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2//2011

Borenius Group magazine

Determination

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When negotiating gets you nowhere, parties resort to litigation to solve their disputes. Before you go to court, there are a few things you ought to know. Markus Kokko, with his DRI team knows that excellence in the courtroom requires more than just an understanding of the law.


Pleasing the eye


Over the past twenty years, Attorneys at law Borenius (Finland) has bought around 160 works from contemporary Finnish artists. In doing so the company strives to help living artists continue their work. Tähtinen takes a hands-on role in making the acquisitions and admits to being aesthetically tuned. “There’s something about art that speaks to me. For some people, it is wines, sounds, or words. For me, it is pictures and colours,” he says.

Most of the art collection is located in the public areas of the three offices in Finland, but law firm members also like to request that artworks are placed in their offices, too. “For someone who appreciates art, finding the right place for a piece can be obvious. Sometimes I see a painting and a suitable blank wall pops up in my mind. Other times it takes a few days of walking up and down the hallways with the painting,” Tähtinen laughs.

BY Heini Santos PHOTO Matti Immonen

“F

oxes rely on their instinct and cunning. In a similar way, lawyers must think well on their feet,” says Senior Partner Jyrki Tähtinen explaining the symbolism behind the painting that embellishes the main conference room of the Attorneys at law Borenius office in Helsinki. The painting, by an internationally known Finnish artist Osmo Rauhala, is titled Vaisto, which in English means instinct.


Into the uncharted territory Borenius Group consists of approximately 200 lawyers in four jurisdictions in THE FennoBaltic area. The member firms of THE Borenius Group are independent and separate legal entities practicing advocacy for their own account and following their respective local Bar rules. WWW.BORENIUSGROUP.COM

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t would be imprudent to assume that our economies in the Baltic countries or Finland will not be influenced by global economic processes. The recommenced economic growth has again taken a turn to uncertainty as the major problems of the Euro-zone influence practically all busi"Constant challenges ness prospects. At the same time change represents have created favourable new opportunities. In the Baltic econoground for renewal." mies, constant challenges have created favourable ground for renewal, feeding the perceptions and increasing insight. We are used to working hard and consistently, and to being on a constant search of new possibilities – this is the most important characteristic required under the severest off conditions. Therefore now, as never before, we at Borenius Group are ready to assist businesses in meeting new challenges. Entering new territories is simpler with a specialised partner, as you can read from the Case Profile on page 9. The Finnish airline Finnair has consistently built a “gateway to Asia” position in the airline market and is launching yet another new destination to China. Uncertainty is also a rich soil for disputes. In this issue’s Lead Story (opposite page) we discuss efficient ways of dealing with disagreements between businesses. The key is that you, our client, can concentrate on business instead of being tied up in time consuming legal proceedings. We are here to help. Daivis Švirinas Managing Partner Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania)

in this issuE:

5 LEAD STORY See you in court! | 9 CASE PROFILE To the new Shanghai | 12 MASTERCLASS Taxman wants his share

In this magazine Attorneys at law Borenius (Finland) refers to Asianajotoimisto Borenius Oy, registered in Finland; Attorneys at law Borenius (Estonia) refers to Advokaadibüroo Borenius OÜ, registered in Estonia; Attorneys at law Borenius (Latvia) refers to Zverinatu advokatu birojs Borenius, registered in Latvia and Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania) refers to Advokatu kontora BORENIUS / Švirinas ir partneriai, registered in Lithuania.

iDeal is Borenius Group’s magazine for business professionals. • Cover photo: Matti Immonen • Editor-in-chief: Hanna Laurila • info@borenius.com • Texts and layout: Otavamedia Oy • Printed on environmentally friendly paper.

EDITORIAL


LEAD STORY BY Satu Jussila PHOTOS Matti Immonen

See you in court! When negotiating gets you nowhere, parties resort to litigation to solve their disputes. But before you go to court, there are a few things you ought to know.

Heidi Merikalla-Teir, specialist partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Helsinki) with Markus Kokko, a partner at Attorneys at law Borenius (Helsinki).

