Solicitors governing body: Local bar aassociations
Competition authority: The Hellenic Competition Commission
Financial regulator: Bank of Greece
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Greece is a civil law jurisdiction backed by the country’s constitution, the latest version of which was adopted in 1974. The technical origins of the system can be found in the city states of ancient Greece.
Foreign law firms can open an office in Greece relatively freely. There are few restrictions and as long as registration is achieved firms can operate under their own name, hire Greek lawyers and practice local law. There is also no requirement for Greek qualified lawyers to have Greek citizenship.
The country’s economic woes have impacted the legal profession directly in that as part of the economic reforms agreed as part of the country’s financial bailout agreement, some previous restrictive measure have been abolished. Most notably the rule that lawyers could only practice within the geographical area of the local bar to which they were registered was abolished in 2011.
Despite the relative ease of setting up an office, few foreign law firms have made the step, even before the economic issues that have troubled the country since 2008. The majority of those firms that have tend to be focused on the country’s thriving shipping industry. Norton Rose Fulbright, Reed Smith and Watson Farley & Williams are the most prominent foreign law firms present in the country at present.
Lawyers often act across a range of practice areas, but within the financial and corporate areas tend to focus either on finance matters or capital markets and corporate deals.
Alexiou-Kosmopoulos has picked up notable work in banking, M&A and projects during the research period and is noted by competitors as a firm on the rise.
In banking and finance a clear highlight saw the firm act for the National Bank of Greece on a refinancing of Chipita. The firm also advised the likes of Alpha Bank, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank.
In the capital markets the firm acted on a share capital increase undertaken by Astir.
The firm has also taken a key role on the Greek privatisation programme acting for Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) on the privatisation of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
The firm also had a role on the Hellinikon development project advising Lamda Development.
“Highly efficient partners and associates. Good attention to detail.” – Banking and finance
“Highly efficient, focusing on details and alternative scenarios.”
Bernitsas Law is one of Greece’s leading firms and is highly ranked in all the areas covered in this guide. In recent years the firm has taken a key role on the country’s privatisation programme.
In the banking area the firm has acted on new money financings, bond loans and loan restructuring primarily advising the lenders including the likes of European Investment Bank (EIB), Deutsche Bank and Hypothekenbank Frankfurt. A notable deal saw the team advise Hellenic Petroleum on a €400 million revolving bond loan.
In the capital markets area the firm has focused on debt issues and note programmes advising the likes of Hellenic Petroleum, Piraeus Group as issuers and also acting for the underwriters on other issues.
In M&A the firm has been active in the banking sector advising Cyprus Popular Bank on the sale of its Southeast Europe branches and interests. The firm has also taken on the role on the Greek privatisation programme acting for Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) on the sale of Rolling Stock Maintenance Company (ROSCO) and National Bank of Greece on the sale of stake in National Insurance.
In project development the firm has been active on a number of the country’s key infrastructure deals including advising on various airport concessions, the Serres and Ilia waste management PPPs and acting for the lenders to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline project.
Staffing changes include the addition of associate Paris Tzoumas from Karatzas & Partners and the departure of projects associate Ioanna Lamprinaki.
“Great firm, happy to work with, results oriented and they deliver!” – Banking and finance, capital markets, M&A
“Highly experienced team in project finance transactions with good reputation. They have a good understanding of how the agreements should be structured in order to be implemented correctly. Competitive and flexible team.” – Project finance
“Experienced, up to date with recent developments, with great responsiveness.” - Regulatory
“Professionalism, responsive and in depth knowledge of the issues.” – Project development
“They have a very good understanding of all issues involved in project finance transactions and energy projects (which are of interest to us). They are quick and oriented to making the deal possible. Sometimes they are busy, which makes access a bit difficult, but they are responsive and at the end of the day it does not really affect the overall cooperation.” – Project finance
“High standards of professionalism and reliability.” – Banking and finance
“Added value to the project, very practical. Very knowledgeable, provided solutions for the company in order to avoid future legal issues.”
