City firm Allen & Overy is building up its own Hungarian law capability in Budapest following the acrimonious breakup last year of the firm's exclusive arrangement with local practice Deri & Co.
The appointment of Eva Hegedus, who comes from the Budapest office of German firm Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wagner, Eszter Pakucs, who was poached from Deri & Co, and Tamas Riesz, from Budapest firm Dolf & Co, marks the first stage of this strategy.
Kinga Sugar, Allen & Overy's resident English-qualified associate in Budapest, said that she expected more Hungarian lawyers to follow later this year, but could not give any numbers.
She also revealed that a senior associate would be joining her from London, but added that the partner in charge of the firm's Budapest practice, currently Ian Elder, would remain in London.
Sugar explained that a decision was taken to end the four-year association with the local firm because “it did not work out the way that we wanted it to”.
Speaking at the time of the breakup, senior partner Bela Deri cited a lack of commitment from the firm to the office as one of the prime reason for the split, and more specifically the lack of a resident Allen & Overy partner permanently stationed in Hungary.
Elder, who concentrates on the management rather than the transactional side of the Budapest office, confirmed that the firm was looking for a more senior lawyer and “probably not a partner” to join the new team within the next year.