Plans for network members to visit Estonia’s capital city Tallinn had to be put on hold following events in Ukraine, but local member NJORD Law Firm is promising an extra warm welcome when the visit goes ahead.
The firm was all set to showcase their home territory during the 2022 international meet for the Eurojuris practice groups. Now, the groups will be convening in Cologne, from 12 to 15 May 2022, but Tallinn hopes to roll out the red carpet the next time.
Estonia connects the dots between Scandinavia, central Europe and the post-soviet countries. Set on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, the country was annexed to the Soviet Union from 1940. Securing independence in 1991 and following the collapse of communist control, Estonia joined the European Union in 2004, together with its Baltic State neighbours, Latvia and Lithuania. In 2004 Estonia also became a full-fledged member of NATO.
While Estonia covers a land mass that is larger than the Netherlands or Belgium, including more than 2,000 islands, the population is only 1.3 million. With Russia on the eastern side and Latvia to the south, the country also shares a maritime border with Finland, with the cities of Tallinn and Helsinki separated by just 80 kilometres across the Gulf of Finland.
Castles, churches and hilltop fortresses dot the countryside, and Estonia's capital Tallinn is the best-preserved medieval city in northern Europe.
With 30 associates, Eurojuris member NJORD Law Firm is one of the larger law firms in Estonia, providing a full legal service to companies, ranging from initial set-up, through employment to M&A and competition law. Core areas are in banking and finance, with regulatory, real estate and dispute resolution high on the agenda. As well as serving Estonian-owned companies, the firm has a substantial market with international businesses. Many more are coming to the country: recent arrivals include the furniture giant IKEA and supermarket chain Lidl.
As one of the founding partners Veikko Toomere of NJORD Law Firm explained: “We have always tried to be innovative and look to make stronger connections with clients by being honest and straightforward, always putting their interests first.”
The firm aims to differentiate itself through innovation, as demonstrated by its prowess in the innovative tech sector. Virtual currency regulations and international coin offerings are world-class in Estonia, with Veikko explaining how the firm has become one of the foremost in this field, dealing with the demands of tech and fintech who look to Estonia because the country leads the way in developing this sector internationally.
Ground-breaking approaches to digital transformation have made Estonia one of the most advanced in terms of digital adoption, with paper-based court filings a distant memory, and digital ID’s enabling access to governmental services online through to enabling virtual notarial appointments.
Estonians are also noted for their language skills. Veikko himself speaks Estonian, English, Russian, German and Finnish, with other associates similarly multi-lingual, including French and Swedish.
Growing up when the country was part of the Soviet Union, Veikko’s first professional education was obtained at the Tallinn Marine School, where he trained as a ship’s engineer in a regime that included military training. He chose the maritime life to be able to see the world, an opportunity available to few people under Soviet rule, but after the break-up of the USSR, Veikko went to law school, graduating in 2001 and forming his own law firm, which later became NJORD Law Firm.
That same appetite to connect with the world is reflected in the development of cross-border relationships for NJORD Law Firm. As well as being part of Eurojuris, the firm has operated in an alliance since 2013.
Partners and associates from NJORD Law Firm are regular attendees at the Eurojuris events and find benefit in the sharing and learning that takes place in the network. Explained Veikko: “We value building connections and are always keen to form new partnerships. Becoming part of Eurojuris back in 2013 was a simple marketing decision: to be part of a global network of law firms with the opportunity for cross-border referrals. The congress and the practice days all help to support the goal of stronger connections.”
Said Olivier Vibert, Eurojuris president: “Tallinn is a very interesting city and Estonia is an advanced adopter of digital solutions. We were looking forward to learning more about the opportunities in the area from NJORD Law Firm, as hosts of the Eurojuris practice group event for 2022.
“Unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine raised concerns for some members in visiting the Baltic, so we have rescheduled this year’s practice group event to Cologne in Germany. It’s a great pity our network members will not have the opportunity to experience and learn about Estonia this time, but we will certainly be including a visit to Veikko and his team in the network’s future schedule.”
Good things come to those who wait, as the saying goes, and the message from Njord Law is ‘see you soon’ or, as they say in Estonian, ‘varsti näeme’.