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May 2021

Top Tier recognition in The Legal 500 EMEA 2021

Bernitsas Law is ranked in the Top Tier in the Legal 500 EMEA 2021.

‘a diverse team … probably best in the country … an excellent structure and understanding of the market … highly professional attitude with appropriate knowledge and perfect consultancy … brilliant to work with … able to grasp information to a very high level … available at all times in order to help their clients … professionalism, responsiveness, flexibilty … 360-degree expertise’

Read more about the Legal 500 EMEA 2021 Client Testimonials.

Banking, Finance and Capital Markets

‘Among the top teams in the Greek market’, Bernitsas Law acts for clients including major domestic and international banks, investment firms and insurance companies. Nikos Papachristopoulos handles primary listings and secondary offerings of securities, with further expertise in M&A financing. He jointly leads the department with Athanasia Tsene, whose specialisms include the secondary market for NPLs, international finance transactions, financial restructurings and insolvency proceedings. Managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas also has extensive experience in this space, while senior associate Dionysis Flambouras has an excellent reputation for bond issuances, securitisations and financing arrangements. Other fronts on which the group excels are financial services regulation, foreign direct investments and refinancings.

Commercial, Corporate and M&A

Bernitsas Law is a go-to name for a broad variety of corporate and commercial matters, including commercial agreements, privatisations, corporate governance and restructurings, compliance issues and high-value M&A, with expertise in the acquisition of Greek businesses by private equity funds and international investors. Lambros Belessis heads the department together with Nikos Papachristopoulos, who is noted for his strength in take-over bids and corporate restructurings. Managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas is also active in this space, and Evi Kitsou focuses on regulatory compliance and commercial agreements. The team also advises insurance companies on insurance portfolio transactions; other sectors of expertise include finance, energy, transport and pharmaceuticals.

Dispute Resolution

Bernitsas Law’s ‘very experienced and highly professional’ dispute resolution practice has a formidable reputation in administrative, compliance, banking, insolvency, commercial and corporate crime-related disputes, with a track record of appearing before both the Greek and European courts in addition to arbitral tribunals. ‘Successful administrative law litigator Dimitris Roussis leads the practice with Christos Paraskevopoulos ‘, who is a leading name for commercial proceedings, particularly in the automobile, pharmaceuticals, clothing manufacturing, insurance and cosmetics sectors. At the junior end, ‘excellent’ senior associate Evangelos Mamalakis specialises in commercial and financial contract litigation and Pelina Leontiadou  focuses on employment, insurance and commercial disputes.

EU and Competition

Combining a ‘thorough knowledge of competition issues’ with ‘business acumen’, Bernitsas Law is a go-to option for a broad array of EU and competition matters. The department is headed by Marina Androulakakis, who ‘inspires confidence’ when advising on antitrust, merger control and regulatory compliance matters. ‘Extraordinary’ managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas  is also active in this space, with a long-established reputation for high-profile cartel cases heard before the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC). In addition, counsel Augustine Almyroudi’s core strengths lie in state aid, compliance matters, and internal and regulatory investigations, while ‘driven senior associate Tania Patsalia is highly acclaimed for her advice on the competition law elements of commercial arrangements. Other areas of expertise include market and sector investigations, abuse of dominance cases, EU public procurement rules and the EU law aspects of commercial, corporate and banking transactions

Employment

Bernitsas Law fields a team which is ‘fully up-to-date on any labour law developments’, headed by the ‘exceptional’ Katia Papantonopoulou, a specialist in regulatory and legislative matters, employment contracts and collective dismissals. In addition, her team has extensive experience in collective agreements, industrial relations and employee-related fringe benefits, pensions, and compensation mandates, as well as handling a number of contentious affairs, such as dismissal, accident at work and professional liability claims. Of late, it has also handled a number of employment-related due diligence projects arising from major M&A transactions.

Energy

Bernitsas Law is a one-stop shop for market-leading energy matters; it handles major conventional energy transactions while also advising on the full life cycle of major projects and compliance with the relevant regulatory and legislative requirements. In addition, the team is a go-to option for environmental law matters and is notably active in the renewable space, where it advises on wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal schemes. Department head Yannis Seiradakis advises on the structuring, development, financing and implementation of major projects and transactions, and is closely supported by Eleni Stazilova, a specialist in energy-related public procurement and PPP. The team also handles gas transportation and storage and supply of energy mandates, in addition to transmission and distribution network matters. In addition to renewables, it has specialist expertise in the hydrocarbon, oil and gas, electricity, water and mining sub-sectors.

Insurance

Bernitsas Law fields a ‘dedicated, highly professional’ and ‘expert’ team with expertise that covers insurance contracts and commercial agreements, bancassurance undertakings, portfolio transactions, and compliance with regulations and legislation, as well as support on the full array of day-to-day issues such as social security and employment issues. The team led by Lambros Belessis is also notably active on the contentious front, acting on claim distribution, contractual documentation, regulatory enforcement and insolvency-related disputes, among others. Of late, the team has noted an uptick in insurance-related M&A mandates, especially those involving foreign investors.