“He is really good in project finance and has a grasp of all relevant matters. He is very easy to work with and really helpful. He is reputable and acknowledged by the banks, which makes things easier when he is working for the sponsors.”
“Excellent cooperation and understanding.”
“Excellent work, he delivers, he works hard and he understands M&A. Overall very satisfied.”
"Professionalism, in depth knowledge, responsiveness, legal and business approach combined dedication to the company hard work all year round.”
“Diligent, keeps up with legal developments, attentive, good advice on actual issues under consideration and responsive.”
Drakopoulos has a balanced practice across financial and corporate.
The firm has provided general corporate advice in sectors such as construction, healthcare, gaming and real estate.
Highlights include advising Clean Earth Capital on a real estate financing and acting for Yalco on the sale of its Romanian subsidiary.
Dryllerakis & Associates is best known for its M&A practice and has acted on significant privatisation projects during the research period. The firm points to a specialism in the oil and gas sector.
In the banking space the firm has acted on new lending matters, bond loans and the sale of NPL portfolios. Key clients include Alpha Bank, Eurobank Ergasias and National Bank of Greece.
The firm has been busy in the M&A sector acting in the energy, food and beverage and energy sectors. The team has also picked up roles on privatisation projects including advising bidders on the sales of DESFA and the Thessaloniki Port Authority. The firm has acted for the like of Diageo Hellas, Demera Group and SOCAR.
“Great team of lawyers who provide holistic support. Very knowledgeable and experienced.” – Banking and finance
“Very discreet firm in a market where everyone talks to each other. Professional and responsive.” – Banking and finance, M&A
“Very responsive and commercial, practical.”
Best known for its banking work Elias Paraskevas Attorneys is nevertheless active across the financial and corporate spectrum.
In the banking space the firm acted on matters including advising the European Investment Fund on a financing arrangement with the Hellenic Republic relating to the provision of funds aimed at SMEs. The firm also acted on derivatives clearing matters.
In the capital markets a clear highlight was work on the substantial capital raising of Eurobank where the firm acted for The Capital Group.
In M&A the firm acted on an acquisition in the corporate travel management space.
The firm also picked up a number of insolvency matters although details are confidential.
KLC has a balanced practice across financial and corporate but is best known for its work in finance.
In banking deal highlights include advising Phoenix Solar on a financial restructuring and similar work for Eurobank Ergasias. The firm has also acted for the EIB on matters related to the Jessica Holding Fund Greece.
In M&A a clear highlight was the firm’s work for Hellenic Transmission System Operator (ADMIE) on matters related to its ownership unbundling and the related tender. The firm also advised SpeedCast International on the acquisition of SAIT Communications. Other clients include EPA Attikis, Edison and Terna.
The firm also took on roles on privatisations including acting on the processes surrounding the Kasteli Airport and the Marina of Pylos.
In the projects space the firm acted for an international consortium of companies led by GEK Terna group on the tender related to the new International Airport of Heraklion.
Staffing changes include the addition of Vassiliki Lazarakou who joins from the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC).
“Very diligent, thorough analysis of all legal aspects of concerned operations. Business oriented with good understanding of financial aspects of each operation. Good communicators, highly reliable and available on short notice.” – Project finance
“Excellent work fully documented opinions and on time expert help.” – Restructuring and insolvency
“Thomas has extensive knowledge of the energy sector and great business acumen enabling him to provide valuable legal advice.
“Very diligent, high sense of responsibility, excellent understanding of business needs, eager and innovative, very reliable.”
Koutalidis has strength across the board in financial and corporate and often takes role on some of the market’s most significant deals.
In the banking and finance area the firm has picked up work for the lenders on bond loans and project finance work. Key deals include work on the financing of 14 airport concessions and an interesting deal advising Alpha Bank and Eurobank Ergasias on the establishment of a platform to deal with NPLs.
In the capital markets the firm also acts for the underwriters and arrangers on debt issues by the likes of Hellenic Petroleum.
In M&A the firm acted on some of the market’s high profile deals including the mergers of Jumbo/Tanosirian and Nestle and R&R Ice Cream.
