Pan-Baltic firms Lawin and Raidla Lejins & Norcous have exchanged their Tallinn practices and both decided to rebrand following the move.
The former Tallinn office of Lawin will join together with the Riga, Vilnius and Minsk offices of Raidla Lejins & Norcous to form Cobalt.
"We saw other ways to improve our client service and streamline our organisation and I think the current market changes called for a restructuring of the business,” said Irmantas Norkous, a Lithuanian partner with Cobalt. “We arrived at the conclusion that an integrated model of servicing our clients, that would be really the future model in our market. Right now the vast majority of local firms are organised in the form of alliances or associations. We have only a few examples of truly-integrated firms operating in all three Baltic countries and we see that those integrated structures are more successful in winning clients and deliver services, so we decided to go this way and pursue this model of an integrated service provider."
At the same time, the former Estonian office of Raidla Lejins & Norcous will join together with the Latvian and Lithuanian offices of Lawin to form the Ellex circle of firms. This includes Raidla Ellex, Klavins Ellex and Valiunas Ellex in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius respectively.
"Before Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the EU we actually discussed this move," said Raino Paron, a partner with Raidla Ellex. "We've been the biggest and strongest firms for the last 15 years in our domestic markets but back then the timing wasn't right and it didn't happen. This year, somehow, all the pieces have fitted into place."
Cobalt will be led by Norkous in Lithuania, Dace Silava-Thomsone in Latvia, Martin Simovart in Estonia and Darya Zhuk in Belarus. Meanwhile the heads of the three Ellex practices will be Jüri Raidla, Filips Kļaviņš and Rolandas Valiūnas in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius respectively.