DLA Piper bulks up in Prague with local merger

DLA Piper has bucked the recent trend of slimming down in Eastern Europe by expanding its Prague offering through a merger with local firm Haškovcová & Co.

The merger, which took effect today (1 September), sees two partners and seven lawyers joining DLA Piper’s existing Czech office, almost doubling the firm’s capabilities.

Haškovcová & Co managing partner Thu Nga Haškovcová will become country managing partner of DLA Piper in the Czech Republic. Fellow partner Petr Šabatka will head up the firm’s local litigation and regulatory group.

Haškovcová brings experience in M&A, real estate and project financing.

DLA Piper’s Central & Eastern Europe managing partner Krzysztof Wiater said in a statement: “This merger is a strategic move for both firms. The overarching goal is to channel the strengths of both previously existing firms into a newly established partnership, offering a full range of first class services to our clients in the Czech Republic and throughout the CEE region.”

Haškovcová called the merger a “monumental step” and said she was confident the firm would become a more competitive player in the region. 

The move runs contrary to a recent trend for international firms to cut back on their presence in the CEE region. Already this year Hogan Lovells (13 May 2014) and Norton Rose Fulbright (23 April 2014) have closed their Prague offices, while Chadbourne & Parke shut its Kiev office (6 August 2014). All three firms cited market conditions as the reason for withdrawal.

DLA Piper pulled out of Bulgaria in 2010, again saying the economic downturn was the cause (24 December 2010).