Dateline: Tbilisi, Georgia
It’s been almost a decade since my first visit to Georgia. I quickly realized there was a lot of potential in such a business-friendly country, and I was eager to meet people to help me unlock it.
Today, I’m going to introduce you to my best contact at the law firm in Tbilisi that I personally use for my own business and real estate efforts in Georgia.
My First Day In Georgia
I arrived in Tbilisi via Istanbul and took a ramshackle taxi that seemed to defy the laws of physics by driving down the highway at such high speeds before delivering me to my hotel near the city’s Marjanishvili Square. (Taxis are much better now, with apps like Bolt and Yandex that eliminate the need to pay tourist pricing.)
The next day, I woke up early and literally started knocking on lawyers’ doors. The city center neighborhood I was staying in was largely Turkish-speaking, and most attorneys spoke only Georgian or Turkish. While Turks were early investors in Georgia for obvious geographic reasons, I don’t speak Turkish.
I finally came across an international law firm by mere chance. Their office security wouldn’t let me in, so I returned to my hotel and called them. The lawyer answered the phone and asked we set an appointment instantly.
Finding A Lawyer In Tbilisi
While having a good law firm in Tbilisi or any other emerging city is often the best starting point to making connections for business, investment, or real estate, finding a good lawyer in the emerging world – and especially in a small country like Georgia – often comes down to who you know, or simply knocking on doors.
In many more than a dozen years of exploring opportunities around the world, finding the best lawyer often comes down to a similar combination of cold calling and good luck.
While I would eventually work with several different attorneys for different projects, that Tbilisi law firm would go on to serve me for years. Along the way, I met a number of their young attorneys, and one, in particular, stood out as having boundless energy.
That young lawyer is Lika Tsintsabadze, and after years as an associate lawyer at that firm, she has branched out to start her own Tbilisi law firm called Nomos Georgia.
As far as I’m concerned, she’s one of the best lawyers in Georgia if you’re a foreign entrepreneur looking to get started in Georgia.
Best Lawyer In Tbilisi
I’ve seen a number of young lawyers in Georgia, and Lika was head and shoulders above the rest both in terms of energy and in terms of her high level of knowledge of the law. As odd as it sounds, many attorneys in a small city like Tbilisi still work under a sort of “good old boys” mentality and don’t stay up-to-date with changes in the law.
As Georgia becomes a more developed economy, the law is changing to reflect it. So although Georgia has far fewer silly laws than a country like the United States, lawyers still need to keep current, and Lika has done that very well. She not only serves several international companies in Georgia, she also had a government contract to educate villagers about their legal rights.
Lawyers in Georgia tend to focus on a broader range of services than lawyers in the west; you will find very few Tbilisi law firms that only practice family law, for example.
The focus of Lika’s firm is business and immigration law, which includes:
• Opening bank accounts at Georgian banks like TBC or Bank of Georgia (like any bank, it’s getting harder as a non-resident)
• Registering a company in Georgia
• Buying real estate in Georgia, including real estate contracts and title transfer
• Immigration, including temporary residence and permanent residence permits
• Registration for Georgia’s 0% and 1% tax incentives if you plan to move to Georgia
• Georgia citizenship by naturalization or marriage
• Business litigation services
• Family law, such as prenups and postnups
Basically, Lika’s firm offers a wide range of business, finance, and immigration law services targeted at foreigners.
If you’re a foreigner, you may not need one of the top lawyers in Georgia; retainers and hourly rates at both US-led firms and the largest Georgian law firms can match those of the United States.
As an entrepreneur myself, I often find those types of lawyers hard enough to understand, whereas someone like Lika understands your needs and gets to the point with no messing around.
Of course, I would always advise that you have a holistic view of what you want to accomplish before hiring a professional in one country.
That’s what Nomad Capitalist does, and you can learn more about our service here.
You should always understand all of your options around the world, as well as how to stay in compliance in your home country.
For example, Georgia is not a zero-tax country, so you’ll want a good reason to incorporate there rather than, say, a free zone in Dubai.
If you just want to open a bank account at TBC or buy an apartment, and you don’t need tax advice on how to handle that in your home country, Lika can help.
She has always done a good job for me, and she speaks with a good command of Georgian law.
She also works with local accountants who can help you maintain your company or pay the (very minimal) real estate taxes if you buy a property in Tbilisi.
If you’d like to work with Lika, you can learn more and contact her at Nomos Georgia.
Disclaimer: Nomad Capitalist offers a limited number of referrals such as this to the public. While such referrals are made with the good faith belief that the lawyer’s services are of good quality and that they’ve worked for us, we do not accept any liability for the services you receive.