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hile you would think that all commercial disputes boil down to money, this is not necessarily the case. Often times lots of money is at stake, but what bothered the other side even more was they felt a business issue was handled improperly. It is not the money, so much as the principle of the matter. When heated conversations lead to frustration, the end result is a call to outside lawyers to handle the dispute. “What I have found over the years is that simply exchanging letters with the other party’s lawyer can get business people to take the matter more seriously,” explains Markus Kokko, a partner at Attorneys at law Borenius (Helsinki). Kokko heads the firm’s dispute resolution and insolvency group. He says that while he is a litigator, this does not mean he is itching to take every case to court. “It is my intent to see if I get parties to find a settlement while making sure that I protect my client’s vital interests.” To do his job, what Kokko needs most is that clients tell them all of the relevant facts. “Only very rarely can we say to clients that we are 100 per cent sure they will win the case, if it goes to trial.” Why this is so, Kokko reveals, is that when a client contacts a lawyer, the case is normally rather complex and the parties have conflicting views on the circumstances. It is also fairly common for a surprise to come up later in the proceeding or even at the oral hearing.

“The opposing party will present a document, for example, that we did not know about. Clients might not have understood that a particular fact or document was important. What we stress is that clients must tell us everything. We will then assess whether the fact or document is relevant and can bring the best case forward.” Winner takes it all

In Finland and the Baltics, generally speaking, the loser pays the opposing parties attorney and court fees – but the exact formula for how fees are awarded can easily get complex. “Typi“Simply exchanging letters cally in Finland, a party with the other party’s lawyer will not win the total can get business people amount they have sought, especially to take the matter more if there are multiple seriously.” claims,” says Kokko. Markus Kokko, partner, “It could be that there Attorneys at law Borenius (Helsinki) are six claims, five of which are won. In this instance, the winner bears the costs for the one claim that it lost. But it is also the case that if the winner lost one claim, the loser might still have to pay for all claims. It all depends on the facts of the dispute.” In Latvia, recovering attorneys’ fees from the losing party is limited by the Civil Procedure Act, explains Lauris Liepa, partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Latvia). “The fee to be recovered by the winning party is limited to 5 per cent of the total claim amount.” When it comes to deciding whether or not to appeal a case, Jaanus Mody, a partner at Attorneys at law Borenius (Estonia), confides that the quality of the judgment handed down by the trial judge is important. “There are times when the explanations for the award are not presented clearly. When this happens, it is hard for us to Specialist partners Mikko Leppä (left), explain to a client why the court handed Jani Syrjänen, Kristiina Liljedahl, Risto Sipilä, Heidi Merikalla-Teir and partner Markus Kokko are key players in Attorneys at law Borenius' (Helsinki) dispute resolution and insolvency group.

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Arbitration in Finland

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he Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce (FCC) has been around for 100 years, but the amount of arbitration cases handled through the FCC has really taken off after the year 2000. In the last ten years, the amount of requests for arbitration with the institute has averaged around 54 per year. By comparison, the amount of requests in 1998 was just 14. While you might think that a clause saying disputes are handled through the FCC means that the case must be decided in Finland, this is only true if the place of arbitration is Finland. “The rules provide only a framework. Our main task is to administer cases and find an arbitrator,” says Adriana AravenaJokelainen, a case manager for the FCC Arbitration Institute. As for how long it takes before you are done, the average duration of FCC arbitration is around nine months. By contrast,

getting a judgment from the Helsinki District Court takes about one year and, if you appeal, this takes another year or so. Want to become an arbitrator? What you need is experience in arbitration and, most importantly, expertise in the subject matter. “What clients tell me they like most about arbitration – in addition to the fact that the proceedings are generally faster than court trials, allowing clients to concentrate on their business instead of tying up, in the worst case, many years in litigation – is the special knowledge of the arbitrators,” explains Heidi Merikalla-Teir, specialist partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Helsinki). “Clients want to be sure the persons deciding the case understand the commercial details and have prior experience in similar situations.”


Arbitration in the Baltics Baltic countries are grappling with finding ways to drive disputes in an openmarket system.

down its judgment. In these instances, an appeal to the higher court is plausible, as a poorly written judgment gives the impression that the district court did not understand the facts of the claim.” Rewriting the books

Not long ago, when you needed something legal done, you called your lawyer. It did not matter what the assignment was about. Finnish lawyers did everything. Nowadays, most everyone specialises. This same idea is also increasingly applying to the Finnish judiciary. “What we see, especially in civil cases where we have to review the facts both from the perspective of European Union law and Finnish law, judges, too, are specialising in certain areas,” comments Jouko Räsänen, the head of the department, Helsinki District Court. In the Baltics, by contrast, specialisation is developing a bit slower. For now, the emphasis is on dusting off old law books. What these countries are grappling with is finding ways to drive disputes in an open-market system that is very different from the one that existed in the years before independence was regained. “In Lithuania, many material amendments have been recently introduced into the code on civil procedure, which will make civil proceedings more operative and cost efficient,” says Žygimantas Pacevičius, partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania). “I think the amount of disputes handled by the courts will likely increase in the future, along with the types, such as intellectual property disputes, something that we are bringing more and more to courts in Lithuania.”

