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THE POLISH joint venture between City firm Theodore Goddard and US firm Dewey Ballantine will create the first foreign law firm based in Krakow.
The office is opening in association with a local group of lawyers under Professor Tomasz Studnicki. Theodore Goddard partner Stephen Jones, who manages Dewey Ballantine Theodore Goddard in Warsaw, says: "We have built a solid relationship with this group and will have six local lawyers based in the city."
He sees opportunities both from foreign companies wanting to invest in the south of the country and from the larger Polish companies, including heavy industry.
"Krakow is a developing tourist centre and there is business from hotels, restaurants and so on there," says Jones.
The joint operation has also recently expanded in Warsaw and moved to new offices run by three international lawyers, six local and five support staff.
Warsaw is the biggest of the three central European joint ventures. The Prague and Budapest offices have two western and four local lawyers each.
"Our strategy is to recruit good, young talented lawyers and train them to western standards," says Jones.
He says the firm's approach is unique and allows them to offer expertise in US, English and local law, serving a range of private and public local clients, as well as international businesses. "We are extremely profitable now and are seeing a very good flow of deals."
The aim is to concentrate on the three countries and not to expand into the CIS, Romania or Bulgaria.
Jones says there are opportunities to cross-sell between the different offices. "Clients want to use us in the three capitals. We feel we have only just scratched the surface in central Europe and that the potential there is fantastic."