Austria: Cautious optimism
Austria's leading firms have shown considerable verve and enterprise, building a formidable presence in Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Wolf Theiss has offices as far flung as Tirana and Bratislava, while close rivals Schonherr has ventured as far as Kiev. The benefits reaped from this expansion have been self-evident, both in terms of the revenue generated by major transactions and the considerable regional profile that Austrian firms have built. But with Eastern Europe appearing increasingly vulnerable to the effects of the global economic slowdown, some are questioning whether outpost offices are in danger of becoming a liability. "It will be interesting to see how the situation in Central and Eastern Europe impacts upon the Austrian market," says Binder Grosswang's managing partner, Raoul Hoffer. "At the moment no firms are withdrawing, but I think it may happen. There is an issue with the massive expansion some firms have undertaken into the region".
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