Camerons goes East

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Camerons goes East

It was a year of eastern promise for CMS Cameron McKenna. The firm made up the bulk of new partners in the burgeoning Central and Eastern European practice – with six promotions out of a total of 11 falling within the region.

Moscow, Bucharest, Warsaw and Prague all saw promotions, leaving the London office in their wake. The firm’s City headquarters managed just four new partners, down from seven last year.

After failing to unite the European alliance firms under the banner of CMS, it must be gratifying to have such an integrated CEE practice.

The region accounted for nearly a quarter of Camerons’ £197m turnover last year, and has seen revenue triple under the leadership of Duncan Weston.

Weston takes over from Dick Tyler as firmwide managing partner in May, so it was no surprise to see CEE associates leading the way in the promotions round.

The firm may have lost four senior Moscow lawyers to Clifford Chance but it punches well above its weight in the region, as evidenced by the fact that it was the first City firm to launch in Ukraine. Swiftly followed by Clifford Chance, of course.

While the Eastern focus was to be expected, the decision to make up three real estate partners was something of a surprise given the state of the UK property market.
However only one, Adrian Wright in Bristol, will be based in the UK. And as managing partner Dick Tyler admits, they haven’t promoted anyone in real estate for several years so it was probably about time. The other two partners consolidate Camerons’ real estate strength in Poland and the Czech Republic. Tomasz Kurek bolsters the Warsaw practice and Iveta Placha, the only woman on the list, will be based in Prague.

Interestingly, the promotion of Omar Qureshi to the London litigation group was the first in litigation for at least four years.

The corporate department fared slightly worse than last year, with two making the grade: David Cranfield in Moscow and John Fitzpatrick in Bucharest. But with five of seven lateral hires between 2005 and 2007 taking place within corporate, this seems unlikely to signal move away from the practice.

As was the case last year, all the new partners join the non-equity tier established early in 2007. But rather than being a pure salaried position, the new tier features a bonus of up to a third of salary based on firm profits. After three years at this level, they will finally have the opportunity to join the equity.

Partnership prospects
Eastern Europe – scorchio!
Real estate – sunny
Corporate – overcast
Litigation – fair

Previous Partnership 2008 blogs.

Slaughter and May: ladies, long hours and longevity – Thursday, April 10th
Russell Jones & Walker: More to the core – Tuesday, April 8th
A&O in the Middle East: one new partner, back-up on the way – Monday, April 7th
Clifford Chance: Popham puts his money where his mouth isMonday, April 7th
Nabarro, Hunton & HosseiniFriday, April 4th
Addleshaws: managing associatesFriday, April 4th
Nabarro promotions down (under) Thursday, April 3rd
Hunton & Williams: The London eye Thursday, April 3rd
The corporate partnership: Superwomen only?Wednesday, April 2nd
Ashurst promotions: expectation management Wednesday, April 2nd
Pinsents’ Leeds’ ladies take the lead Monday, March 31st
Herbies…continued… Thursday, March 27th
Herbies shakes things upThursday, March 27th
Macfarlanes predicts a good yearThursday, March 26th
Burges Salmon talks the talkWednesday, March 26th
Trowers promotions dwindleTuesday, March 25th
Wragges’ ups the firm’s real estate profileThursday, March 20th
Olswang‘s year of change Thursday, March 20th
Camerons goes East Wednesday, March 19th
Ince & Co: happy days for men in boats Tuesday, March 18th
Freshfields refills partnershipMonday, March 17th