GEO

Our practice areas

Georgia is not a beginner in franchising: a variety of major brands, almost all American or European, are already present in the country, and the local franchisor market is gradually beginning to develop. Despite its small size, Georgia offers international brands a sound overall business environment as well as flexible franchisor-friendly legislation to structure their deals, and international brands have good opportunities to expand their business in a less competitive but growing economy. MKD Law advises clients on the most efficient and profitable path to growth—be it through franchising, distribution or other forms of trade. We understand the industry and its diverse legal needs. Our lawyers have extensive experience in all aspects of franchising and related distribution models across a broad spectrum of industry sectors—restaurants, fitness, retail, services, hospitality, entertainment, education, technology, etc.—and can help our clients to manage and mitigate all the risks that arise during partner selection, the enforcement of quality standards and legal and regulatory compliance.
MKD Law has been very active in the fields of competition law and personal data protection. Our experts have devised competition compliance programmes for major manufacturers, cleared the cross-border mergers of multinational corporations and advised a wide range of clients on competition law and practice. We are proud of our experts, trained in both law and economics, and the novelty and complexity of economic analysis in the field are no challenge for us. Our excellent understanding of intricate business processes at both the strategic and the operational level enables us to tailor our advice to the precise needs of our clients and to come up with original solutions. Likewise, our firm has also been actively advising on personal data protection issues since Georgia adopted legislation in 2012. We have authored privacy policies, cleared cross-border data transfers and advised local and foreign clients on best practices for personal data protection. In a world in which ‘data is the new oil’ and in which protecting people’s privacy has become of paramount importance, MKD is at the forefront, giving the most up-to-date advice, closely tracking developments in the field and maintaining close contacts with regulators.
MKD Law has one of Georgia’s strongest track records of supporting major transactions and large-scale projects in real estate and construction. We combine extensive expertise and experience in this field with a deep insight into the Georgian real estate market and local legislation and regulations. Our lawyers can help clients to design legal and tax structures for real estate transactions and state registration, and can also provide legal advice when negotiating and entering into transactions (e.g. sale and purchase, assignment and lease of buildings or sites, premises and land plots) as well as pledges and other collateral arrangements. MKD Law has handled a large number of real estate projects and has supported the construction of a range of large sites, including production plants, sports venues, commercial real estate (business centres, shopping malls, hotels, warehouses, etc.) and residential real estate. We also advise architects and engineering and construction companies on all aspects of project delivery, from public tenders to preparing and negotiating construction contracts (including under FIDIC or World Bank terms, etc.). The wide range of legal services we offer for development projects includes carrying out legal due diligence in order to identify and minimize risks for our clients; this includes an analysis of rights to real estate and property operation and management, as well as ways of participating in projects proposed by contractors. MKD Law advises clients on all project stages, from the preparation of letters of intent to the registration of rights to real estate and determining how it should be managed. We can also help to resolve difficult real estate and construction-related issues and, if necessary, represent our clients in court.
MKD Law has an impressive experience of court cases and arbitration. Since our firm was established 24 years ago, we have represented clients during over 3,000 court cases involving a total of around 1.5 billion dollars. As a result of their work during several important disputes, the firm’s lawyers have even contributed to the adoption of various court practices.   The team consists of eight practicing lawyers, of whom six have over 10 years of experience and whose fields of expertise include civil as well as criminal and administrative law, including taxation disputes.  It is noteworthy that MKD has taken part, in different roles, in every dispute and arbitration against Georgia at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and other ad hoc courts. The members of the firm’s team also ensure the notification and execution of foreign court rulings or arbitrations in Georgia.  MKD’s lawyers also contribute to various journals and publications, and have authored many articles on bail, important disputes and issues concerning court practices and legal developments.  
