Solicitors governing body: Serbian Bar Association
Competition authority: Commission for Protection of Competition
Financial regulator: National Bank of Serbia
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Like the other countries of the former Yugoslavia, Serbia has been through many incarnations since the breakup of the socialist republic in 1991. The current state of Serbia was formed in 2006 following the split with Montenegro.
The country is a civil law jurisdiction backed by the 2006 constitution.
Lawyers are known as advokats and must be registered by the Serbian Bar Association in order to practice. The legal market was liberalised in 2011, which was done in part to bring the country in line with EU legislation. Foreign lawyers now have access to the market though they must, alongside other requirements, work in conjunction with a local lawyer on Serbian law issues for the first three years of practice. To become a fully registered lawyer Serbian citizenship must be obtained.
Serbia has taken steps to encourage free movement of lawyers in the countries of the former Yugoslavia and in light of this the principal bar associations of both Serbia and Montenegro have signed an agreement to this effect.
The legal market is made up entirely of domestic Serbian firms though many have cooperation agreements with regional CEE firms such as CMS, Schoenherr and Wolf Theiss. Some firms such as BDK and Karanović & Nikolić have also developed Balkan networks of their own and have offices in various countries of the former Yugoslavia.
Most lawyers in the market are generalists but do have a focus on the general areas of commercial and business law. Some individuals based in Serbia also take on coordinating roles on regional Balkan deals and will often have transactional experience in neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Aleksić & Associates is active in financial and corporate area and has worked on leasing finance and loan portfolio sales for the likes Société Generale Bank and Intesa Leasing.
It has also been engaged on project mandates for JKP Čistoća Novi Sad, advising the company on construction of sewage network and electric substation.
Key clients include JKP Čistoća Novi Sad, Société Generale Bank and Intesa leasing.
"Aleksić and Associates is a law firm with good previous reputation and experience in the Serbian market for law and collection services. Until now we have developed cooperation in the segment of collection and have met neither a reputation risk nor a problem during our 10-year long cooperation." – Banking
"Aleksić and Associates is our preferred law firm in Serbia for its in-depth advice, strong finance and contentious legal experience." – Banking
"Aleksić and Associates offers highly specialised and commercial advice. The team gives detailed advice and is very experienced in all types of finance matters." – Banking, restructuring & insolvency
"Aleksić and Associates have very good associates, special advisers and attorneys at law. They have shown good level of quality in their work, and they complete every kind of business strictly within the deadline. The main quality is that they are able to respond to any request in a very short period of time." – Banking, restructuring and Insolvency
"Always available, and provides a high-quality service." – Restructuring & Insolvency
"There are many strengths without any noticeable weaknesses." – Banking, project finance, restructuring and insolvency
"They are a reputed business law firm with a broad perspective that is able to anticipate the views of the regulators." – Banking, restructuring and insolvency
"Their strengths include efficiency in collection, success in negotiations with clients and accuracy on enforcement proceedings." – Banking, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"It is our preferred law firm in Serbia for in-depth advice and strong finance and contentious legal experience." – Banking, restructuring and insolvency
"They are ready to invest in people and technology to improve productivity and efficiency. They are always very fast in their assessment of cases and feedbacks." – Banking, restructuring and insolvency
"They are a reputed business law firm with a broad perspective that is able to anticipate the views of the regulators." – Regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
BDK Advokati is one of the stronger firms in the region and ranks highly across all practice areas.
In M&A, the firm acted for the syndicate of lenders on Telenor’s acquisition, one of the largest acquisitions in CEE region recently. In its other two M&A mandates, it acted for a buyer on one and the seller on the other.
In the financing area, the firm has been active in project finance advising a mix of borrowers, lenders and sponsors in the financing of Kovačica Wind Farm and the Vinča waste management PPP project among others. Elsewhere, it acted for the lead arranger financing the acquisition of VB-Leasing International Holding.
Aside from financing work, in the project space the firm has acted on the regulatory and acquisitions mandates relating to the Jadar mining project and advised an Israeli property developer on procurement.
Key clients include Société Générale, Blue Sea Capital, Enlight Renewable Energy and EBRD.