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f the three Baltic countries, Lithuania and Latvia are seeing the highest use of arbitration to solve disputes. “In Lithuania, the two main arbitration institutions, Vilnius Court of Commercial Arbitration and Vilnius International and National Arbitration, received about 60 new cases in 2010, compared with just 25 in 2007,” reports Dr. Dalia Foigt-Norvaisiene, partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania). “While I see that arbitration is becoming increasingly popular, its use is not as strong as I wish it was,” she laments. Lithuanian law limits the types of cases that parties can arbitrate. Also, there is limited knowledge inside the country on how to conduct proceedings. This same situation is also seen in Estonia. “The Court of Arbitration of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry received 14 arbitration cases in 2010. This year, the amount is around 20,” says Jaanus Mody, partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Estonia). Mody adds that while in principle he supports arbitration, “the reality in Estonia is that judges often preside on panels and tend to use similar formal rules used in courts. Also, as Estonia is such a small country, it is often difficult to find professional arbitrators whose impartiality is out of question.” In Latvia, the cases handled in arbitration exceed 3,000 per year. There are around 200 registered institutional arbitration tribunals. However, only two or three institutions are reputable and well recognised. “I serve as a council member of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Court of Arbitration,” says Lauris Liepa, partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Latvia). “In that capacity, I am working to educate the business community about what arbitration offers and in what types of litigations it is a good alternative to traditional courts.”


CASE PROFILE BY Lena Barner-Rasmussen PHOTOS Kari Hautala, Corbis, Finavia

TO The new Shanghai Just when you thought you’ve been everywhere, Finnair came up with a new destination.

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“An accurate understanding of the legal environment in China was of extreme importance.” John Carlander, Vice President of Business Development, Finnair

You

haven’t necessarily heard much about this city, even though it is one of the biggest in the world with over 34 million inhabitants. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in the world with annual economic growth exceeding 25 percent. 180 of Fortune’s 500 biggest companies already have a presence in the city, and you can trust that more will follow. The city can also boast the perhaps most interesting version of the Chinese fondue called hot pot. We are talking about Chongqing in southwest China, the second fastest growing city in China. It is not just the vermicellis in the hot pot that sizzle, the whole place is bustling. While growth figures in Europe seem stuck in their gloom, China is expected to continue growing. This is good news for Finnish airline Finnair, with a gateway position to Asia as one of its strategic mainstays. According to John Carlander, Vice President of Business Development, Finnair is expecting to double its income from its Asian traffic by 2020. Finnair’s new

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destination to Chongqing, opening in May 2012, will account for a large part of that traffic thanks to the city’s strong growth. ”We are constantly on the lookout for potential destinations, and have been keeping an eye on Chongqing for some time,” says Carlander. Not just for businessmen

There is obviously going to be lots of business people flying to and from Chongqing, but Carlander is also betting his money on tourist traffic. Chongqing is situated near a beautiful spot where two rivers merge into the Yangtze river and close to the spectacular Three Gorges. Cruises along the Yangtze river will increase in popularity as will tourism to Tibet’s Lhasa, which can be reached by a one-hour plane ride from Chongqing. So if you’ve ticked off Shanghai on the list of places you must see in China, chances are you’ll be heading towards Ghongging next. The Chinese middle class is eager to see the world as well, so Carlander is expecting traffic from Chongqing to Europe too.