Since the adoption of various amendments to Georgia’s Labour Code in 2013, the number of labour disputes has increased along with the need to regulate working relations between parties with greater quality and qualifications. The team at MKD Law was involved in preparing and discussing various amendments to the Labour Code that have been adopted over time. Their extensive experience of court proceedings enables the firm’s lawyers to reliably predict future court interpretations of norms regulating relations between parties during potential disputes. The firm also has experience of pleading in favour of both employers as well as employees.   As for Georgia’s immigration legislation, three members of the team are dedicated to this particular issue and have for years been carefully following legal developments in this field as well as any practical challenges or difficulties. Besides preparing and filing visa and citizenship applications, the team is very often called upon to help clients apply for temporary residence permits on different grounds, and has indeed helped them to obtain around 150 residence permits over the past seven years — a 97% success rate.    
Increased competition and a new wave of regulations have made the macro-environment more challenging, requiring actors in the banking and finance sector to reassess their balance sheets and compliance mechanisms and respond to the increasingly active engagement of non-banking institutions and business funding platforms. In turn, this is increasing the need for complex domestic legal issues to be handled responsively, particularly where they intersect with international norms and practices. Our experience of acting on behalf of both arrangers and lenders as well as credit enhancers and borrowers in a variety of industries and sectors gives our firm the cutting edge we need to anticipate and meet the expectations of all parties during transactions. Our lawyers’ expertise is recognized by international directories and ranking publications and our firm is at the forefront of major acquisitions and reorganizations for the local banking industry, advising leading global companies and major domestic finance organizations. We are also especially proud to have taken part in many important project finance deals, helping major international and private finance institutions to define legal environments and guiding practices. The aggregate value of the project finance transactions we have advised upon and supported exceeds USD 15 billion, ranging from oil and gas to utilities and infrastructure deals. Our unrivalled combination of legal expertise with pragmatic business-driven advice singles us out when it comes to complex and innovative banking and project finance mandates.
The saturation and excessive red tape of developed markets is driving actors towards developing ones that offer new opportunities and fairly good margins. Compounded by the EU’s growing geopolitical uncertainties, the promise of exploring and entering ‘new markets’ in terms of revenue has become a solid reality. Our firm has played an active part in the creation and growth of a Georgian capital market by assisting a number of IFIs and other actors with a variety of depositary receipts and public and private placements of debt securities—including the first to be issued in the local currency, which required a great deal of original creative thinking. Subsequently, a major reform of the regulatory framework and the introduction of complex but untested technologies have posed new challenges for international household names wishing to make deals in a smooth and timely manner. With a solid understanding of domestic securitization and structured finance, we are continuing to assist with new products, be they derivative or other kinds of product. In future, the capital markets sector will of course continue to change, and our team will just as certainly continue to help clients navigate through its ups and downs. Professionally speaking, this path promises to be captivating, as the approximation of local standards with international ones will require new insights and specializations that will complement and augment the truly unparalleled experience and knowledge of capital markets that our firm shares with industry actors.
Whether you are seeking qualified advice on environmental or compliance issues for your commercial transaction, are facing potential environmental litigation or need to obtain development permits for a particular project, the MKD Law team is ready to help you with every aspect of environmental and natural resources legislation and regulations, drawing on our extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the industry you operate in: transportation, real estate, infrastructure projects, energy or manufacturing, to name a few. Our expertise has benefited many major projects, ensuring regulatory compliance in this area of law. We take pride in navigating our clients through the peculiarities of the environmental/natural resource regulatory framework, whose provisions are constantly evolving. By virtue of becoming a party to the Paris Agreement back in 2017, Georgia is expected to gradually implement its NDC obligations by taking measures to adapt existing market mechanisms in order to promote sustainable economic growth, increase the share of renewables in total energy consumption, and reduce the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels in favour of indigenous sources of energy. In addition to our ability to guide our clients through new regulations on a day-to-day ‘business as usual’ basis, we can also analyse and audit their compliance with environmental regulations and legislation as well as their adherence to and implementation of ESG principles thanks to our expert team of banking and finance lawyers, advising on all matters related to green finance.
