BLP muscles in on Moscow law market

BLP muscles in on Moscow law marketBerwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has opened a Moscow office, poaching around 70 lawyers from top Russian firm and Gazprom adviser Pepeliaev, Goltsblat & ­Partners (PGP).

The new office, called Goltsblat BLP, will be run by?former?PGP?joint ­managing partner Andrey Goltsblat and will add an estimated 10 per cent to BLP’s overall revenue.

BLP managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: “It’s a major step for us and a major step for that market. A major UK or US firm ­hasn’t combined with a Russian firm before.”

Together with the simultaneous launch of an Abu Dhabi office, the move signals a clear change to BLP’s international strategy.

“We began thinking a year ago that we need to think about high growth markets in a different way,” explained Eisenberg. “This increases our international exposure and gives us an enhanced presence where the preferred-firm strategy wasn’t delivering for us.”

Goltsblat,?who?has brought eight partners with him, said he intends to ­continue working with his former firm, despite having taken over a quarter of its fee-earners with him.

PGP?sole?managing ­partner Sergey Pepeliaev was defiant regarding the exodus, telling The Lawyer: “A large number left and of course it cannot be good for a company. Crisis is good in some ways – it’s an opportunity to make ­ourselves stronger.”

PGP continues its business activities with 150 lawyers and plans to make further hires from other international firms. It also works with at least 600 clients across a wide-range of practice areas.

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