”The Chinese are already big spenders when it comes to travelling.” More work than usual

But there is more footwork to launching a new destination than meets the eye. At least if you are flying into China. Opening a new destination to a city in Europe, for instance, is a matter between the airport and the airline. But in Russia, Japan, India and China, the other party is the local council or even the government, making things more complicated. And that is usually when you need to call in the lawyers. John Carlander turned to Attorneys at law Borenius, a long-time legal partner. One crucial issue was making sure that the other party sticks to the deal. Launching a new destination usually means huge investments in the fleet. An airplane is a multimillion-euro buy so once you’ve gone forward with the project, you don’t want the other party to bail out. Lawyers from Attorneys at law Borenius (Helsinki) helped Finnair draft a deal that would guard their position should the Chinese


officials, for one reason or another, try to pull out. Finnair will for now be the only airline flying to Chongqing from Europe. Attorneys at law Borenius’ team also had to make sure that this was not a problem with regard to EU competition laws. Attorneys at law Borenius has advised Finnair on legal matters before. This time around, however, expertise in Finnish as well as Chinese law was needed. Luckily, Attorneys at law Borenius has local competence in Sha Wang, an associate lawyer in the M&A team who holds not only law degrees from both China and Finland, but also a national bar qualification from China. ”The fact that Attorneys at law Borenius was able to span the whole process was very valuable,” says Carlander. The added value did not concern just legal matters. Having Wang on board also meant that Attorneys at law Borenius was able to assist with cultural differences and nuances that a non-Chinese would never notice, but that you’d better get right if you want to get anywhere with Chinese officials. Needless to say, being able to negotiate in Mandarin did help as the agreement was drafted in both English and Mandarin. Marketing next

It was also crucial to have local Chinese legal understanding to get the agreement right, because in the event of differing opinions, chances are that a Chinese court would rule in favour of the Chinese party. ”An accurate understanding of the legal environment in China was of extreme importance,” says Carlander. Now that the legal work is over and done with, the people at Finnair are busy marketing the new destination. ”We usually start the marketing process about a year before the first flight. People tend to make bookings on these types of destinations quite early.” And it may take a few months to let people know that there is an interesting version of hot pot to be had in a city called Chongqing in southwest China.

The China Desk offers Chinese legal expertise in Helsinki

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here there is business, there is a need for lawyers. Right now, and far into the future, if you want to expand your business, China is the market for you. This was the argument behind Attorneys at law Borenius’ decision to create a China Desk. ”There are a lot of companies in China that are looking into internationalising their business and this will mean lots of M&A deals eventually. Finnish companies are also currently expanding into China,” says Samuli Simojoki, who heads the China Desk. A good understanding of the Chinese legal system is crucial to be successful in China. Borenius Group is currently building up relationships with top law firms in China. But there is local flavour at the office in Helsinki too. Sha Wang, who holds national bar qualification from China, has been with the firm since 2010. She completed her LL.B in China and LL.M in Finland. Currently, she is topping off her education with a M.Sc. (Econ.).

”The legal system in China is comparatively more political. For instance, establishment of foreign-owned enterprises are restricted or even forbidden in certain industries; and foreign investors shall, even prior to filing an application for the establishment of enterprise, submit a report to the local government containing key information for examination,” says Wang of the differences between the legal system in Finland and in China. Equally important is a good understanding of the languages and the cultural differences, something Wang naturally has having grown up and studied in China. For Finnish companies looking into establishing a presence in China it might be useful to know that legal advise in China can be very expensive. The legal market can also be difficult to navigate. ”It can actually be less expensive to do the background work in Finland,” hints Simojoki.

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BY Satu Jussila ILLUSTRATION Pietari Posti

Taxman wants his share MASTERCLASS. If you have intra-group sales, chances are you are not getting the transfer pricing issues correct. And that could spell lots of money in back taxes. iDEAL Borenius Group magazine

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ransfer pricing generally refers to the price you pay for goods or services that you buy (or sell) inside of your corporation. While Finnish companies are good at keeping the documents required to show the price paid for goods or services, they are not always so good at understanding the methodology needed to get at the correct price – especially when the transaction is across Finnish borders. “The basic idea is that intra-group sales must be an arm’s length transaction,” says Jouni Honka-aho, a senior associate with Attorneys at law Borenius in Helsinki. “But when you cannot find the same product, in the same market and in the same quantities, getting at an independent price gets complicated. There are no clear answers when it comes to transfer pricing,” laments Honka-aho.

Manage the risks

What Honka-aho feels companies should do is find ways to manage their tax risk. “You should think about intragroup prices from the tax perspective and understand how to justify the amount paid.”


