"BEING A LAWYER IS NOT ENOUGH. You have to share same commercial approach as the client. You have to tailor the advice to achieve the result designated by the client. The best advice to client is the one that, before things happen, identifies existing legal risks that might have commercial effect. That is what client needs."
"PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, we believe, are the foundation of sound legal counsel. The essence of legal representation is more about personal communication, and nothing can replace the commitment of skilled attorneys willing to give whatever it takes to understand and fulfill your needs as our client."
"YOU HELP SHAPE THE RELATIONSHIP you need with our firm. If yours is an entrepreneurial company, we can work with you much like an in-house counsel might; if you are a bigger organization or a corporate legal department, you may want a traditional corporate attorney/client relationship. You’ll find we mesh our style with yours — not the other way around. "
After almost a decade of representing the clients, as a partner of a leading international law firm, in the most complex commercial transactions on Serbian market, Relja Zdravković decided in 2013. to establish an independent practice under the name of Zdravković & Partneri ("ZiP").
ZiP is a full service commercial law firm dedicated to its clients and to excellence in providing legal services.
ZiP was established by grouping of a number of dedicated lawyers with extensive experience around the cornerstones of ZiP's Philosophy: close communication with the client is of essence for understanding
client's business needs / being a lawyer is not enough for business oriented legal service / aligning the legal advice with client's business approach is crucial.
Being a lawyer
is not enough
When a client starts developing its business idea, one of the first things to be decided upon, is the way in which his idea will be financed. Although deciding on the best financing solution is not in lawyer's primary scope of activities, the legal effects that such decision will have on business require lawyers to get involved in this early stage of business deciding cycle.
While supporting its clients in financing issues, ZiP is using its understanding of the Serbian finance market and extensive knowledge of regulatory requirements in both banking and private financing activities to tailor the advice and transform the clients' commercial goals into enforceable contractual framework.
ZiP has advised its clients, being on side of lenders or borrowers, in almost all phases of financing cycle, from initial selection of preferred legal strategy to eventual support in enforcement of claims.
ZiP has advised clients on restructuring of their financial relations in different phases of maturity of debt.
ZiP has been mandated by its clients to design, implement and enforce different types of changes in their financing relations by use of simple institutes such as assignments of the claims, takeover of debt, accession to debt, set-offs as well as by use of sophisticated and unique models using several institutes in one transaction.
ZiP has advised and supported clients - both debtors and creditors - on all aspects regarding distressed transactions.
ZIP has provided services to its clients in respect to several syndicated loan facilities in Serbia.
In recent years competition issues started to play important business role on Serbian market as well as on markets of neighboring countries. When rendering its service, ZiP closely cooperates with its clients in relation to planned business development with an aim to avoid such development leading itself to infringement of competition rules. Such way of providing services proved to be crucial in preventing unnecessary costs to the clients. This field requires synergy of the client's knowledge of the market and lawyer's knowledge of developments in competition practice both in Serbia and in EU
ZiP has provided legal advices regarding all aspects of competition regulatory framework in Serbia and Montenegro and keeps good professional cooperation with the market regulator.
ZiP has counseled clients on complex competition issues including multijurisdictional competition aspects of transactions.
ZiP represents clients in front of competition authorities and courts in Serbia and Montenegro in relation to all competition aspects (merger clearance, abuses of dominant position and exemptions of restrictive agreements, unfair competition and unfair trade practices, etc.)
ZiP has also counseled clients on competition risk minimization and litigation avoidance.
It is known that in most of M&A transactions the question is not if issues will be found or not, but to find solution and to see the closing with all future effects known before signing. When dealing with corporate and M&A issues, ZiP is combining expert understanding of corporate law with sector specific legal requirements and contractual experience. This enables ZiP to advise clients on mitigating respective risks successfully and to drive a deal to a conclusion. ZiP's involvement in solving complicated corporate governance issues in the past created an opportunity to have experience which is enabling to pinpoint and resolve potential corporate issues before they arise.
