Baker Botts cuts back in Moscow as deputy quits

US firm Baker Botts is dramatically scaling down its Moscow practice as the deputy head of the office joins Lovells.

Georgy Borisov, deputy of Baker Botts’ representation in Moscow, is joining Lovells as a senior associate specialising in oil and gas.

Another two lawyers are understood to have left Baker Botts’ depleted office, although it is not clear if they have secured positions in other firms.

The firm’s Moscow office is being manned by just one lawyer, Alexander Loginov, and will continue to strengthen its relationship with local firm Klishin & Partners.

Commenting on the reduction of the firm’s Moscow office, Baker Botts’ head of the international practice group Joel Swanson says the country’s economy is still struggling to recover from the recent financial crisis.

He says: “What has happened is that people talk about economic improvements and prospects and that has never happened.”

Swanson says that the firm will retain its registration in the country in the hope of re-entering the region once the economy begins to show an upturn.

However, Lovells has taken on six lawyers including Borisov to add to the firm’s 12-lawyer Moscow office.

Yuri Mitrofanov is joining the firm as an associate from Andersen Legal in Moscow, while Viatcheslav Khorovsky, previously an in-house lawyer with Moscow Narodny Bank subsidiary Mosnarbank, also goes to Lovells as an associate.

Other new associates include Timofei Kotenev from White & Case, Maria Fedorova from Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener and Natalia Gulyaeva from Lovells’ Düsseldorf office, where she completed her internship.

Daniel Gogek, managing partner at Lovells’ Moscow office, says: “After remaining with essentially 12 lawyers throughout the crisis, things are moving in the right direction.

“To create a truly mid-sized firm out here we undertook a very aggressive recruitment drive. It is an extremely good time to recruit and to target expansion.”