HAVEL & PARTNERS is the first law firm from the CEE region to open a representation office in Frankfurt am Main 

Jaroslav Havel, Philip Smitka
02. 05. 2024

HAVEL & PARTNERS, the largest law firm in Central Europe with 350 lawyers and tax advisors, 500 associates and 6 offices in Czechia and Slovakia, has become the first law firm from the CEE region to open an office in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on 1 May 2024. The German office will be managed by Philip Smitka, a partner with 24 years of experience as a lawyer in the German and Czech legal markets.

"Achieving certain size, when our annual sales are around €60 million, HAVEL & PARTNERS has become a major player in the European legal market. Now we want to be closer to our international clients and international law firms that work with us, as well as to international private equity and venture capital funds, investment and private banks, family offices, and other stakeholders and business partners. That is why we have taken the important step of expanding our direct representation to include an office in Frankfurt, the gateway for business worldwide,” Jaroslav Havel, the firm’s Managing Partner, commented on the expansion.

The German office in Frankfurt and its three-person team will be led by partner Philip Smitka. With 24 years of experience in the German and Czech legal markets, he worked as a lawyer and later as a partner in one of the largest German law firms Noerr for 18 years, including 7 years as a partner in its Prague office. Philip specialises in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions (including real estate transactions), contracts, international trade and litigation, and commercial and investment arbitration. He also focuses on advising clients in the automotive and information technology sectors.

Philip also conducted internal investigations and advised on compliance issues . He studied law at the University of Tübingen, Deusto University Bilbao and the University of Cologne. Before joining HAVEL & PARTNERS, Philip worked for more than 5 years as a partner in the US-based international law firm Squire Patton Boggs in Stuttgart.

Besides Philip Smitka, another senior lawyer of HAVEL & PARTNERS with extensive experience will be based in the Frankfurt office – Josef Bouchal, a senior associate specialising primarily in M&A, private equity, venture capital, financings and alternative funds.

Close cooperation with foreign partners

The Frankfurt office of HAVEL & PARTNERS focuses on providing support to international clients targeting the CEE region, as well as to clients from the Czech Republic and Slovakia looking to expand further abroad. The Frankfurt team will advise on Czech and Slovak law aspects of international corporate and financial transactions and other matters, and provide strategic advice on doing business in Germany and the Central European markets.

Jaroslav Havel adds: "We will not be competing with local law firms, but instead aim to deepen cooperation with local partners and law firms based in Germany. Many local and international businesses are interested in long-term cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe. We also have growing number of Czech and Slovak clients who would like to do business in Germany or elsewhere in the West. The opening of our German office will therefore further enhance our existing infrastructure, enabling improved client and business partner cooperation." In addition to Jaroslav Havel and Philip Smitka, such cooperation will be supported by the firm's other partners, namely Robert Nešpůrek, Jan Koval, Martin Peckl, and Marek Lošan, and partner Štěpán Štarha will be responsible for cooperation with clients in Slovakia.

Strong team for German speaking clients

HAVEL & PARTNERS has a 25-member team, including 7 partners, specialising in serving German-speaking clients, making it one of the largest teams of this kind in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The firm has around 500 clients from German-speaking countries. Such clients include the largest and most prominent companies from German-speaking countries across all business sectors. Members of the team have many years of work and study experience in Germany or Austria or have worked at leading German or Austrian law firms in Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Frankfurt office will also be an opportunity for the firm’s lawyers aspiring to become partners to undertake a secondment to the Frankfurt office, allowing them to gain experience in international trade, law and business environments.

International reach

In addition to its Frankfurt office, HAVEL & PARTNERS currently operates directly in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Plzeň, Olomouc and Ostrava and provides its clients with the most comprehensive international support available to Czech and Slovak law firms and the highest international standard of service quality, a flexible and creative approach, and business-oriented solutions tailored to solving legal matters.

HAVEL & PARTNERS provides legal and tax advice in 12 languages and has assisted clients in more than 110 countries around the world. Up to 70% of the firm’s cases involve an international element. By collaborating closely with leading law firms across Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Australia, HAVEL & PARTNERS gives its clients access to both international and local knowledge and expertise through a network of over 90,000 lawyers in about 160 countries.

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