"Provides excellent, careful legal advice with an unusually broad range of competence on time and at an excellent value." – M&A, project development, project finance
"The firm's strengths include the service being dynamic, responsive and fast." – Regulatory
"Milan is available at all hours to meet the client's needs. His work is careful and thoughtful, and he isn't afraid to push back in order to protect his client's interests."
Formerly, Bojović & Partners, Bojović Drašković Popović & Partners is an independent firm that is a member of South East Legal Alliance.
Active in financial and corporate work, the firm’s main focus during the research period has been M&A, where it has advised both buyers and sellers across sectors including banking and real estate. Highlight includes acting as Serbian counsel to National Bank of Greece on the sale of its Serbian subsidiaries and advising Poseidon Group and Mitiska REIM on a retail park joint venture.
In the projects space, the firm advised Sberbank on the financing of two hydropower plants in Montenegro. It is also providing regulatory support to the developers of WF Malibunar and WF Alibunar. The firm is also working alongside Allen & Overy in advising the lenders on Belgrade Waste EfW PPP project.
The firm has a list of impressive clients including Sberbank, National Bank of Greece, Poseidon, Adidas and FOX.
"Highly efficient in providing services within tight time frames. Provided sound and usable legal advice for a large variety of legal fields. Extremely professional approach toward clients." – Regulatory
"We are very lucky to have Bojović Drašković Popović & Partners as our lawyers. They are professionally up-to-date, always prepared, supportive, and client-oriented. Their reaction time is always fast, correct and ethical, so overall, I am very satisfied with the team." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, project development, project finance
"Their work has always been of the highest quality, and the approach by the partners and the lawyers has been on a high professional level." – M&A
"Their main strength is their proactivity and solutions-oriented approach, providing us with the solutions rather than just legal advice. They are determined to achieve results, and they are deeply committed to our success." – Regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"We have a very good relationship; they are very responsive, well structured, timely in response, and clear in the content of the input." – Regulatory
"We have been working with Mr Drašković for more than ten years. He and his colleagues were always very professional in handling all issues, responding very fast on each request as well as providing us with information and guidelines." – M&A, regulatory
"Excellent, patient, detailed, creative, good listener."
Deloitte Legal’s strength lies in corporate work and during the research period the firm has acted on several M&A mandates largely advising foreign investors on acquisition of local companies in the coal, pharmaceutical and telecommunications sectors. One notable mandate saw the firm advise Galenika Beograd in its privatisation.
Staffing changes includes the arrival of banking and finance lawyer Stefan Antonić from Karanović & Nikolić.
"Deloitte Legal provided their answers, outputs and reports in timely fashion with a great deal of precision while keeping the quality of their work at the highest level." – Regulatory
Harrison is an English law firm with strong financial and corporate and project development practices in Serbia.
In financial and corporate, the firm has picked up several financing mandates for EBRD. Highlights include the financing of Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services, Kovacica wind farm and ProCredit Bank. Aside from financing, its other notable highlight includes advising the trustee on the restructuring of Agrokor.
The firm's projects team public work includes advisory role to Zurich Airport and Meridiam on the concession of Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport and acting for International School of Belgrade on the development of new international school.
EBRD, IFC, Deutsche bank and Erste are some of the firm's notable clients.
Isailović & Partner has picked up M&A mandates on the buyer’s side acting across deals in the banking, real estate and retail sectors. Its most unusual mandate saw the firm advise Serbian company on its joint venture with an Ethiopian state owned printing company. In the projects space it advised Estre Bank on the financing of Belgrade Waterfront.
Key clients include Direktna banka, Erste Bank and Kalemegdan Development.
"Highly professional individuals who are ready to reply promptly and are always down to the point. Co-operation with them is always smooth and successful." – Banking, project development
"The firm's lawyers are professional and reliable." – Project development, restructuring and insolvency
"Highly professional, focused, expedite and open for suggestions."
"Professional and reliable."
JPM Janković Popović Mitić has a strong corporate and project practice and is a member of the Top-tier Legal Adriatic (TLA) network.
During the research period the firm has worked on an impressive array of projects such as the Belgrage solid waste PPP, a motorway concession project and Airport Nikola Tesla Begrade. It acted for the contractors and concessionaires on the construction and development aspects of the projects.