ZiP has extensive M&A experience across a wide range of industries in Balkan region (Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina) including but not limited to media, energy, telecommunications, physical and technical security, banking, insurance, food and beverages, agriculture, oil and gas, real estate, automotive, etc.
Experience in preparing both thorough and red flag legal due diligences enables ZiP to provide business oriented reports with identification of the risks the future business might have to the client, with a clear recommendation of practical solutions to risks identified.
ZiP has supported and advised clients, inter alia, in all types of domestic and cross-border complex M&A transactions, share and asset purchases, privatizations, spin-offs, restructurings and acquisitions out of bankruptcy, call and put options and joint ventures.
ZiP has assisted clients with their greenfield investments, from establishment of a subsidiary to day to day operations.
ZiP has assisted clients with the negotiation and drafting of joint venture arrangements of different kinds, as well as on day to day issues arising from implementation of joint ventures. Special attention is being brought to the clients in relation to the future issues that might arise, such as introducing business acceptable models of preventing the deadlocks or finding and putting into life of the commercial oriented solutions of the business issues that the partners in joint venture might have.
ZiP has assisted clients with corporate reorganizations such as status changes and changes of legal form and also alerted clients and assisted them regarding harmonization with new laws and regulations.
ZiP has supported clients in all aspect of securities market regulations including implementation of takeover procedures of listed companies, capital increases and decreases, squeeze out and delisting of companies from the regulated market.
ZiP has advised its clients on particularly complex domestic and cross-border restructurings including spin-offs and other methods of restructuring the ownership of business operations.
ZiP has assisted and supported clients during the liquidation proceedings, including identification of potential backlogs such as potential disputes, employee termination in close cooperation with tax advisors in order to identify potential tax issues, all with the aim of ensuring that the liquidation proceedings run smoothly once initiated.
Although no business needs a dispute, it seems unavoidable in certain cases. On one side, whenever rendering its advice, ZiP is using both general experience and its own experience to try to red flag positions where commercial arrangement might turn to be misunderstanding. On the other side, when it comes to dispute, ZiP always strives to peacefully settle clients' disputes using its best efforts in handling both clients and opponent's interests with a main aim to find a balance of costs and benefits to ZiP's client.
ZiP has in the past supported its clients in all pre dispute activities. Whenever it was possible, such negotiations lead to friendly conclusions and to future relaxed cooperation with ex opponents.
ZiP has extensive experience dealing with complex and sensitive litigation involving all areas of commercial law, administrative law, intellectual property, international trade and commerce, real estate, regulatory and labour.
Each business requires a work force. The development in some of the industries is maybe decreasing a number of people required, but it’s a general rule that employment and management agreements turn to be more and more important for business. It is extremely important to understand clients business on terrain and to use such information when designing proper legal framework for all people that will be involved in creating the income for the client. ZiP counseled its clients on various employment issues that potentially could impact future success of clients' business operations. Our experience in employment matters spans a wide range of industries in Serbia and Montenegro including media, energy, cable and wiring, physical and technical security, insurance, food and beverages, agriculture, oil and gas, etc.
ZiP has provided counsel to a wide range of employers (from multi-national companies with thousands of employees to companies with relatively few employees) and employees.
ZiP advised and supported clients during negotiations of the collective bargaining agreements – from selection of a bargaining strategy and identification of employer's goals to the final signing of collective bargaining agreements that mostly fits the employer's interests.
Internal regulations are crucial part of the employment policy and can serve as employer's best defense in employment law disputes, therefore it is necessary to be done properly. ZiP has assisted employers in drafting working rulebooks, work discipline rulebooks and other company's internal regulations related to work and work organization and ensured that all clients' internal regulations fit clients business' needs.
ZiP has extensive experience in drafting the employment agreements with employees (including the management), which include critical and sensitive clauses regarding the salaries payment issues, profit sharing, unfair competition, confidentiality, rescheduling of working hours and all other types of employment related agreements.
