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No, the headline of my editorial is not intended to challenge our readers’ understandings of basic math. It’s also not intended a brain teaser like those you can find somehow proving that one equals zero using algebra. It’s simply designed to draw your attention to the fact that what you are holding in your hand is a hybrid issue. It is both issue 7.7 of CEE Legal Matters and the very first issue of CEE In-House Matters.

The General Counsel role has been significantly transformed during the last decade – from being a mere business advisor and business partner to becoming part of the business. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there is still significant space for change in the years ahead.

Peter Ban, Head of Legal and Compliance at E.ON Hungary, reflects on the value for GCs of immersing themselves in their company’s business.

Going beyond a purely legal role has been necessary for in-house lawyers for many years – but Stanimir Vlahov, Associate Counsel Bulgaria at Mondelez International, explains why the current COVID-19 outbreak has made this need even more pressing.

How do you go about building an in-house legal team that you can be proud of – one that addresses all the needs of a publicly-traded company, and does so with minimal external advisory assistance? Marian Radu, Group Legal & Public Affairs Manager at Vrancart Group, explains.

Christian Blatchford, General Counsel at Energo-Pro, explains how he goes about selecting external advisors – and what he wishes private practice lawyers would do differently.

Crenguta Catanea, Head of Legal at Romprest, draws from her in-house and consultancy experience to emphasize how important it is for GCs to train themselves to be taxation/fiscal-literate – and how they should develop that capability.

Proper vetting of business partners from a trade sanctions perspective is critical for companies selling to or procuring goods or services from Turkey, Russia, and China, according to Catalin Olarescu, Group Head of Sanctions at LafargeHolcim. He describes his approach to ensuring trade sanctions compliance.

The MET Group is targeting EUR 1 billion in M&A deals over the next few years. Dora Szebeni, Group Head of Legal M&A, explains what it means to oversee a series of high-value transactions.

Marianna Erdei, Country Legal Director at EY Hungary, shares the unique challenges of managing the legal matters of a professional services company – with a legal services arm.

Mark Erdelyi, Legal Director of Telenor Hungary, reports on the wide range of hurdles he and his team have had to overcome since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Przemyslaw Witas, General Counsel at CEDC International, is directly involved in keeping a production line running during the COVID-19 Crisis.

John Giannakakis, General Counsel of the Andromeda Group, shares his insights on data protection and cybersecurity compliance issues – made all the more pressing in a COVID-19 context – and the best practices he has developed for assessing risks and nurturing a compliance culture.

The role of Internal investigations in an effective compliance program remains critical despite the significant impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting work-from-home set-ups. Altug Ozgun, Ethics & Compliance Director, explains how he runs them for Astellas Pharma.

Adriana Minovic, Group Head of Data Privacy and DPO at the Betsson Group, talks about the tension between the demands of different regulatory bodies from a use-of-data perspective.

Elena Gabdulkhaeva, Legal & Corporate Policy Director at Uniper Russia, reflects on the potential risks of combining the legal function with those of compliance and regulatory affairs.

The “Financial Shield” programs are a part of the Polish Government-established “Anti-Crisis Shield” aid program, implemented by the Polish Development Fund. The programs, worth PLN 100 billion, aim to protect the labor market and to ensure companies’ financial liquidity in periods of severe economic disruption. Joanna Dynysiuk, Head of Legal, Anna Wawrzynczak, Office Director – Legal Office – Corporate, and Anna Blonska, Office Director – Legal Office – Investments, describe the programs and the legal work behind it.

In July, CEE Legal Matters reported that Vasile Tiple, the first in-house counsel and former General Counsel of UiPath, had left that role to become the company’s Head of Legal Automation. Tiple reports on the recent launch of the sArb - Simplified Arbitration Reference Facility software robot that was developed by UiPath for the Bucharest International Arbitration Court.

In 2019, the In-house Counsel’s Section of the Budapest Bar Association was established to create a knowledge exchange platform for in-house lawyers. Tunde Hegyi, Corporate Senior Counsel at the MOL Group, who is also President of the In-house Counsel’s Section of the Budapest Bar Association, describes the initiative. 

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