“Extremely helpful, very good grasp of banking and corporate issues, good accessibility and communication.” – Banking and finance
“Very diligent and up to date.” - Corporate
Kyriakides Georgopoulos (KG Law Firm) has strength across all our practice areas, tohugh projects work has been one of the most active areas during the research period.
In banking and finance the firm has been primarily engaged in bank sector M&A and loan portfolio sales.
In M&A the firm has picked up work across a range of sectors including energy, banking and tourism.
In projects work the firm has acted on some of the market’s key deals including the privatisations of the electricity and gas transmissions networks and the Port of Thessaloniki. The firm has also acted on wind farm and toll road projects and the Serres waste treatment PPP.
Key clients include the likes of Alpha Bank, Deloitte, Eurobank Ergasias KfW-IPEX Bank and SNAM.
“An excellent firm overall with an excellent finance and banking practice.” – Project finance
“Flexibility and eagerness to meet our commercial needs.” - Corporate
“Incredible responsiveness. Always available on very short notice, creativity, generally the quality of work is great.” – Corporate, regulatory
“One of the most responsive lawyers we work with. Approachable at all times of day and year. Great business partner.”
“Very good, knowledgeable and easy to access.”
“Experienced, flexible with problem-solving approach.”
In the banking and finance area Lambadarios Law Firm has been largely involved in regulatory work advising client like Credit Suisse Deutsche Bank. The firm has also advised the National Bank of Greece on various investments.
In M&A the team picked up work in the food and beverage, logistics and real estate.
In projects the firm has advised the likes of Panou, Stirixis and Volterra on wind farm developments.
“I appreciated the responsiveness, flexibility of my adviser and their ability to participate in problem-solving.” – M&A
“Lambadarios Law Firm has consistently delivered on material and timelines. They have good knowledge and prepare for meetings. One of their strong points is that they are capable of simplifying complicated legal language, thus making for better understanding. They are capable of thinking out of the box. They are one of the oldest law firms in Greece but they work in a very modern manner. They have exceeded my expectations on all cases thus far and I have not encountered a weakness until now.” – Capital markets, M&A
“Proactive approach from both a legal and business perspective.” – Banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency
“Great technical skills and professional knowledge. Quick integration with the project’s context and objectives. Always accessible with immediate responsiveness.” – Banking and finance
“Excellent work, deep knowledge of their field, friendly.” – Banking and finance
“Lambadarios Law Firm offers, at reasonable and fair pricing, distinguished legal services in corporate and commercial law. Very professional and reliable, they meet international standards.” - Regulatory
“The firm is very reactive and reliable. It understands the business and adapts to its clients' constraints.” – M&A
“Very good, very supportive, considering creative solutions.”
"He is knowledgeable and always prepared for meetings. He is easily contactable. He can think out of the box and is able to follow and catch on to complex thoughts. He is clear and to the point. "
“Great reactiveness. Excellent work.”
“Very accessible, business oriented, he provides clear and reliable recommendations.”
Machas & Partners is focused on M&A work in Greece. The firm works in cooperation with Yingke Law Firm on Chinese work.
Most of the firm’s work is confidential but public matters include advising NBG Securities on a share listing by Intercontinental International. The firm has also acted on restructurings and M&A work in the energy and insurance sectors.
The only staffing change during the research period was the addition of Lydia Tsapara who joined the firm as an of counsel from Metka Industrial Construction.
Moratis Passas is best known for its work in the banking and finance space and during the research period it advised on a number of capital markets issues.
Deal highlights include work in relation to a notes issue by Fage USA Dairy Industry and Fage International and work for Barclays as arranger on an issue of covered bonds by Piraeus Bank. The firm also advised NBG Securities as listing agent on the proposed listing of electricity transmission operator ADMIE.