ZiP has advised and supported clients on all types of employment termination (e.g. mutual termination, dismissal due to breach of work obligations, dismissal for violation of work discipline, redundancy dismissal, etc.) and ensured that such employment terminations lead to the risk minimization and litigation avoidance.
ZiP has also advised clients how to safeguard proprietary information and protect trade secrets and intellectual property rights and advised clients on unfair competition issues, as well as preparation of a tailor made non-competition clauses aimed to provide the best protection to the employers' interests.
ZiP has counseled clients on all employment-related aspects of spin-offs and M&A - prior to the acquisition of an existing business, as well as advised and supported on prospective legal obligations under existing collective bargaining agreements, potential or existing employee lawsuits and post-acquisition integrations.
ZiP has represented employers in litigation regarding the employee claims, non-compete agreements, trade secret claims, unfair competition matters and mobbing.
ZiP has also assisted employers in responding to government investigations and offence proceedings.
Knowledge and ideas are getting more important in generating income. It is not only important if you have it or not, it is also important if you safeguard it in legally enforceable manner. ZiP is using its legal knowledge, experience and know-how to safeguard client's knowledge, experience and know-how up to the highest legally allowed level.
ZiP has counseled clients on all aspects of regulation and protection of all types of IP rights including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and is particularly focused on enforceable protection.
ZiP has advised clients with all aspects of trademark protection including protection from counterfeiting infringement and unfair competition. ZiP has also protected its client's interests regarding trademark protection in front of all relevant government authorities and courts.
ZiP has provided its clients with business oriented legal advices on all aspects of copyrights and regulation of copyrights in Serbia, including, developing legal methods for optimal securing and protecting of copyrights and developing scenarios for defending client's copyrights in front of the relevant courts in Serbia.
ZiP has provided clients with clear cut and sophisticated legal solutions regarding software development whether clients are developers, owners, licensor or licensees of software including advising clients through whole IP business cycle (e.g. potential licensing in and licensing out the software). While advising, ZiP has provided software developers, owners, licensor or licensees with business-oriented and strategic legal advises on securing core IP assets and protecting them from infringement and unfair competition.
Insolvency - unwelcome but sometimes unavoidable situation, especially on markets where liquidity problems are arising. It is a complication both for the owner of the insolvent business and for creditors of such business. This is why ZiP is supporting its clients, whenever possible, on designing the structures which lead to avoiding negative impact of insolvency. On the other side, when it happens, it is crucial to have swift plan of legal actions to be undertaken to protect the interest of the client.
ZIP has developed its practice dealing with most complicated and demanding insolvency and reorganization procedures.
ZiP has advised its clients on settlement of their claims against bankruptcy estate.
ZIP has represented clients in various bankruptcy proceedings taking part in the creditors' board and in front of courts dealing with insolvency matters.
Each day the development of life standards is increasing the need for public services and goods and the revenue being generated from "public tasks" is increasing. On the other side lack of sound financing on side of public sector and increased social pressure for providing certain public services and goods is making involvement of the private sector required (from the aspect of public sector) and beneficial (from the aspect of the private sector). When advising its clients in PPP's (being on side of public or private sector) ZiP is devoted to try to prepare easy to understand legal structure which will lead to commercial win-win situation.
ZiP has supported some of municipalities in Serbia in finding best suitable legal framework which will lead to implementation of the PPP projects always underlining a need for equal division of the risks with a main aim to see the project functioning in the future.
ZiP was a pioneer in practical implementation of the legally admissible models of cooperation of the municipalities and the private business and has advised its clients in such projects from the preparation phases, negotiations with respective authorities and day to day implementation of the projects.
ZiP has advised the Republic of Serbia in negotiation and drafting of the first concession agreements according to the 2003 Concession Act in mining industries.
ZiP has provided clients with overview of regulatory requirements and potential legal risks arising from regulatory violations in due diligence exercises.
