SJ Berwin sets sights on Poland, Sweden

SJ Berwin is looking to expand its European network into both Poland and Sweden in a bid to ramp up its core private equity transaction and funds formation business.

But while the majority of firms remain resolutely focused on the Far East, senior partner Jonathan Blake said that SJ Berwin is keen to boost its offering within Europe, particularly with regard to the growing private equity markets.

“Like England and Holland, Sweden’s quite an Anglo-Saxon market and private equity is very important there,” he said. “Poland is less advanced but is the focus of private equity funds in Eastern Europe.”

Blake explained that few UK firms have local offices in either country, despite both having growing local private equity markets. Sweden also boasts a strong pension funds and venture capital industry.

The silver circle firm’s management team discussed the potential to either launch offices or form alliances with local firms in both countries during a strategy meeting in Milan last Wednesday (20 September).

The push is just one of a series of initiatives being touted by the firm in order to expand its network. As reported by The Lawyer (18 September), Blake met with 10 Indian law firms earlier this month to discuss possible alliances or referral relationships.

Blake will present a private equity seminar to local lawyers and private equity clients in Poland in November in conjunction with Munich-based partner Sonya Pauls, who is leading the firm’s push into Poland.