The change of the social, political and economic system in Hungary in the late 1980s and early 1990s created the dawn of the privatization boom. Fortunate – but at the same time indispensable – circumstances brought together the Hungarian ‘Ormai and Partners’ law office and the British legal firm McKenna.
The co-operation between ‘Ormai and Partners’ and McKenna produced a fine combination of international experience and good understanding of legal texts in English with the thorough knowledge of the Hungarian legal system. This cooperation became more and more intensive over the years and turned into a full integration with the establishment of the office Ormai and Partners CMS Cameron McKenna in 1996 and CMS Budapest by joining CMS in 1999.
“We provide ‘full service’” Dr. Gabriella Ormai, the managing partner of the firm points out to Diplomacy and Trade magazine. As the office grew in size and experience, they set up specialized teams in fields like corporate, banking, real estate, litigation, taxation and commercial, but “basically, we are also able to give expert legal advice for sectors such as consumer products, technology, media and telecoms, energy & utilities, hotels & leisure, life sciences etc. ” she adds.
A couple of years ago, it was CMS Budapest that helped introduce the payment through mobile phone system in Hungary. “It was a very innovative product. Our job was to create the legal background by coordinating banking law and telecommunications law in order to make the system work,” Ormai says proudly.
Just recently, the office also played significant role in the Hungarian adaptation of the so called London Rules, a set of guidelines relating to the treatment of distressed borrowers. The firm receives numerous requests to examine certain issues in 8-10 or more countries. “Fulfilling such tasks is relatively easy for us as we are part of the international network of law firms ‘CMS’. We can do the job together with the partner offices (53 altogether) in other countries. The client will then receive a comprehensive picture of the issue to base its investment or other firm-wide matters,” Gabriella Ormai stresses.
CMS Budapest comprises over 60 lawyers and an additional 40 people for support functions and serves the largest companies including MOL, Magyar Telekom, Diageo, Wizzair and OTP Bank among others. Samsung companies in Hungary are among the oldest clients.
CSR activities at CMS Budapest include supporting the British and Dutch chambers of commerce, as well as other organizations like the Hungarian Venture Capital Association, with legal expertise. “We also undertake legal work and counseling regarding the establishment and upkeep – pro bono – of several foundations. One of the earliest was the Red Nose Clown Doctor Foundation,” points out Gabriella Ormai who has been the chairman of the board there for over six years.