ZiP has represented and supported clients in their dealings with relevant financial and insurance supervisory authorities in regard to their fulfillment of all relevant regulations crucial for providing of their services in respective industries.
ZiP has counseled clients on creating and developing new products in insurance and financial services sectors always taking into account and clearly identifying potential legal and regulatory hurdles and provided legal advice in mitigating these risks while enabling its clients to pursue their business goals.
ZiP has provided advice to clients regarding preparing, gathering information and documents, submitting requests for various types of necessary approvals in various financial institutions including but not limited to insurance companies, companies managing voluntary pension funds and other financial institutions.
ZiP has also provided advice to clients in assessing whether transaction in other countries and cross border transactions trigger any requirements in Serbia and provided support in obtaining all necessary approvals if they do.
ZiP has counseled clients in the highly sensitive area of data gathering and data processing in order to fulfill all necessary and relevant conditions for lawful gathering and processing of data.
It is hard to find an industry that is not regulated in one way or another. It is fair to say that sometimes business is more focused on satisfying legal requirements than on achieving higher standards in business. This is why business oriented legal advice has to take the burden off legal requirements and leave a room for the management to have open field for development. ZiP provided comprehensive counsel to clients in a wide area of regulatory matters such as financial industry, insurance industry, agricultural industry, physical and technical security regulations, environmental and waste management regulations, whereas such advice enabled to the clients to keep up with all regulatory compliance requirements without unnecessary use of the management's time.
Once a client develops idea and gathers financing, real estate projects, from legal prospective, look easy. However and unfortunately, they are not, especially on the market which has a lot of local specific red flags to know in advance. ZiP is using its understanding of legal developments and practices to try to exclude any legally driven negative impact on the project. It is always better to know the risks in advanced and ZiP therefore gives a special attention to initial investigation of the legal situation. Even when there is no solution for exclusion of the risk, ZiP is supporting client to determine the value of such risk and to reserve it in the budget for the project.
ZiP has counseled and supported clients in all steps of real estate business cycle (from structuring large and complex real estate projects, through development and ultimate disposition of real estate).
ZiP undertook research over locations available for the real estate project pursuant to the needs of the client, providing necessary information in respect to the prospective real estate project, contact and interviews with potential purchasers/sellers on project matters.
ZiP has performed legal due diligence over status of real estate as a pre investment activity, indicating the potential risks and exposures related to the real estate project and recommending the solutions and actions by which each indicated risk would be mitigated or minimized in accordance with the clients business' needs.
ZiP has represented clients in other real estate related administrative procedures, undertook the procedure of legalization of real estate constructed without all necessary permits, and advised in relation to the procedure for restitution of (reparation for) confiscated, expropriated and nationalized real estate to the clients being initial owners (or their inheritors).
ZiP has advised and represented lessors and lessees on all aspects of lease transactions and has advised clients in relation to collaterals on the real estate.
Banking and finance
Corporate / M&A / Securities Market
Dispute Resolution / Litigation
Public Private Partnerships
Relja Zdravković is an attorney at law and he specialises in corporate, M&A, dispute resolution/litigation and regulatory (including, e.g. insurance, gaming industry and PPPs) and has more than seventeen years of experience. In addition to those areas, he also advises clients in related fields such as competition, securities markets (including takeovers of public companies) and other fields.
Relja received the initial practical training in Serbian court where he acquired knowledge of the procedures within Serbian courts and initial knowledge of practicing law. Relja also worked with the Serbian Ministry of International Economic Relations as legal advisor to the Minister. He was, among other projects, involved in drafting several laws focusing on the reform of economic legislation and harmonising the regulations of the Republic of Serbia with a market oriented economy, most notably the Law on Concessions, the Law on Financial Leasing as well as the Law on Registered Charges on Movable Assets. While working with the Ministry, Relja was also a member of the group that was working on the transfer of the Companies' Register from the court to the Serbian Business Registers Agency. Since 2004, Relja deals exclusively as an attorney at law. Relja holds the bachelor degree from the University of Belgrade since 1999 and he was admitted to the Bar Association of Belgrade as an attorney at law in 2004. Relja is fluent in English and Serbian.