The firm has also seen work from the mining sector where it acted for Australian investors in acquisition of local mining company and the parent company to develop mining projects in Serbia. It also advised Lifestone Capital on the acquisition of Mining Lece following its bankruptcy.
During the research period the firm hired corporate lawyers Milica Subotić and Marko Jovković from Subotić Jevtić and Marković Vukotić Jovković respectively.
Karanović & Nikolić is one of the most highly regarded firms in Serbia strong in all practice area.
The firm has mostly acted on M&A where it largely advises on the buy side and has worked on the acquisitions of Telenor, JuBanka and Vojvođanska banka.
In the finance space, the firm has largely advised the lenders on financing of local banks and projects such as Chinese Cultural Centre and Čibuk 1. On the borrower side, it advised on the financing of Malibunar Wind Park.
In capital markets work the firm has acted for the issuer on corporate bonds and advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch on hedging arrangement in relation to state issued Eurobond.
In project work, the firm has been advising the city of Belgrade on structuring its waste management treatment and disposal centre PPP and has been appointed by the Montenegro government to develop the PPP structure for three airports.
Key clients include EBRD, IFC and the Government of Montenegro.
"From the beginning, we felt that we were in very good hands, and the firm understood the particularities of our business right away." – Banking
"The firm's practice is market leading, particularly in general banking and finance work. Our experience with them has been excellent. They are responsive, pro-active and provide concise and understandable advice. Their network of offices across the Balkans is another reason to look to them for SEE legal work." – Banking
"Milos provides prompt and thought-through advice. We find him very approachable and great to work with. He also has his finger on the local business community's pulse."
During the research period, Law Office Miroslav Stojanović cooperating law office of Wolf Theiss has acted for the likes of Erste on the refinancing of Ušće Shopping Center and advised potential bidders on the concession of Nikola Tesla Airport.
In financial and corporate area, the firm advised an international buyer on an acquisition in automotive sector. It also advised Raiffeisen Bank International on the acquisition of loan portfolio.
Key clients include ERSTE Group Bank, AIK Banka and Suez Groupe.
"I have had good experience with their work." – Restructuring and insolvency
"They are professional and work with knowledge and sense in the banking business." – Banking
"Very high standards compared to their competitors on the Serbian market. Excellent speakers of English, especially in the written form. Fast response time while remaining accurate on loan documentations." – Banking, project development
"The firm came across as very transaction and service-oriented." – Banking
Kinstellar acts in cooperation with the local office of Marić & Mujezinović. It also draws support from its regional offices.
The firm’s transactions are confidential but it can be said that the firm has advised international clients on project work and acquisitions. It has also acted for buyers on the acquisition of stakes in wind power plant projects.
Marić Mališić & Dostanić is prominent for its strength in the projects area. During the research period the firm has been engaged in work on the NIS Refinery where it is advising the contractor in tendering procedures. Elsewhere, it is active in real estate where it advised a buyer on the acquisition of a local hotel.
Notable clients include KESZ International and Accor.
"Marić Mališić & Dostanić is a highly professional and experienced law firm. Always responsive and dedicated with a solid knowledge of banking and finance matters." – Banking, M&A
Marjanovic Law has a strong corporate practice and works alongside KPMG in Serbia and Montenegro. During the research period the firm has advised the likes of Hellenic Sugar Industry in the potential sale of shares. The firm mostly acts as local counsel in M&A transactions advising on both the sell and buy sides primarily in agriculture deals.
