworn advocate) one must be an EU national, fluent in Latvian and have prior experience working in the legal market. Foreign lawyers from European Free Trade Agreement countries may practice relatively freely but must register with the Latvian bar. Otherwise there are no specific restrictions that apply to foreign lawyers or law firms operating in the country.

Jonathan Moore – Journalist - EMEA

Financial and corporate
BDO Law

The Latvian branch of the wider BDO network is active in the banking and M&A areas. Other strengths of the firm includes reorganisations, crowdfunding services and corporate governance advice.  

Recently the firm have also been active working on the registration and licensing of alternative investment fund managers. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • Aigars Rostovskis acquisition of Turība University
  • VIA SMS restructuring 

Client feedback

"Creative and responsive." – Banking

"Professional. Flexibility. Good business network." – M&A

Cobalt

Cobalt is one of the best firm in Latvia and is particularly noted for the strength of its financial and corporate work. The firm is among the market leaders in both banking and M&A, while also becoming increasingly active in capital markets. 

The firm works on the market’s largest deals from sovereign bond issues to project financings. Domestically the firm often works on acquisition and project financings in sectors such as fishing, real estate and technology.  

Alongside its Baltic offices the firm is involved in the biggest M&A mandates in the region as Latvian counsel to either acquirers or sellers.  

In the project development space the firm is active on construction, energy, infrastructure and shipping projects. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • airBaltic €200 million 6.75% bond issue
  • Blackstone $1 billion acquisition of 60% stake in Luminor
  • Republic of Latvia €650 million dual tranche (1.148% and 1.938%) sovereign bond issue 

Client feedback

"Excellent. Responsive. Proactive." – Banking

Ellex

The Latvian office of Ellex is strong in all financial and corporate work and among the market leaders for banking and M&A work. 

Alongside its regional offices the firm works on market-leading deals, including high-value banking, capital markets and private equity transactions. It regularly works with the biggest Baltic investors and lenders, operating across a range of sectors including energy, financial services and transport.  

The firm recently completed a US-UK-Latvian management buy-out matter for the acquirer, and an aviation finance transaction involving airBaltic, working for the lender. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Blackstone $1 billion acquisition of 60% stake in Luminor
  • Enefit Green €289 million acquisition of Nelja Energia
  • Kartesia acquisition of GroGlass 

Client feedback

"The lawyers are responsive, and provide sound legal advice." – Banking

"The lawyers are very professional, always available and offered us good assistance in the negotiations as well in the documentation work." – Banking

"Efficient, business savvy and responsive." – M&A

"The firm is responsive and business oriented." – M&A

Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns

Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns – the only large international firm with a Latvian presence – is recognised for its banking and finance work. In this space it acts for a mix of regional lenders and borrowers. 

The firm stands out for its capability to advise on English and Latvian law, and for its ability to handle LMA style senior, mezzanine and high-yield financing transactions.  

In the projects space the firm is active within the energy and transport sectors, and is notably assisting a developer on the Rail Baltica project. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • GroGlass €51 million financing
  • HansaMatrix €20 million financing
  • Rail Baltica

Client feedback

"They have very strong team and number of recognised, experienced and skilled attorneys at law and outstanding capacity to cover large scale and very complex work." – Banking

"Excellent." – Capital markets: Equity

"Very professional." – Capital markets: Equity

Fort

The Latvian office of Fort is recognised in particular for its cross-border transactional work, where it regularly works on commercial real estate M&A deals. Banking and finance is an area of strength for the team. The firm is also a strong player in the crowdfunding space, having set up the country’s first loan-based crowdfunding platform in Latvia. 

During the research period the firm worked for the acquirers in the purchase of forest land and a logistics complex, and for the sellers of an office. 

The firm has a strong project development practice, which carries out mandates across the renewable energy and transport sectors for developers.  