Intellectual Property

Leveraging ‘deep knowledge of IP issues’ and a ‘proactive’ service, Bernitsas Law is proficient in the creation, registration, protection and utilisation of patents, trade marks, designs and copyrights. The team is also frequently engaged for IP-related sales, purchases and transfers, also handling licensing, franchising and sponsorship agreements in addition to portfolio due diligence. Lambros Belessis and Yannis Chryssospathis jointly lead the department, which has recently seen an uptick in instructions from the cosmetics, shipping and pharmaceutical sectors.

Projects and Privatisation

The ‘excellent’ and ‘business-orientated’ practice at Bernitsas Law is noted for its capacity in complex project finance matters. The team represents institutions, major lending banks, commercial financers, projects sponsors and construction companies, among others, in domestic and cross-border projects. It has been involved in the PPP space since its inception in Greece, recently acting on significant motorway, student accommodation and school projects, and also holds a track record of involvement in some of the country’s most high-profile privatisations. Managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas is extremely experienced in major renewable and conventional energy projects, as well as those in the infrastructure space, and has frequently served as a government adviser on privatisation matters. In addition,  Dimitris Roussis is a specialist in PPP projects, representing both strategic investors and participants, while Yannis Seiradakis and senior associate Stella Papakosta are hailed as ‘probably the best project finance lawyers in the country’. Projects in the transport, telecoms and waste management sectors are also fields of activity.

Real Estate and Construction

Bernitsas Law’s real estate and construction department is particularly active on the development front, supporting clients at every stage of commercial, tourism, residential and industrial projects. It is also regularly engaged for corporate transactions involving real estate companies and asset portfolios, as well as planning, land use, zoning and environmental matters. Headed by Panayotis Bernitsas, an expert in portfolio investments, the team frequently advises banks, funds and real estate companies on financing matters and is also well equipped to assist with related tax considerations. Other clients include retailers, real estate trusts, construction and development companies, the Greek state and the Greek Orthodox Church. The ‘amazing’ Nikos Vouhiounis provides distinguished expertise in real estate privatisation tender procedures, in addition to the acquisition and development of tourist facilities, commercial malls and offices. Fellow senior associate Christina Zakopoulou is likewise a name to note, specialising  in construction contracts and large-scale land development projects.

Restructuring and Insolvency

Bernitsas Law advises on cross-border finance, distribution network and company restructurings, and M&A pertaining to distressed companies and assets. The team is also equipped to handle administrations, workouts, debt rescheduling, liquidations and receiverships, relevant investigations, bankruptcy and liquidation disputes, as well as restructuring-related IP and employment law mandates. Athanasia Tsene is renowned for financial restructurings and insolvency proceedings; she heads the department alongside Lambros Belessis, whose primary focus is the corporate restructuring of multinationals active in Greece. Another key contact is senior associate Dionysis Flambouras, who specialises in rehabilitations, financing arrangements and securitisations. The team regularly advises the Greek government on the restructuring of state-owned companies, but is active in an impressive array of industries, including insurance, technology, energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and real estate.

TMT

Lawyers of Bernitsas Law deliver ‘perfect consultancy’ on regulatory compliance, licensing, data protection, commercial agreements, corporate transactions, reporting requirements and TMT-related disputes, particularly those pertaining to IT contracts and systems procurement. The team represents a broad array of clients, including technology companies, television, radio station and newspaper groups, and telecoms providers, among others, and has been extremely active in respect of GDPR in recent years, supporting on a number of compliance projects. Department head Augustine Almyroudi is an M&A, privatisation and joint venture specialist while Marina Androulakakis is an acclaimed name for EU and competition matters in the TMT sector. Senior associate Tania Patsalia supports telecoms operators on licensing requirements, annual reporting obligations and the launch of new services.

Tax

Hailed for its ‘knowledge of complex legislation’, Bernitsas Law has had an active few years in terms of advising multinationals on recent changes to Greek tax law. Its other core fields of specific expertise include source of funds declarations, VAT refund claims, tax planning on behalf of high-net-worth individuals and personal tax liabilities. The team is also well equipped to support on investigations, disputes, corporate advisory and transactional matters. Managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas is extensively experienced in tax structuring, wealth planning and contentious affairs, and counsel Fotodotis Malamas is an ‘exceptional tax lawyer’ with expertise in tax-efficient structures, direct and indirect tax liability, compliance and due diligence reviews.

White-Collar Crime

Recommended for its ‘professionalism and high level of responsiveness’, Bernitsas Law is adept in handling fraud, corruption, anti-bribery, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence proceedings, and the practice also has an emphasis on liability assessment. Managing partner Panayotis Bernitsas and Christos Paraskevopoulos jointly lead the team, which is particularly active in cases in the banking, pharmaceuticals, electronics, automobile, clothing and apparel sectors.