In the first days of the New Year, as a Managing Partner at SMM Legal, one of the leading Polish law firms, I would like to take the opportunity to recap 2016 from the perspective of our legal practice. Last year at SMM Legal will be remembered as very intense and abounding with professional and personal achievements.
Key changes in the SMM Legal team:
Prof. Rafał Sikorski, the head of our IP practice and a member of our team since 2004, was appointed a Senior Partner. Mr. Aleksander Czech, legal advisor and a specialist at our Corporate law team, was also promoted to the rank of Senior Partner. Congratulations to both of our outstanding lawyers!
In July, Ms. Joanna Matczuk, advocate, jointed SMM Legal to co-head the Intellectual Property Department with Prof. Sikorski.
Mr. Wojciech Sikorski, legal advisor and previously a senior associate, became a new partner in our Warsaw office. Meanwhile, Prof. Marcin Orlicki, who has worked with SMM Legal as an of counsel lawyer, become a partner of the Firm over in Poznań. This change was very well received by the insurance market.
In mid-December, Prof. Michał Królikowski, former head of the Sejm Analyses Centre (2006-2011), Deputy Minister of Justice (2011-2014), an outstanding criminal lawyer and an author of the criminal law reform, joined our team as a Partner. Now, together with Mr. Krzysztof Urbańczyk, advocate, he will run our Criminal and Criminal Business Law Department. The experience of both lawyers makes our criminal law team one of the strongest in Poland.
SMM Legal can also boast of adding yet another new law professor – Prof. Michał Skąpski, labour law specialist, joined us as an of counsel lawyer.
The strong, ceaseless development of our Team is reflected in the growing number of new staff members. In 2016, we were glad to welcome:
- Mr. Artur Marcinkowski, legal advisor
- Mr. Maciej Tulwin, advocate
- Ms. Kinga Dziennik,
- Ms. Emilia Topolnicka, advocate trainee,
- Mr. Norbert Karmowski, advocate trainee,
- Mr. Dominik Gajda, advocate trainee,
- Our new assistants in Warsaw – Mateusz Jaworski and Damian Wójcik, and new assistants in Poznań: Monika Knothe, Julia Lewandowska and Aleksander Prusiński.
SMM Legal Partners in public institutions:
June 2016 – Prof. Maciej Mataczyński was appointed an arbitrator of the Arbitration Tribunal at the Central Securities Depository of Poland (Krajowy Depozyt Papierów Wartościowych S.A.).
August 2016 – two Managing Partners at SMM Legal, Prof. Maciej Mataczyński and Prof. Tomasz Sójka, were appointed to the Simple Joint-Stock Company Team (PSA) at the Ministry of Economic Development. PSA is one of the legal pillars of the so-called Morawiecki’s Plan and is to provide a simple, flexible legal structure primarily aimed at investments in innovations.
Major publications by SMM Legal partners:
- In the spring, C.H. Beck published a two-volume commentary on the Polish Constitution edited by Prof. Marek Safjan and Prof. Leszek Bosek. Maciej Dybowski, PhD, specialist from SMM Legal, was one of the authors of the study.
- In the first half of the year, C.H. Beck also published a large commentary on the Civil Code; a number of our lawyers were among its authors: M. Mataczyński, T. Sójka, M. Orlicki, A. Raczyński, M. Saczywko, J. Stranz, R. Szyszko.
- In the autumn, a new publication edited by Prof. Maciej Mataczyński, Managing Partner at SMM Legal, appeared in print. The book, entitled Ustawa o kontroli niektórych inwestycji. Komentarz (The Act on the Control of Certain Investments. Commentary), is the first commentary on this law available on the market.
