Egorov ups English law capacity with hire from Herbies’ Moscow team

Russian law firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has hired Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) English-qualified corporate and energy partner Robin Wittering to join its Moscow office.

Wittering, who spent seven years as a partner at legacy firm Herbert Smith’s Moscow office, left the firm on 31 December 2011 and joined Egorov at the beginning of November this year after a period of gardening leave, a spokesperson for the firm confirmed.

Wittering, who is dual qualified as a solicitor and barrister in England and Wales, has a wide range of experience in the Russian market, having handled cross-border deals and litigation issues in Russian and the CIS for almost a decade. His most recent work includes acting for Sinopec on its $3.7bn (£2.33bn) acquisition of Russian oil producer Udmurtneft from TNK-BP, as well as the related leveraged buyout and joint venture with Rosneft, and more recently advising the management of TNK-BP in connection with the shareholder dispute between BP and Alfa Access Renova (AAR).

The hire follows Egorov’s announcement last year that it planned to become the first Russian domestic firm to have an English law offering (16 May 2011).

The news comes after Dmitry Kurochkin, head of litigation, arbitration and employment in Moscow, left HSF for Dechert in June barely a year after he was promoted to the role (21 June 2012). HSF followed the departure with the hire of Salans disputes partner Alexei Panich in September (3 September 2012).

Commenting on his move, Wittering said: “The CIS is a great market, and EPA&P has a great business. It’s a privilege to join this platform and to be given the opportunity to help to build up its English law capacity and to contribute to the further development of the firm and its international reach.”

Egorov merged with Ukrainian outfit Magisters in July 2011, creating a €115m-turnover firm, with more than 300 lawyers, including 27 partners, across offices in Astana, Kiev, London, Minsk, Moscow and St Petersburg (19 July 2011). In September last year the firm boosted its contentious practice with the bolt-on of local 17-lawyer litigation boutique Principium (12 September 2011).