“Moratis Passas Law Firm offers services of high level and excellent quality. Rarely it takes more than the desired time to provide you with its legal opinion but as long as you have its legal opinion you feel confident about the result.” – Capital markets
“It is a very experienced firm in the field of banking/commercial law and has always provided accurate, timely and business oriented legal advice. They have a team of experienced and qualified lawyers who are fluent in English. I am very pleased with their services and also with the fact that they cooperate with several major UK law firms with which we cooperate with in EMEA, thus facilitating the handling of cross border business and regulatory issues.” – M&A, Restructuring and insolvency
“Mr Saliaris is always willing to service his client even by phone. His written legal opinions are well-constructed so as to be comprehensible not only to lawyers but also to business people. Before responding he wants to be sure for the sense and the purpose of question. His opinions prove deep knowledge of law, finance and corporate issues which (knowledge) tries to be applicable to real business.”
“He has a very thorough knowledge of the industry on both a theoretical and practical level. He is very easy to communicate with, quick in his responses and also has a business sense which is evident in his advice. Also he is well respected in the lawyer’s community of business lawyers.”
Politis & Partners acts mainly on banking and finance matters including a number of matters in the energy sector and for key client Eurobank.
In the banking space the firm acted for LXM Group on its application for a license to operate as a NPL manager. The firm also advised on a range of wind farm and photovoltaic plant refinancings acting for Eurobank.
The firm also advised Eurobank on the acquisition of a portfolio of loans from Commerzbank.
In the projects space the firm acted for the Piraeus Port Authority on the extension of the concession related to a container terminal at the Port of Piraeus.
Staffing changes at the firm during the research period include the addition of finance lawyer Panos Poulios
“Very reliable firm, with high knowledge of the applicable legislation provided a thorough due diligence and excellent guidance until financial close. Staff were experienced and always available.” – Banking and finance
“Professional work delivered on time.” – M&A
”Very experienced partner with great commercial understanding. He is widely respected in the market.”
“Hard working professional with attention to detail.”
PotamitisVekris is another of Greece’s main domestic firms and secures top tier rankings across all areas of financial and corporate.
In banking and finance the firm has acted for lenders such as Alpha Bank, Eurobank Ergasias and Piraeus Bank on debt restructurings, project finance and refinancings.
In the capital markets the firm was primarily engaged on bond exchange work. The firm also had a role advising Bank of Cyprus on its delisting from the Athens Exchange.
In M&A the firm acted on a range of deals in the real estate sector acting for Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. Other key clients include AstraZeneca, DECA Investments and Fairfax.
In project development the firm has acted on wind farm developments and waste management projects.
Staffing changes include the addition of banking lawyer Konstantina Georgaki and the departure of finance senior associate Evangelia Kounenou.
“Excellent sector knowledge.” – M&A
“I have been cooperating with PV for over 10 years and I have been very pleased with this cooperation. The partners and associates I have worked with are characterised by professionalism, in-depth knowledge and ability to find solutions. I have particularly used their services in the fields of antitrust, M&A and intellectual property. I will gladly recommend PV to other interested clients.” – M&A
“Comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of legal and financial issues, consistency, creative thinking and focused advice.” – Project development
“Excellent expertise, reliable in-depth knowledge of their practice areas, pragmatic, solution- and business-oriented, creative, responsive and able to deliver quality work with very tight deadlines.” – Banking and finance, M&A
"Highly competent legal advisors. They have proven their ability to assess and overcome commercial, legal, regulatory and structural risks that we had to deal with during pioneering transactions.” – Banking and finance, Investment funds
George Bersis and Euripides Ioannou
“Innovative thinking and consistency.”
“Xenophon combines legal expertise in the antitrust and commercial areas with an in depth knowledge of the country's legal framework in general, thus being able to give the right advice at the right time. His affable character and accessibility makes working with him always a pleasure.”
“Very practical and pragmatic, extremely knowledgeable, great relationship skills.”
“Highly competent legal advisor with broad knowledge of project finance transactions.”
Tsibanoulis & Partners is active across banking, capital markets and M&A.
In banking the firm acted on bond loans, recapitalisations and matters relating to NPLs for the likes of Creta Farma and Procredit Bank Bulgaria.
In M&A the firm has focused on shareholder matters acting for the likes of HRG Greece, Attica Finance Investment Services and Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF).
