THEODORE Goddard US associate Dewey Ballantine has poached the head of a rival firm's practice and signed him as partner in charge of its Prague office.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom's Marc Packer, who worked as European counsel in Prague for three years, moves over on 1 December.
He becomes managing partner of the four-year-old joint venture practice set up between Dewey Ballantine and Theodore Goddard.
Packer, currently on leave, quit Skadden Arps on 17 November. He takes over the post vacated by Olof Clausson, who resigned to become London-based counsel to New York's Rogers & Wells.
"Marc is a tremendously talented lawyer," said Dewey Ballantine's London managing partner Brian Morris. "It is very important to us that he is an experienced Prague hand. He's been in Prague for three years and he knows the ropes.
"With the experience we've had in the Czech Republic, coupled with Marc's experience, our Prague office will be well positioned to grow further."
Morris said the office, which already employs two Western and three Czech lawyers, was likely to expand following Packer's arrival."Because of the joint venture we're positioned to provide US, UK and European advice through one enterprise as well as expertise in this region," he said.
"We very much hope to build on the base we have there and we think Marc is just the kind of lawyer that we can build that office with.
"It is evident there has been, and probably will continue to be, consolidation in Prague as well as potentially in other Central European cities. This appointment underscores our commitment to the region."
Bruce Buck, London-based head of Skadden Arps' European offices said a replacement for Packer had not been appointed, but the firm, which still has one lawyer in Prague, would continue its work in the region through its association with local practice Horak Chvosta Vich. "We always have and will continue to rely on them to a great extent for Czech legal advice and Czech-based legal services," he said.