In the same period, a new book by Prof. Tomasz Sójka, Managing Partner at SMM Legal, was published by Wolters Kluwer. The monograph, entitled Cywilnoprawna ochrona inwestorów korzystających z usług maklerskich na rynku kapitałowym (Civil Law Protection of Investors Using Brokerage Services on the Capital Market) is mostly targeted at investment firms and investors themselves. It offers an exhaustive analysis of investor protection from Polish and European law standpoint, focusing on non-professional investors using brokerage services on the capital market. Apart from Prof. Sójka, contributors to the monograph include other SMM Legal Partners: Prof. Maciej Mataczyński and Prof. Rafał Sikorski. We highly recommend the book
- Just before the end of the year, C.H. Beck published the 4th volume of a highly valued series entitled System Prawa Handlowego (Commercial Law System) edited by Prof. Mirosław Stec. The chapter on bonds in the book was written by Prof. Tomasz Sójka, Managing Partner at SMM Legal
Major conferences attended by SMM Legal lawyers:
- From the 21 to 24 April, Geneva Group International – an international lawyers’ association the only Polish member of which is SMM Legal – held its annual international conference. Our Firm was among the organisers of the event, which took place in Poland for the first time in the 25 years of GGI’s history. At the Intercontinental Hotel in Warsaw we hosted nearly 250 lawyers from as many as 40 countries from all over the world. Our guest of honour and key note speaker was Mr. Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, former Prime Minister of Poland, who opened the conference together with Prof. Tomasz Sójka. Our lawyers, Prof. Maciej Mataczyński and Ms. Magdalena Michalska were also among the conference speakers. The event ended with an official reception at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, closed out by Prof. Maciej Mataczyński. Our guests found the conference to be a great success.
- At the end of March, Prof. Rafał Sikorski took part in a conference organized by the Fordham Intellectual Property Law Institute in New York. Mr. Sikorski was the only Polish IP specialist invited to present a paper. The annual Fordham conference is the most prestigious IP forum in the world.
- From 27 to 28 October, Prof. Rafał Sikorski run one of the training panels within the INPRECOMP (International Patent Remedies for Complex Products) project at King’s College in London. The panel focused on actions to discontinue patent infringements. The workshop in London was the first of two meetings attended by 20 academics from 12 countries in Europe, America and Asia. The second one will be held in March 2017 at Arizona State University. The project’s outcome will be an academic publication.
- From 9 to 10 June 2016, Warsaw Stock Exchange hosted the 6th CECL Conference on Company Law Reform in Central and Eastern Europe organised by the Allerhand Institute and the Centre for European Company Law (CECL). Prof. Tomasz Sójka, Managing Partner at SMM Legal, was among the conference speakers. The conference is a major, cyclical expert event on the broadly construed company law in Europe. Prof. Sójka presented his paper on “Golden Shares” in Polish law.
- From 2 to 3 June 2016, Mykolas Romaris University in Vilnus hosted an international young scholars’ conference entitled “SOCIAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY 2016”. Speakers included SMM LEGAL lawyers: Justyna Witkowska, legal advisor, and Tomasz Lewandowski (both are PhD candidates at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań). Ms. Witkowska presented a paper entitled „Polish Constitutional Court – a positive or a negative legislator”, while Mr. Lewandowski spoke on the access to culture in the context of works by the Economic, Social and Cultural Righst Committee.
Individual achievements of SMM Legal lawyers:
- Ms. Agnieszka Goliszewska was licensed to practice as an attorney in New York State, USA.
- Ms. Joanna Łabudzka, legal advisor, became a member of the ECTA Board.
- Ms. Patrycja Starczewka, who represented one of the major Polish transfer operators as our client before the Supreme Court, with the Court’s judgement found to be “an exact quotation of the attorney’s writ”. Congratulations!
- Ms. Monika Adamczak, legal advisor, who provided comprehensive legal advisory to the largest Polish transfer operator in the process of assembling tender documentation to be submitted in the first Polish innovative partnership procedure.
- Ms. Agnieszka Bartosiewicz, advocate, and Mr. Tomasz Jaranowski, legal advisor, who took the secondment challenge at Mennica SA and Netia SA, successfully supporting the people in charge of these companies.
- In 2017 the Firm plans to open its third office, this time in Wrocław. The office will be run by an experienced Wrocław-based lawyer, with the status of Wrocław Office Managing Partner. Previously, this person was one of the key lawyers in a leading law firm in that city.
- SMM Legal is planning a major acquisition aimed at further development of our Energy Law Department
Major transactions with SMM Legal’s participation:
In 2016 SMM Legal advised on transactions totalling more than PLN 2.5 billion.
The Firm provides counsel to the largest Polish businesses in leading sectors of the economy, including: energy, insurance, and transport/railway. We work for government and public administration and with one of the most dynamic municipalities in Poland. Last year, we successfully completed a lengthy operation involving legal support in a complex real estate transaction. Together with his team, Mr. Jedrzej Bujny has been dynamically developing the Administrative Law Department that has every chance of becoming an important and promising area of SMM Legal's activity.
At SMM Legal, 2016 was highly successful. It was full of emotions and challenges, but will ultimately be remembered as a period of great achievements and very dynamic growth. We hope to develop even faster in 2017.
Przemysław Maciak, advocate
SMM Legal Managing Partner