A notable staffing change saw the arrival of corporate counsel Laura Zalana from Primus Derling. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • East Capital €10.6 million acquisition of P5 logistics park
  • Mogo Finance €50 million 9.5% bond issue
  • Södra $324 million acquisition of Bergvik Skog's Latvian assets

Client feedback

 

"Experienced. Business minded. Fast and are efficient. Easy to communicate with." – Banking

"Highly professional and motivated." – Banking

"They are very helpful, sharp minded and always ready for new challenges." – Banking

"Very professional, responsive and has a remarkable experience. Lawyers always come up with effective solutions, based on a reasoned approach." – Banking

"They always provide a very prompt, business minded approach which is substantiated from all aspects of law." – Project development

"The law firm is very proactive and professional." – Restructuring and insolvency

 

KPMG

KPMG has a credible financial and corporate offering. The firm specialises in providing corporate restructuring services. 

The firm has recently assisted acquirers and sellers on M&A deals providing due diligence and share purchase agreement reviews. The deal have been in sectors including healthcare, real estate and technology. Other corporate mandates included work on mergers, demergers and joint ventures. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • All Media Latvia restructuring
  • BPW Kraatz Finance restructuring
  • Fertilog / FIN Logistics merger 

Client feedback

"Good prompt service, thorough documentation, excellent English." – M&A

Kronbergs Čukste Levin

Kronbergs Čukste Levin is active in the Latvian financial and corporate area. The firm is best known for banking and M&A, often representing Baltic clients. 

The firm’s work within the banking and finance space includes matters dealing with financial regulation, financing and syndicated loans. 

The M&A team is particularly active in the energy, technology and transport sectors, and recently assisted the sellers in a deal where a large Baltic retail chain acquired an e-commerce business.  

In September 2018 the firm joined the newly-launched pan-Baltic alliance, Levin. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • Daugava Stadium expansion
  • DHL Latvia restructuring
  • Kesko Senukai acquisition of 1A Group 

Client feedback

"The team consists of good specialists and professionals in different areas of law." – Banking

"Happy with the quality of the advise provided, and the speed and efficiency in which it was provided." – Project development

"Very professional. Helped us understand our issues. Great quality." – Project development

Leadell Fogels & Vītols

Leadell Fogels & Vītols is recognised for its banking and finance work within the Latvian legal market.  

In the M&A space the firm notably worked for the acquirer on one of the largest Baltic agricultural deals. Other active sectors for the firm include financial services and technology.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Achemos Grupe €25 million acquisition of Litagra 

Client feedback

"The services I have received have been highly professional and completed with an absolutely excellent attitude." – Banking

Primus Derling

The Riga office of Primus Derling is known for its strong banking and M&A offerings. Financial services, energy and transport are the sectors in which the firm is most active. 

The firm’s M&A team was active in the research period, working for acquirers and sellers on mergers, investments, and private and public M&A deals.  

In the projects space the firm had a diverse array of mandates and worked for the developers on several nationally significant matters in the aviation, electricity, railway and wind farm sectors. 

In September 2018 the firm became a part of the pan-Baltic network Primus Derling. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • BaltCap Infrastructure Fund acquisition of 70% stake in Energoeco
  • Lumi Retail Property acquisition of Anniņmuižas
  • VGP Park Kekava Logistics Park 

Client feedback

"Quick response time together with full time availability. Several specialists for different tasks and requests." – Project development

Skrastiņš & Dzenis

The team at Skrastiņš & Dzenis is active in M&A. The firm often provides legal services across the Baltic region alongside partner firms Tark in Estonia and Motieka & Audzevičius in Lithuania. 

Among other recent work the firm has been active in representing acquirers in notable deals in the insurance and e-commerce sector. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • Kesko Senukai acquisition of 1A Group
  • Vienna Insurance Group acquisition of Seesam Insurance 

Client feedback

"The firm has always has stood out for its very high precision and vast experience." – M&A

Sorainen

Sorainen has a clear strength in corporate and project-related work, and ranks in the top tiers across both of IFLR1000’s ranking tables. The firm is active in areas including banking and finance, capital markets and M&A. 

The firm’s recent financial and corporate work includes acquisition financing, restructurings and processing mergers across sectors such as energy, retail and transport. The firm also acted on large, regional deals for international acquirers such as Aon, Nasdaq and Providence Equity Partners alongside its Estonian and Lithuanian offices.  