The IP practice group’s structure puts MKD Law in a unique position to develop and implement top-quality IP strategies across the region and facilitates the cross-border enforcement of IP rights. MKD Law has long-standing experience in matters concerning trademarks, designs, patents, copyright, database rights, related rights and unfair competition. The firm’s partners frequently represent parties in ground-breaking court cases in national courts, and the IP team is also active in combating product and software piracy, including customs seizures. The practice group offers an integral service on contentious and transactional IP, IT and internet-related issues tailored to our clients’ needs, and advises on M&A transactions with an IP or IT focus, including IP audits and due diligence. Our IP team pays particular attention to avoiding costly disputes and achieving favourable commercial outcomes. MKD Law’s expertise spans a range of industry sectors, including food & beverages, clothing, healthcare, technology and consumer products.
MKD’s lawyers include specialists in bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency matters for legal entities in various fields of business. Our team has far-reaching expertise in high-profile cases that often involve an international element (e.g. a debtor’s overseas assets), and we also have considerable experience of working on a variety of complex restructuring and bankruptcy projects as well as separate cases to prevent assets from being stripped as well as challenging debtors’ transactions. We routinely provide clients with analyses of bankruptcy-related risks for specific transactions involving insolvent companies as well as advice on the best way for companies to overcome financial difficulties (e.g. via restructuring and rehabilitation).
The MKD Law tax team have the necessary experience to advise and represent a diverse client base during the resolution of challenging tax and customs issues—but instead of merely providing legal ‘technical assistance’, we aim to identify holistic, proactive and results-driven solutions that will enable our clients to accomplish real goals. This expertise is even more important when facing the legal and commercial uncertainties and local and cross-border issues that clients typically encounter when structuring transactions, negotiating terms, clearing regulatory hurdles or seeking to minimize transactional risks in complex situations. When working to find the right approach, we work closely with in-house counsel and their teams to work out innovative solutions, and we always value our clients’ relationships with co-advisors and experts, working closely with them to define cohesive positions. Besides the transactional side of our work, we also represent clients during administrative procedures or even litigation, always mindful of the time, cost and reputational risks the latter involves. Finally, our tax and customs specialists also draw on their experience in government and enjoy strong working relationships with tax and customs authorities, helping clients to resolve issues efficiently.      
Having already spent twenty years at the forefront of Georgia’s Corporate and M&A scene, we have accumulated a great deal of experience in the field by learning from the best—our clients, who have entrusted us with some of the most important cross-border M&A and corporate deals in Georgian jurisdiction. Alongside the streamlined solutions that we offer for setting up a corporate presence, designing capital-raising transactions, private equity, spin-offs and other forms of restructuring, we also take pride in our expertise in corporate governance, CSR issues and derivative litigation as well as our readiness to face newly emerging challenges by ensuring, together with our clients, smooth transitions according to the emergency laws affecting their daily operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. The close co-operation between our Corporate and M&A team and our other teams enables us to perform complex, multidimensional analyses of the corporate tasks that our clients require: whether designing strategic transactions or planning day-to-day business, we work hard to offer our clients reliable and innovative legal solutions tailored to their specific needs.

Our team

Other team members

Archil Kbilashvili

Senior Partner

Victor Kipiani

Senior Partner

David Dzidziguri

Senior Partner

Mariam Antia

Partner

Mikheil Gogeshvili

Partner

David Metskhovrishvili

Partner

Sandro Samadbegishvili

Partner

David Archvadze

Associate

Natalia Babakishvili

Associate

Andro Kiknavelidze

Associate

Paata Kiknavelidze

Associate

Ekaterine Kokichaishvili

Associate

Baqar Palavandishvili

Associate

Ani Nanobashvili

Junior Associate

Mariam Karseladze

Junior Associate

Koba Bobokhidze

Counsel

Vakhtang Shevardnadze

Counsel

News

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