"Excellent service, reliable, and provide a quick response." – Banking, regulatory
"Excellent team of young and ambitious attorneys with extensive experience and knowledge. It is of utmost importance for my company to get the support we need in the shortest period-of-time and always have someone to rely on. That is exactly what we get from Marjanovic Law. We gladly recommend Marjanovic Law to all of our friends and partners." – Banking, M&A, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"Marjanovic Law has an amazing team of young and ambitious yet experienced lawyers. I always get honest responses from them; therefore, I find them to be a dedicated and reliable legal partner. Marjanovic Law has great reputation with excellent references, and the costs are satisfactory." – Project development, regulatory
"Our co-operation with Marjanovic Law has been more than satisfying from the beginning. The quality of provided services is exceptional. Marjanovic Law team is experienced in various practice areas of law and capable to deal with the most complex legal issues. They are our legal support, mainly in litigation and administrative procedures while providing general legal advice whenever we need it. We highly appreciate the efficiency of Marjanovic Law, as they always meet the agreed deadlines while providing high quality service. Also, whenever we have any questions or need some information about our cases, any member of the office is familiar with the case and able to help us anytime." – Regulatory
"The cooperation with Marjanovic Law made me feel secure, and I felt I was in good, reliable hands." – Banking, investment funds, project development, project finance
"Very professional multidisciplinary team who are available and approachable. We very much appreciated their support on all the legal matters and questions we had. Their biggest strength is their consistent quality regardless of deadline periods." – Banking, M&A, project development
"We have been collaborating with Marjanovic Law for years, and we have had a wonderful experience working with them. I appreciate their tailor made approach and practical advice." – Regulatory
"We have been working with Marjanovic Law for the past several years, and we are more than satisfied with the quality of services provided to us. Marjanovic Law team possesses in-depth sector knowledge and experience and is capable in dealing with the most complex transactions and issues." – M&A, regulatory
"It is a well organised law firm with high quality of services. They gave excellent feedback on resolving problems and have a great team with a high capacity to resolve problems in any area." – Banking, M&A, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"He is a very courteous and professional attorney at law with strong experience and knowledge in different practice areas. His services include general legal counselling as well as representation us in litigation and administrative procedures. He is always straight to the point and reliable in any situation. His dedication and professionalism is outstanding and we couldn’t feel more comfortable while being represented by him inside or outside the courtroom."
"Dedicated and thorough, available and pleasant to work with. He was very open to discuss and support us legally on all the ideas for business development we had."
"Reliable, confident, informed and knowledgeable."
"He has years of experience in solving the most complex corporate issues. What we appreciate the most is his business-oriented approach, negotiation skills and his capability to find a solution for almost every issue we deal with in our business operations."
"He is an experienced lawyer with business-oriented approach and capability to find multiple solutions for our issues. He is always available to provide the support within short period of time."
"His key qualities are extensive experience, understanding of our needs, meeting the deadlines and forward-thinking. It is a real pleasure to work with him and other attorneys from Marjanovic Law. "
"Excellent feedback on resolving problems in any area"
"He has extensive experience and is active in several practice areas, providing services such as general legal counselling, competition (anti-trust), commercial and many others. We appreciate his responsiveness, practical approach and tailor-made and very applicable advice."
Marković Vukotić Jovković is a recently established boutique firm created by former partners from JPM Janković Popović Mitić.
During the research period the firm worked on joint venture, restructuring and acquisition mandates where it acted for Serbian subsidiaries and local entities. Highlights include advising De Heus on the acquisition of Komponenta Ćuprija, and providing general corporate support to De Heus Animal Nutrition. It also advised Ecole Francaise de Belgrade on its land acquisition for school development purposes.
Key clients include LIDL, De Heus, and Swarovski.
"During the four years of our cooperation, we were highly satisfied with the services provided to us. We greatly appreciated their creative and logical way of thinking and their ability to think of reasonable solutions to problems in unique situations." – Banking, project development, regulatory
"Nikola Vukotić is in charge of real estate. He has wide legal operational knowledge and practical approach in providing legal advice and solutions. He is highly experienced and dedicated with strong focus on problem solving and providing the best possible outcome for the client." – Banking
"The firm's strengths are its experience, good communication, expert knowledge and efficiency." – Banking, M&A, regulatory
"Marković Vukotić Jovković proved to be very efficient in solving problems and flexible in their approach. They were able to adapt to our specific organisation and support us in a complex transaction for a real estate acquisition. Their assertiveness and timely answers to our issues proved to be precious in the tight negotiations we were leading." – Banking, project development
"This law firm is very experienced and reliable. They are highly proactive and always one-step ahead of the problem. I like that once we get into actual work, they really manage it with great quality and within tight deadlines. At meetings with third parties, when I needed their support on the spot, they proved to be quick thinkers and very professional back up. When dealing with public authorities, these lawyers have an established network of professional and trustworthy sources of information." – Banking, project development
"We are extremely satisfied with the overall professional and very proactive approach to the matter, not only in the sense of legal knowledge and expertise but also in terms of understanding of the business. We were especially satisfied with their ability to identify all the risks associated with the transaction and implement the mechanisms for the mitigation and elimination of these risks. We would also like to commend the law firm for being able to deliver the work on short notice and with precision. The attribute that we value the most in our relationship with the firm is that we are at all times confident that all aspects of the transaction are covered and that there are no loose ends waiting to be discovered. It is invaluable for us to know that we are in safe hands, and this is the feeling we have while working with the firm on this transaction." – Banking
"It is a well organised law firm that provides high quality services. They give excellent feedback on resolving problems and have a great team with high capabilities to resolve problems in any area." – Banking, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
During the research period, Mladenovic & Stankovic in cooperation with Rokas Law Firm has been primarily active on restructuring and liquidation mandates. It advised ERB leasing on its liquidation procedure and acted for Polyeco on its voluntary wind up procedure. It is also active on regulatory matters advising foreign investment funds on fintech and e-payment licensing issues.