Much of the firm’s work is confidential.
“Tsibanoulis Law firm is very knowledgeable and proactive. They are well connected within the Greek capital markets and with the regulators/authorities. They have an unparalleled quality of work.” – Capital markets
“Excellent service, strong team with deep knowledge of the financial markets.” – M&A, Regulatory
“Mr Komis is very proactive and has very good reactivity when it comes to something urgent. He is knowledgeable and very professional. He understands not only the law but is able to bridge the legal with market practice and understand our business. This is very much appreciated because there is always a grey area which needs to be addressed.”
“Excellent lawyer with deep knowledge of the financial markets.”
In Greece, as in other jurisdictions, Watson Farley & Williams is best known for its aviation, shipping and energy practices acting on asset financings, acquisitions and project matters.
In banking and finance the firm picked up work in the shipping sector including advising Alpha Bank on a shipping loan. The firm also advised the lenders on a number of wind farm financings.
In the capital markets the firm picked up work for HSH Nordbank on a shipping loan securitisation.
In M&A, alongside acting on a number of joint ventures, the firm also acted for Grivalia Hospitality on the acquisition of a 60% stake in the Pearl Island Project.
In project development wind farms were the order of the day with the firm acting on a number of new developments and on the acquisition of turbines.
“Nikolaos Kostikas has provided us with invaluable advice on Greek banking regulations, which is a particularly complex and thorny practice area. We have appreciated his responsiveness and ability to tackle challenging questions on recent laws which are largely untested. He has also been most helpful in recommending firms in other Mediterranean countries to assist us with related queries.”
Your Legal Partners is perhaps best known for its finance and project development practice, as evidenced below the firm has been active in notable projects in the social infrastructure and transport sectors.
In banking and finance, project finance has been a focus for the firm with the acting on wind farm financings.
In M&A the firm acted for the likes of the Vassilakis Group and English Home Greece.
In projects, the firm had a role on the financing aspects of the regional airports privatisation advising the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. The firm also advised on road projects and the Attica Schools PPP.
Staffing changes during the research period include the addition of M&A and restructuring senior associate Rania Paraschi who joins from an in-house position and the departure of banking associate Elli Sperdokli.
“Excellent work with attention to detail and in-depth understanding of our business. A valuable partner.” – Banking and finance, project development
“Quick response time, good communication with different functions of the business, keen negotiation skills, effective international network, accuracy and clarity in legal counselling.” – Capital markets
“The team is highly experienced on the regulatory framework that we require most. They are always reachable, and they always provide concrete answers to our queries. They have a serious technical knowledge and all of the company's lawyers have a good reputation. They always try to offer reasonable fees and prices for the valuable service they provide.” - Regulatory
“Excellent service, a partner to rely upon.”
"Good legal background. Brilliant commercial understanding. Gives priority to the client’s needs.”
“She is always quite practical and concise in finding proper solutions to even complex problems. Deep technical knowledge and experience makes her the ideal legal partner for us.”
Zepos & Yannopoulos is active across all areas of financial and corporate work but is perhaps best known for its capital markets and M&A work.
In banking one highlight deal saw the firm act for the IFC in relation to a €50 million loan provided to Grivalia REIC. The firm also acted on the financial restructuring of Leptos Group.
In the capital markets, while much of the firm’s work is confidential public matters include work for HSBC on a securitisation of SME loans by NBG and work for Citigroup on a securitisation of loans by Alpha Bank.
In M&A highlights include work for Baxalta on its acquisition by Shire, work for Arkema on the acquisition of shares in DBW and work for Tui Travel on the acquisition of Tourgreece.
“Outstanding technical expertise, commitment, quality of work and engagement of multifaceted team to support transaction structuring and execution.” – Banking and finance
“It’s a very big and experienced legal firm.” – Banking and finance
“Extremely satisfactory at all levels: quality, expertise, responsiveness, committed, productive and driven by result at all times.”
“Deep knowledge of the sector and commercial understanding of the financial system in parallel with her robust legal expertise.”