What are you telling clients about transfer pricing regulations in the Baltics? “Transfer pricing is not only about transferring profits between parts of a multinational corporate groups, as it covers all related-party transactions. The Estonian legislature recently expanded what the related-party concept covers. Clients are now exposed to getting a tax assessment also in seemingly insignificant internal restructurings. Awareness is critical before a tax audit. Egon Talur Attorneys at law Borenius, Estonia

Transfer pricing has existed for some time, but many taxpayers do not realise that the rules apply to them. Latvian law does not impose specific requirements with regards to documentation, and taxpayers can choose among price calculation methods. In a sense, this gives taxpayers more freedom. But, on the flip side, the authorities may have a higher success rate in challenging them. Proper procedures can reduce the risk of lengthy court deliberations.

Transfer pricing regulations have existed in Lithuania since 2004 but this is still something that not every company takes seriously enough. By choosing the appropriate transfer pricing methods and preparing the documentation, this shifts the burden of proof to the tax authorities. In essence, working proactively can save you time and money. Nerijus Jurkus Attorneys at law Borenius, Lithuania

Zane Krecere Attorneys at law Borenius, Latvia

He has worked on transfer pricing issues for the last eight years and recently joined Attorneys at law Borenius in Helsinki as their expert in this field. “This is not like value-added tax, where the amount you might owe in back taxes is the tens of Euros,” he stresses. Honka-aho explains that he worked on an assignment where a company sold it assets from Finland to a subsidiary outside of the country. The company claimed the price for this sale was EUR 1 million. The Finnish tax authorities countered that the correct amount was EUR 50 million – a more or less EUR 15 million tax implication, depending on carryforward losses. “You have to remember that for tax authorities, a company moving abroad means the loss of tax revenue. Companies must think seriously if the price fits within the transfer pricing guidelines and not make decisions based solely on what makes sense from a business perspective.” Avoid the sanctions

Tax authorities in different jurisdiction are very interested in getting their share of taxable income from a multinational corporation’s global tax income. “If you get audited, it is not uncommon for tax inspectors to look several years in the past. Without any proper evidence that prices are at arm’s length, the driver will be the tax inspector itself,” says Honka-aho. Do transfer pricing incorrectly and face additional taxable income, denial of deductions and possible sanctions. In another assignment Honka-aho worked on, the tax inspectors challenged the transfer pricing method of a certain multinational logistic company with a subsidiary in Finland. The company paid good revenues, but the inspectors claimed that the taxes paid in Finland should be higher.

“For some reason, the tax authority did not understand the proper business model that is used globally to share profits between different jurisdictions. While it took a while to reach an understanding, the tax authorities finally agreed to withdraw the income additions.” Gain the knowledge

Transfer pricing is fairly new in Finland, which means that both the tax authorities and Finnish companies are still in the learning stages. “Companies such as Nokia and Metso have dealt with these issues prior to the adoption of the Finnish Transfer pricing rules, which came into force starting from 2007, because they have subsidiaries in countries where transfer pricing rules have existed far longer,” says Honka-aho. “But if you work for a smaller corporation, it is likely that this is an area where you could use better understanding.” Many of the assignments that Honka-aho deals with involve a loss-making subsidiary in Finland. “The assumption from the tax inspector’s side is that the loss-making position of the local company, especially if it continues for several years, is the result of wrongly set transfer prices,” he says. “One company I represented was able to present good documentation and benchmarking studies to the tax authorities. This helped them to demonstrate that the lossmaking position was not the result of improper transfer prices, but unfavourable market conditions.” So, with intra-group transactions, says Honka-aho, think first what possible transfer price issues this might raise. “Educate yourself and learn how to explain the amounts paid.”

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in brief BY Leila Uotila ILLUSTRATION Kirsi Tapani

[Lithuania]

Under the law – sports and fashion Practicing modern sports law requires not only excellent knowledge of various areas of law, but also a good understanding of sports as an organisational activity. Operating in the fashion world is equally challenging, as the legal questions usually concern a mixture of intellectual property rights.

Modern

sports law specialists deal with demanding issues such as high-profile player transfers and roster changes, funding and implementation of various infrastructure projects as well as the preparation of internal rules used by sports organisations. “Considering the versatility and dynamism of legal relations in modern sports, a qualified sports law expert has never been such an important player in sports activities as he is today. Our experts are able to discern the peculiarities of a particular type of sports and provide the client with the most rational proposal,” says

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Dr. Daivis Švirinas, managing partner, Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania). Always in fashion

Fashion houses and accessory designers also face unique challenges specific to their industry. Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania) collaborates with fashion houses and designers. The firm will soon release a publication called the Fashion Guide. The regularly updated guide is aimed at serving the fashion industry representatives and includes fashion law news, pro bono consulting as well as questions, suggestions and expert ideas from fashion industry workers.

