ALLEN & Overy partner Stephen Denyer has moved from his London base to head the firm's Central and Eastern European practice in Warsaw.
Denyer, who has controlled the practice from the UK for the past five years, officially takes over in Poland next month. Graham Donnell is returning from Warsaw to rejoin the London corporate department.
Co-chair of the International Bar Association's Eastern European Forum, Denyer says the decision to move came because the firm's Polish practice has grown "steadily" in recent years to become the firm's second largest foreign practice after Hong Kong.
He says a recent Ernst & Young survey of the 27 countries in Central and Eastern Europe rated Poland as number one across a range of factors including political stability and quality of the workforce, and the growing business focus in the country has increased demand for legal advice.
"The whole area is a growing one, without any shadow of a doubt," says Denyer. "We started off in Warsaw with one resident lawyer and we now have 14 lawyers here - three English and 11 Polish."
"That's entirely driven by client demand because there is a tremendous amount of work in Poland. It's a country that has got a tremendous amount going for it.
"There are now much more sophisticated legal transactions being done in places like Poland. We're seeing more and more really big work that capitalises on our great international strengths, such as project financing and capital market transactions."
Denyer will retain an office in London, but says he is uncertain exactly how much of his time will be spent in the UK.
"It will vary depending on what's going on," he says. "I will continue to spend a certain amount of time in London, and I will keep up with my general responsibilities as well, but from a Warsaw base."
* Allen & Overy's Russian law specialist Doran Doeh has left London to work full-time in the firm's Moscow-based office.
Doeh has been working on the firm's Russian portfolio since the inception of its Central and Eastern European practice five years ago.
Staff in Moscow will move to new premises in the first half of 1995, and the firm is recruiting additional lawyers to join the three-member team. A trainee will also be sent to the office.