Balkanalysis on Twitter Briefing with Ljubica Ruben, Owner and Managing Partner of Mens Legis Law Firm, December 2011

Skopje, Macedonia – On December 5, 2011, Director Chris Deliso conducted a briefing with Ljubica Ruben, owner and managing partner at Mens Legis, a major legal firm in Skopje dealing primarily with providing legal services for large foreign investors and tender processes, at the headquarters of the firm in Skopje.

In the briefing, Dr Ruben provided background on the evolution of the legal reforms in Macedonia since the end of Communism, as well as some of the problems still to be resolved for the country’s legal system, and mentality problems affecting the legal and business communities such as fear of change and misperceptions of best interests.

In the briefing, Dr Ruben also discussed the business climate in Macedonia and its profile as an investment destination, noting that legal reforms are continuing and that foreign investors will find sufficient governmental support in their activities. However, she also noted that the country’s legal framework still suffers from an implementation gap and education levels need to be enhanced.

Further, Dr Ruben stressed that many Macedonian businesses tend to not take a proactive view regarding the retention of legal services, often only hiring them when a court case threatens. However, she emphasized that the legal strategy of Mens Legis is designed to keep businesses from ever having to finish in court, with a focus instead on good documentation, mediation and settlement- something particularly helpful as Macedonian courts, she noted, are still not operationally efficient.

Dr Ruben also recounted her personal experience and achievements in three decades in the law profession, a period which has coincided with Macedonia’s difficult transition from Yugoslav Communism to a free-market economy and democracy. Dr Ruben have background on the transition she has witnessed and helped guide, for example throught her establishment of a committee for lawyers’ training, and participation in numerous Western-backed programs, forums and conferences.

A related problem in Macedonia that still needs to be rectified, she noted, is the vulnerability of minority shareholders- something that is as much a mentality problem unique to Macedonia and other small countries, where businessmen sometimes wrongly assume that being a minority shareholder in one’s own company will automatically mean a loss of profit or control. Directly related to this mindset and its effect on shareholders, Dr Rubin noted the worrying decline of the number of companies being listed on the Skopje Stock Exchange.

Mens Legis is Macedonia’s first and most accomplished law firm, established in 1995 and dealing primarily with foreign investment, incorporation and acquisitions. Its fields of expertise include foreign direct investment and investment structures, mergers and acquisitions, legal due diligence, industrial property protection, public-private partnerships, infrastructure projects and real estate law.

Mens Legis uses a tailored approach to its individual clients to build successful long-term relationships, and has been actively involved in some of Macedonia’s largest public tenders, deals worth hundred millions of euros. In these transactions it has often partnered with leading international firms, such as Clifford Chance and Baker & MacKenzie. Some of the firms previous clients include Credit Suisse, Porsche, Bank of Scotland, Telekom Slovenia, KBR, Siemens,  McDonald’s and American Express. is an American research and analysis firm that provides dedicated coverage of the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean regions, in areas ranging from politics and security to economics and culture. It draws on the expertise of its broad network of field analysts and reporters representing a number of various countries and professional backgrounds.

Balkanalysis Briefings is a regular series in which correspondents of, sometimes in affiliation with partner organizations, engage with representatives of companies, governmental institutions, non-governmental groups and other organizations professionally involved with the Balkan and Mediterranean regions in order to gain insight into issues, trends and other factors affecting present and future developments in the area. This process contributes to better analytical and prognostic research, allowing to better serve its readers, while also providing Briefings partners an opportunity to make their products, services and goals better and more clearly known among those most actively involved with the region.

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