In previous period, Relja's mandates included advising a number of clients, including: Securitas, WAZ, OMV, ROFIX, UNIQA, Brantner, Jugoslovenska Knjiga, Unipol Gruppo, RAUCH, Austrian Tabak, Leoni, Vienna Insurance Group, Novomatic, AGRANA, Sinalco, Werhahn, Hypo Alpe Adria Group, Peek & Cloppenburg, Pinkerton, SIEMENS, Government of Republic of Serbia (Ministry of Mining), ATE Bank, DDOR Novi Sad, PETROM, BOSH, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationle Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and other clients in relation to their respective business activities.
Ana Arambašić is an attorney at law with ZiP where she specialises in corporate, employment and dispute resolution/litigation (including insurance) and she has more than seven years of professional experience. Ana joined Relja's team as of 2010, while Relja cooperated with Schoenherr. Ana holds the bachelor degree from the University of Belgrade since 2009 and she was admitted to the Bar Association of Belgrade as an attorney at law in 2012. Ana is fluent in English and Serbian.
In previous period, Ana's mandates included advising a number of clients, including: Securitas, WAZ, OMV, UNIQA, Leoni, Vienna Insurance Group, AGRANA, Werhahn, DDOR Novi Sad, NCR, PETROM and other clients in relation to their respective business activities.
Nemanja Ristić is an Office Manager with ZiP. Nemanja has more than 9 years of professional experience in General and Office Administration, providing a full range of administrative services (including tasks related to HR, finance, translations, logistics and archival processing). Nemanja first gained his professional experience as a Consular Officer in one of EU country's diplomatic mission in Serbia. Nemanja holds a Master's degree from Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. He is fluent in Dutch, English and Serbian.
Marko Bekčić joined ZIP in September 2016 as a legal trainee. Marko holds the bachelor degree from the Faculty of Law at University of Belgrade since 2016 and is currently attending master academic studies of company law at the same faculty. He is one of the founders of the United Nations Club at the Faculty of Law at University of Belgrade. Marko is admitted to the Bar Association of Belgrade as a legal trainee in 2016. He is fluent in English and Serbian.
Ivana Ilić joined ZIP in September 2016 as a legal trainee. Before joining ZiP, she worked at Vuković and Partners Law Office, predominately engaging in commercial law. She holds bachelor degree from the Faculty of Law at University of Belgrade since 2014, and is currently attending master academic studies at the same faculty, Department for Labor and Social Law. Ivana is admitted to the Bar Association of Belgrade as a legal trainee in 2015. She is fluent in English and Serbian.
Mihailo Marković joined ZIP in November 2017 as a legal trainee. Mihailo holds the bachelor degree from the Faculty of Law at University of Belgrade since 2017. During his studies Mihailo participated in a vast number of international conferences in the field of international law. Likewise, he has received an award for winning first place in European Court of Human Rights simulation. He is currently attending master academic studies of international business law at the same faculty. He is fluent in Serbian and English.
Anja Batrićević joined ZIP team as paralegal in November of 2017. Previosly she gradueted from Law faculty of Novi Sad, University of Novi Sad in September 2017 as one of the most successful students of generation 2013. Her high GPS was recognised and awarded by University of Novi Sad. During her studies she was also a member of the Law faculty of Novi Sad team on regional Moot Court (Human Rigths) competition in April of 2017. Futhermore during her studies she was hired by Elsa Serbia to particapate and work on the development of the project called " Harmonisation of the EU law with Serbian law". Currently she is finishing her Master studies of Law faculty, University of Novi Sad. She is fluent in English and Serbian.
Being a lawyer
is not enough
SRB - 11000 Belgrade
T: +381 11 78 53 822
F: +381 11 78 53 812