Law Firm Valiunas Ellex enters the year 2017 with new additions to its team of partners. The firm’s new partners are Joana Baublytė-Kulvietė, expert in financial markets and regulatory law, Dovilė Greblikienė, expert in regulated industries and commercial law, Dr. Aistė Medelienė, expert in tax and customs law, and Laura Ziferman, expert in public procurement and PPP.
“Business has been undergoing significant changes over the recent years, with new products and services being developed (particularly in the e-space) and business consolidations taking place, which all leads to the diminishing of the traditional boundaries of cross-sector competition. The clients are expecting a full range of integrated legal services. Therefore, we are positive that the four experts in different fields will strengthen the firm’s existing team of fifteen partners and will help us offer even more innovative solutions and premium legal services to our clients,” says Rolandas Valiūnas, managing partner of Valiunas Ellex.
Technology-Driven Changes in the Rules on the Financial Market
Expert in financial markets and regulation law Joana Baublytė-Kulvietė has over 14 years of experience in working with different financing, acquisition, securities, corporate sales transactions and in other areas of regulated financial services. She offers advice to clients on matters of incorporating, licencing, restructuring banks and other financial institutions, and represents them in litigation. J. Baublytė-Kulvietė joined Valiunas Ellex in 2002 and is currently supervising the firm’s financial markets and regulation practice.
“The financial market is in for a lot of new challenges. The rapid technological penetration in the financial sector, the advent of new business models, services, and players, and the simultaneous ever-increasing regulation and supervision is a factor that forces many players on this market to make fundamental revisions to their operations and to adapt to the shifting rules of the game. I see my position as the firm’s partner both as a token of recognition and an opportunity for me to advance the rather specialised practice of financial law,” says J. Baublytė-Kulvietė.
The Shifting of the Energy Sector
Head of the regulatory industries and trade sub-group Dovilė Greblikienė has been dealing with the issues of the energy sector for more than 11 years. D. Greblikienė has worked with projects covering different fields of energy and her expertise therefore is vast, ranging from the sectors of power, gas and heat to hydrocarbon extraction. She has represented clients in energy-related cases in national courts and international arbitrations. Besides, her specialty as a lawyer covers other regulated industries such as transport and telecommunications, as well as regulation and liberalisation of the relevant tariffs.
“Energy is in Lithuania’s spotlight and its role in the existence of the state is significant. Even though there are people who could see it as a rather slowly evolving industry, things in fact are completely different. We are constantly shifting: moving from East to West, from the governmental to the public sector and vice-versa, from fossil fuels to renewable resources, from centralised to decentralised production of energy. This continuous transformation poses many new interesting questions and challenges for both the business and its legal advisers,” emphasises D. Greblikienė.
According to her, the Clean Energy measures as announced by the European Commission as well as the ongoing significant lowering of prices of energy from renewable resources only stands to prove that this industry is in for more changes in the future. Understanding their needs for energy well, brushing up consumption skills, and utilising the possibilities to make money from producing their own energy will be in the best interests of the consumers, and business in particular. “I am happy that, as a partner to the firm, I will be able to make my own contribution both to the clients’ success in taking advantage of these developments, and to the success of the firm in maintaining its leading position and creating new opportunities for the business,” says the lawyer.
Changes in Tax Legislation Scheduled for 2017
Dr. Aistė Medelienė, is an expert in tax and customs law and the head of Valiunas Ellex’s tax practice. Before coming to work for Valiunas Ellex back in 2011, Dr. A. Medelienė had been a member of the Commission on Tax Disputes. Furthermore, she has ten years of academic experience working at the Law Faculty of Vilnius University, and has co-authored many scientific articles, publications, and books. By combining her theoretical and practical knowledge and keeping a systematic approach, she has earned her clients’ trust in solving the most complicated tax-related issues.
Dr. A. Medelienė says that as far as taxation is concerned, the year 2017 will be interesting, as the new Lithuanian Government has plans to reform the taxation system, while the EU efforts to combat aggressive tax planning and tax evasion could become increasingly prominent on the international scale. The expert reminds us that the obligation to exchange information with foreign tax administrators will have to be fulfilled by September 2017.
“Besides, the Code of Administrative Violations will enter into effect next year, stipulating sanctions for non-fulfilment of different duties pertaining to tax discipline. It means that a new practice will be taking shape in this area,” Dr. A. Medelienė adds and notes that business will have both to adapt its planning and rethink its pre-existing organisational framework.
The New Public Procurement Law Set to Change the Rules
Laura Ziferman, head of the public procurement and public and private partnership (PPP) practice at Valiunas Ellex has eleven years of experience in providing public procurement advice in complex infrastructural projects, as well as unique experience in working on every major public and private partnership project currently underway in Lithuania. Over her years of practice, L. Ziferman has represented her clients in many case-law proceedings involving termination of multi-million contracts due to violations of the public procurement procedure, imposition of huge fines, and presentation of interpretations of the most relevant public procurement matters.“Public procurement and public and private partnership are highly multifaceted and dynamic areas. They involve intensive cooperation both with clients in the public sector and private suppliers who seek to take part in the procurement process. One has to go deep into the specifics of their business, identify potential problems well in advance, and propose the right ways to tackle them. Rapid response and action is a must, too,” says L. Ziferman.
In her words, to achieve that purpose, understanding the two worlds – the public and the private sector – is critical. “I believe that becoming a partner will create better opportunities for me to help the clients bring their ambitious projects and business plans to fruition and adaptation to the new Public Procurement Law. At the same time, I will do my best to maintain the leading position of the law firm Valiunas Ellex on the legal services market so that we continue to be the best place to resolve complicated and integrated business issues, and the best place to work and grow,” L. Ziferman adds.