In project work, the firm has advised the contractors on the construction of Alibunar windfarm and Boljare Highway.
Key clients include Alpha Real estate, China Road & Bridge Construction and ERB Leasing.
"Excellent and reliable law firm. The firm's main advantage is its industrial-friendly and flexible approach, its understanding of client's highest priorities, and its legal knowledge in the field of construction law in particular." – Project development, project finance
"They have an outstanding team led by partner Aleksandar Mladenović, who assists the clients with the full range of corporate and finance matters, with particular strengths in regulated sectors. Their turnaround time is very good, and their knowledge is in-depth." – Banking, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"The team led by the corporate and finance partner Aleksandar Mladenović is truly outstanding. He has extensive knowledge and experience in corporate and M&A matters and is recognized as a highly regarded expert in this field." – Banking, M&A, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
Schoenherr works in cooperation with Moravčević Vojnović and Partners and has established a strong reputation in Serbia with expertise across all practice areas.
During the research period, the firm has acted for leading clients on major transactions across all areas. In M&A, it advised Telenor group on the sale of its subsidiaries. In Agrokor’s restructuring, it is advising Sberbank and its local entities across Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. It also advised HETA Assets Resolution on the disposal of highest value NPL portfolio in Serbia. Elsewhere it has been advising banks as lenders and security agents in the financing of the development of shopping mall, the acquisition of Europart and the refinancing of Elixir Group.
In the projects space, the firm has been advising EBRD on the execution of parking PPP project and the improvement of Serbia’s PPP legal framework. Elsewhere, it is advising OMV on its joint venture with local energy company in the development of large scale oil storage facility.
Key clients include Sberbank, EBRD, OTP Bank and Unicredit.
"They are involved in all of our businesses and have a solution for every problem." – Banking, M&A, project development, restructuring
Ninković Law Office has been active in aviation sector advising the likes of NK Aviation and Avolon Aero on the sale and leasing of aircrafts. In the health sector, the firm has been advising Abbott and Aspen on an acquisition and cross border merger.
The Serbian office of CMS global works in cooperation with Petrikic & Partners and is active in both financial and corporate and project development work.
The firm advised international corporations on the establishment of factories in Serbia in the automotive and consumer electricity and lighting market. It is also active in financing transactions where it has acted for the likes of Unicredit and ING Bank in the refinancing of Danube Foods Group portfolio. In acquisition financing its advisory role to EBRD and IFC in the refinancing of Delta mall stands out.
In M&A transactions, the firm has had a mix of private equity and corporate transactions where it has acted for the buyers on acquisitions of pharmaceutical and leasing companies.
In capital markets, it acted for the issuer on the first IPO in Serbia for almost eight years.
In project work, the firm advised the Belgrade Airport and the government in structuring the development of Belgrade Airport PPP project. Elsewhere, it has advised a mix of construction companies on an rail and waste to energy PPP projects. On the finance side, it advised consortium of lenders on the financing of three wind farms in Serbia.
Key clients include EBRD, UniCredit, IFC and Bain Capital.