In the projects space the firm works across the board on mandates in energy and infrastructure by acting for developers on issues such as power transmission networks, rail projects and wind parks. 

A key staffing change saw partner Pekka Puolakka depart after 20 years at the firm. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

  • airBaltic €200 million 6.75% bond issue 
  • Aon Baltic / Balto Link merger
  • Södra $324 million acquisition of Bergvik Skog's Latvian assets 

Client feedback

"All of them are very good - very professional and very polite." – M&A

"The client care level we received in Lithuania was exceptional, starting from the managing partner and down to associates. They are very practical, prudent, solution oriented and provide advice not only on legal, but also on a strategical level." – Project development

TGS Baltic

TGS Baltic in Riga is active on the spectrum of financial and corporate work but is particularly renowned for its banking and M&A work, where it ranks among the market leaders. 

In the banking area the firm regularly represents clients on fintech issues, including on the operations of peer-to-peer lending platforms and real estate lending.  

The firm has often represented the acquirer in M&A transactions recently, completing key deals in sectors such forestry, horticulture and timber. Private equity was another sector where the firm developed experience as it acted for IK Investment Partners on a pan-Baltic and Nordic acquisition.  

The firm has been busy in project development, working for developers on Latvian wind parks. 

A notable staffing change during the research period saw partner Sandis Petrovics and a team of six lawyers arrive from Triniti. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Euroapotheca €185 million financing
  • Straco $120 million acquisition of Greenyard's horticulture division
  • University of Latvia campus extension 

Client feedback

"One of the most professional law firms in Latvia." – Banking

"Very quick and professional response." – Banking

"Answers and consultations were given very fast in both ways: via e-mail and on phone." – M&A

"Good, professional expertise and document preparation work." – M&A

"Highly professional execution within and beyond their task list, a long track record in various industries and experience within different types of M&A projects certainly brings additional value." – M&A

"Responsive. Practice oriented. Cost efficient." – M&A

"Talented and efficient." – M&A

"The firm has a highly sought-after transactional team that has a market-leading reputation for the largest and most complex M&A transactions in the Baltics. The firm has a large team of extremely intelligent, skillful, hard- working and business savvy attorneys. It puts enormous effort in client service and making sure that attorneys find solutions that work the best for businesses of clients and put them ahead of competition. " – M&A

"We are confident that they will provide highly qualified help in the areas they are working in. We can rely on their knowledge without any doubt." – M&A

"Very good and accurate advice." – Project development

Nauris Grigals

"Excellent service, fast and professional delivery, pleasant communication."

"He is respected for first-rate representation in both international and domestic M&A transactions. He is always available and incredibly strategic, smart, commercial and exceedingly client-focused, an excellent negotiator and phenomenal in structuring deals."

Inese Hazenfusa

"Very accurate and responsive."

"Very professional."

Andra Rubene

"Precise and competent."

"She is the best M&A lawyer in the Baltics. She has recently advised on all the largest cross-border, multi-jurisdictional and domestic M&A transactions in the Baltics, especially in energy, real estate and infrastructure sectors. She has phenomenal business understanding, strategical thinking, focus on the results, efficiency and excellent project management skills. She focuses on what is important for a client and achieves it in a very efficient and rational manner. She is highly trusted for her ability to successfully handle major transactions which require expertise across numerous specialities."

"Thoughtful and practice-oriented."

"Very experienced in areas of M&A and competition law."

"Very responsive and explains all when needed. Gave very valuable explanation and samples of other cases."

Linda Štrause

"She is a highly qualified lawyer and has helped us in variety of difficult situations, handling them professionally and with positive results."

Triniti

Triniti’s Riga offering has a strong financial and corporate practice and is known for banking and M&A work. 

The firm has recently worked on the sale of a social media network and on investment fund formation.  

In the projects space the firm’s key mandate has seen it work for developers on Rail Baltica. 

A notable staffing change during the research period saw partner Sandis Petrovics and a team of six lawyers leave to join TGS Baltic. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

  • Flycap investment fund
  • Noosphere acquisition of ask.fm
  • Rail Baltica