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02 October 2020

Baltic market shake-up continues with tripartite merger to create 100-lawyer practice

Lithuania's WALLESS joins forces with firms in Estonia and Latvia to create a pan-Baltic practice

By Ben Rigby

Vilnius, Lithuania proslgn; Shutterstock

Lithuanian firm WALLESS has joined forces with firms in Estonia and Latvia to create a 100-lawyer strong pan-Baltic practice. 

The deal sees Latvia’s Primus and Estonia’s Derling take on the WALLESS brand to create what the three parties are describing as a fully integrated law firm targeting regional and international work.

It marks the latest stage of a shake-up of the Baltic market which has seen groups of up-and-coming partners split away from established firms to set up challenger brands.

The combined firm counts Lithuania energy group Ignitis, US fintech Square, NASDAQ-listed Madara Cosmetics and regional telecoms provider Nortal as clients.

Dovile Burgiene, managing partner of WALLESS Lithuania, said: "Taking one more step forward and becoming a Baltic law firm, we will be able to support our clients in their most complex legal matters not only in Lithuania, but in all three Baltic states."

Hannes Vallikivi, who heads up WALLESS Estonia, added: "We already are among the top five law firms in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Our partnership enables further growth and we are aiming to become one of the leading Baltic law firms."

The move places the WALLESS brand in a position to further challenge the established pan-Baltic brands of Ellex, COBALT and Sorainen, whose name partner Aku Sorainen, recently celebrated the firm’s 25th anniversary. 

WALLESS was founded last year by a breakaway group of five partners led by Dovile Burgiene from the leading firm Ellex Valiunas and has already broken into the ranks of the top five firms by revenue and size in Lithuania,

Primus was founded in 2009 when the then-largest Latvian law firm Loze Grunte & Cers split while Derling was formed in 2016, when a team of partners led by Vallikivi broke away from TGS Baltic. The two firms formed an association in 2018 under which they adopted each other’s brand names.

An earlier association by Derling with Latvia’s Kronbergs & Cukste and Lithuania’s Dominas & Partners, ended when those firms joined the Levin network, along with Estonia’s Glikman Alvin.

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