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Getting It Right in Poland

Poland represents somewhat of a conundrum for the world’s leading law firms. On paper, the country should be home to one of the most attractive legal markets around.

Since emerging from the shadows of the Soviet Union in 1989, Poland’s economy has thrived, recording an almost unprecedented 24 consecutive years of growth. Its relentless charge could not even be halted by the global financial crisis, with Poland the only European Union country not to fall into a post-Lehman recession, leading to it being dubbed the “green island.” The country’s economy has grown 25 percent since 2005 and is now the world’s 23rd largest, according to the International Monetary Fund, and unlike many higher-growth markets, such as China and Brazil, there are no regulatory or cultural restrictions imposed on foreign lawyers practicing in the country. To cap it all off, labor and real estate costs are among the lowest in Europe. What’s not to like?

Indeed, international firms have flocked to Poland. Large U.S. law firms have 587 lawyers in Warsaw, according to the NLJ 350—a head count that’s ahead of the number of lawyers at big American firms in Moscow, Munich or Milan.


One of the market leaders in real estate in the U.S., Greenberg Traurig recently boosted its team in Poland by hiring the teams at Allen & Overy and Norton Rose Fulbright, including respective practice heads Radomil Charzynski and Agnieszka Stankiewicz.

“At Dewey, we were predominantly focused on New York law firm stuff: M&A, banking and capital markets work for foreign clients,” says Greenberg’s Fogelman of his previous firm. “Since joining Greenberg, we’ve tried to build a more universal firm and looked for practices with opportunities to grow, like real estate. As M&A and capital markets lawyers, it’s easy to look down on real estate, but we’ve come to realize that it’s the best game in town.” Greenberg now has 30 lawyers specializing in real estate, giving it one of the largest teams in the market, alongside Dentons.

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