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US firm Hunton & Williams has closed its Warsaw office following the defection of five partners and an unspecified number of associates and support staff to Dewey Ballantine
Dewey has picked up Lejb Fogelman, the senior partner of Hunton's Warsaw office, and partners Tomasz Kacymirow, Jacek Michalski and Zbigniew Mrowiec. Fred Gander, managing partner of Dewey's London office, said: "For the past couple of years in particular, Poland has been the real strong spot among our European offices. We kept running into the Hunton & Williams team on deals. They've been involved in most of the privatisations and mergers in Poland and it became very attractive to us to put their group together with our office in Warsaw." Fogelman's team has handled a number of bank mergers, including AIB with Bank Zachodni and Citibank with Bank Handlowy. Fogelman said: "I'd been thinking about it for a while. We've built perhaps the premier M&A and capital markets practice in Poland, but we started coming up against a wall. We needed a powerful Wall Street capital markets firm to work with us, and Dewey is that firm. "Hunton & Williams is a wonderful firm, but now we're following different paths." The Hunton team was an appealing prospect for a number of international firms, as it is one of the leading transactional teams in the country. It is understood that Baker & McKenzie and Linklaters had both expressed an interest. Fogelman said: "It made sense to marry with Dewey, but it's a love marriage as well as a marriage of convenience." Stephen Horvath, managing partner of Hunton's London office, is the fifth partner joining Dewey. Horvath will remain in London, boosting the firm's Central European expertise from the UK.