What’s in a Name? Synergies, Growth and Expectations

Interview

Márton Kovács, managing partner

HBK Partners became Moore Legal Kovács as of Dec. 1, 2021. The Budapest Business Journal asked Márton Kovács, managing partner of the firm, about the reasoning behind the change.

BBJ: Why did you decide to join Moore Hungary and continue as a member firm of the Moore Legal network after successfully working as an independent boutique firm?

Márton Kovács: As is often the case with such significant changes, joining a global brand was in line with our longer-term strategic goals, but luck was also involved. As a substantial portion of our work is primarily from M&A deals and capital market transactions, we have seen an increasing demand from our clients for a permanent team working closely with us to deal effectively with the financial and tax matters associated with these types of deals. My experience is that, especially in the private equity and venture capital segment, clients really appreciate and have almost come to expect a “one-stop shop” service. Meanwhile, as fate would have it, when we were still operating independently in 2021, we were involved in around 8-10 transactions together with Ákos Boross and his excellent team at Moore Hungary. We quickly developed a chemistry with them, as they are also a young and agile team with a strategic vision, so our joining forces almost seemed inevitable.

BBJ: What changes has the development brought to the day-to-day running of the law firm?

MK: I and some of my colleagues started our careers in Big Law in the mid-2000s, when, during the real estate and M&A boom, it was “raining work.” I, therefore, opened my firm straight after the bar exam. After more than 15 years of practicing law as an independent firm and gaining a wealth of experience and perspective that I believe can only be acquired through such an operation, I have now come to enjoy the benefits of a global brand. All the more so because the structure offered by Moore Global and Moore Legal gives us significantly more autonomy, and in some ways, demands it, than operating under a Big Four. I see my colleagues enjoying the change, too. We have retained our separate office location for the time being, but our medium-term plans include moving into a joint office with the financial team.

BBJ: Besides M&A, venture capital, and capital market transactions, where can you develop your synergies?

MK: I would definitely include advising on hotels, including development, financing, acquisition and operation. In 2007, I was involved in the purchase of the most extensive hotel portfolio at the time, and we have since been fortunate to receive a steady stream of assignments related to hotel law from both developers and financiers. Moore Global’s Hotel and Leisure global leader is Márton Takács from Moore Hungary, an incredible credit to them and an excellent opportunity for us. This synergy of competencies is almost unique in the Hungarian market.

BBJ: As managing partner of a law firm today, what do you consider your biggest challenge?

MK: Regardless of the industry or sector, it takes time for all managers to realize that the most important and most challenging task is to find and then keep the right people so that they feel their individual development is achievable within the firm. But as a lawyer and partner, you really have to make room for this. You can’t micro-manage a law firm forever, as a one-person army, and especially not to put it on a growth trajectory and keep it there. This task is not easy, but we are fortunate to have a generation of young lawyers who have grown up with us and with whom we plan to grow together, both professionally and personally, in the long term.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of June 3, 2022.

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