Fashion law deals with intellectual property and covers concepts such as the legal protection of copyrights, design and trademarks including brand licensing. Also, domestic and international business transactions, e-commerce, customs as well as import and export issues fall under the umbrella term of fashion law. “To effectively deal with these questions, the whole industry requires attorneys who understand what short seasons, ever-changing product cycles, pressures surrounding counterfeit goods, and the issues of unfair competition truly mean to their clients,” says Dr. Stasys Drazdauskas, senior associate, Attorneys at law Borenius (Lithuania).


[The Fenno-Baltic region]

Doing business

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new IFC and World Bank report, Doing Business 2012, finds that governments in the Fenno-Baltic region continue to take steps that make it easier to conduct business. Transparency and access to information played a key role in local reforms. Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania placed in the top 30 in the Ease of Doing Business ranking. Reforms that make it easier to start a business have been the most common advancements made during the past year. Among Finland and the Baltics, Finland is the friendliest place to start a business. But in Estonia, starting a business takes the shortest time, only seven days. In Lithuania, it takes only three days to register property, while in the other three countries, the same procedure lasts at least two weeks. Latvia was the only country where getting credit was made easier. Business made easier

Finland took the highest place in the Ease of Doing Business ranking among the four countries. It improved its ranking by three positions and was positioned eleventh. During the year, Finland simplified reporting and payment for value-added tax and labour tax. Latvia positioned itself twenty-first and was the biggest improver among the four countries. Starting a business was made easier by reducing the minimum capital requirement and introducing a common application for value-added tax and company registration. Also, getting electricity was made faster with the introduction of a simplified process for approval of external connection designs.

Additionally, transferring property was made easier, and a new insolvency law was adopted. Even though Estonia fell by six places and ranked twenty-fourth, it is important to note that the country has implemented a number of important reforms in previous years. Trading across the border was easiest in Estonia, as export and

“The Fenno-Baltic countries all placed in the top 30 in the Ease of Doing Business ranking.” import only took about five days. The wide use of e-channels makes it easy to conduct business in Estonia for those who have a local identification number. Lithuania took the twenty-seventh place. The country strengthened investor protection by introducing greater requirements for corporate disclosure to the public and in annual reports. It also amended its reorganisation law to simplify and shorten reorganisation proceedings, grant priority to secured creditors and introduce professional requirements for insolvency administrators.

Sources: Doing Business 2011 Doing Business 2012 Doing Business Press Release

Doing Business 2012 survey is the ninth in a series of annual reports investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. A total of 183 countries where studied in the survey. Attorneys at law Borenius has contributed to the research in the recent years and gave its input also in the newest survey.

APPOINTMENTS Attorneys at Law Borenius [Finland] We welcome Maria Carlsson, Jari Gadd, Lasse Laaksonen, Asko Lindqvist and Ulla von Weissenberg as partners, starting 1 January 2012. We have appointed Jukka Airaksinen, Antti Hemmilä, Hannu Järvinen, Åsa Krook, Mikko Leppä, Kristiina Liljedahl, Heidi Merikalla-Teir, Johan Roman, Risto Sipilä, Jani Syrjänen and Sami Tuominen as special partners. Juulia Kurunsaari has been appointed as a senior advisor in the Transactions practice group. Jouni Honka-aho joins the Tax practice group as a senior associate. The Tax group also welcomes Ville Alahuhta as a lawyer. Mikko Koivula and Oscari Seppälä have been appointed as lawyers in the Dispute Resolution and Insolvency practice group.

Attorneys at Law Borenius [Latvia] We welcome associate Martins Petersons as a new member of the Dispute Resolution and Litigation practice group. His fields of expertise include administrative, constitutional and pharmacy law. Managing partner Lauris Liepa has been appointed as council member of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (LCCI) Court of Arbitration. The LCCI court of arbitration council, which consists of three independent members, ensures neutrality in decision-making processes, including arbitrator appointments. The Council also ensures that the Code of Ethics of the LCCI arbitration court is part of the arbitration procedure. Lauris Liepa will also continue to be a member of the President's Commission on Constitutional Law. The new president of Latvia, Andris Berzins, decided to reinstate the work of the Commission.

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