King & Spalding opens in Moscow with hires from HogLove, White & Case

King & Spalding has opened a base in Moscow after hiring a team of lawyers from Hogan Lovells and White & Case.

The office is being driven by the firm’s energy practice and will have particular ties with King & Spalding’s lawyers in the Middle East, Singapore, Houston, London and New York.

Of the new joiners, Hogan Lovells partner and deputy Moscow head Sergey Komolov joins along with fellow partners Olga Kozyr and Alla Naglis. White & Case partner and oil and gas head Jennifer Josefson also joins as a partner. Komolov is to lead the office as local managing partner.

King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays said in a statement: “We see this as an opportunity to turn heads and achieve instant critical mass in Russia by bringing together well-established Moscow-based lawyers from two respected firms. Moscow is another example of our focus on expanding our global footprint by investing in high-value practices where we’re already strong and in markets where our clients are seeking our expertise.”

London-based co-managing partner Garry Pegg, who joined King & Spalding from Hogan Lovells last year (16 June 1010), will lead the UK arm of the Russia practice alongside London private equity partner Mark Thompson.

The departures at Hogan Lovells come after Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld last year hired Moscow tax partner Ilya Rybalkin (24 May 2010) and corporate partner Suren Gortsunyan (5 August 2010) and Baker Botts took dispute resolution partner Dominic Pellew (6 August 2010).

A Hogan Lovells spokesperson said of the latest departures: “While we wish them well in their move, this will not impact our practice in Moscow. We’ve also recently expanded our capability at partner level in the corporate, banking and real estate practices.”

The firm promoted one Moscow partner in each of these practice groups in its latest promotions round (25 February 2011).