Prica & Partners have strong presence in the corporate area. During the research period, the firm advised IFC on two separate debt recovery mandates, advising on the restructuring of loans provided to a distressed company. The firm also advised Strabag in an acquisition of a distressed construction company. Elsewhere, the firm is engaged in the acquisition of local private health care company, advising a Turkish company as the buyer.
Key clients include IFC, Strabag and Acıbadem Healthcare Group.
"Excellent law firm. They keep close relationships with its clients and make themselves available on a short notice. They are fast, practical and very efficient in their work." – Banking, restructuring and insolvency
"Prica & Partners provided professional local support for a benchmark transaction. The local advice has always been provided in a timely and efficient manner." – Project finance
"Quick and efficient responses." – Project Development
SOG - Samardžić Oreški & Grbović has worked across a variety of mandates during the research period.
In M&A, the firm is mostly active on the buy side in acquisitions in the real estate sector. The firm also represented Merkur in its insolvency proceedings and acted on creditor’s side on a different mandate. In the NPL market, the firm advised HETA Asset Resolution on the sale of its NPL portfolios.
Notable publishable clients include AKV Invest, HETA Asset Resolutions and Ethiad Airways.
"The firm is very responsive and provides quality advice. We have been working with them for all of our general corporate matters and M&A deals in Serbia. They always resolve every issue we have in Serbia and are great to work with." – M&A, restructuring and insolvency
Stankovic & Partner’ strength lies in banking area where it has acted for several large international banks. The firm has acted for creditors on debt restructuring, advised banks on acquisition and sale of NPLs, and acted for the lenders on project financings. In M&A the firm is active in pharmaceutical sector where it has done work for the sellers.
Although most of firm’s project work is confidential, it can be said that the firm is primarily engaged in advising contractors on the implementation of wind farms and waste water treatment plants.
Innovation Fund of Serbia and EBRD are two of the publishable clients the firm has acted for during the research period.
"Excellent knowledge of different legislation, financial and business models." – Investment funds, M&A, project development, project finance, restructuring and insolvency
"Highly professional and knowledgeable." – Project development
"I am very glad to work with the team at Stankovic & Partners. They are professionals with very good expertise." – M&A, restructuring and insolvency
"Stankovic & Partners have provided highly dedicated and reliable service, focusing on client's needs and goals. They are known for addressing all the relevant issues with impeccable care and diligence, and particularly for showing their ability to think ahead and identify creative solutions for the issues at hand." – Banking, M&A, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"Stankovic & Partners is a very professional law office with reputable lawyers. Their assessments are impeccable, accurate and reliable, and I am proud to have the opportunity to work with them." – Banking, M&A, project finance, restructuring and insolvency
"Very responsive and diligent." – Project finance
Tasić & Partners is known for project development work. During the research period, the firm has been active on several PPP project in the healthcare and infrastructure sectors. Publishable highlight work includes advising City of Pancevo on its PPP project for financing, construction and maintenance of local road infrastructure and public lighting.
"Tasic & Partners' team provides the highest level of services, and we can say that this exceeded our expectations. They have great knowledge of business and employment law, and they know the local market very well. All the lawyers we have worked with are always very well prepared and are focused towards their clients' needs." – Banking, project development, project finance, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"We have chosen Tasić & Partners because they have an impressive reputation across a variety of sectors. They managed to exceed all our expectations, and we can always expect them to finish everything mandated to them in an accurate and timely manner. Their reputation has been built on the skills, expertise and professionalism of their team members." – Banking, M&A, project development, project finance, restructuring and insolvency
"Their lawyers are very trusted and skilled." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, project development
Živković Samardžić has an active corporate practice and acted for AIK Bank on the acquisition of Alpha Bank, and advised shareholders of Tim Kolos on the sale of shares.
In the banking area, the firm acted for Jubanka on disposal of an NPL portfolio.
In capital markets, the firm advised publicly listed companies on capital increases.
Key clients include AIK, Jubanka and SRA Group.
"The level of services that Živković Samardžić provides to clients is on the highest level." – Banking, capital markets, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"Their lawyers are, above all, professional and equipped with necessary skills and knowledge, more than eager to help, and also very effective." – Banking, capital markets, M&A