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CITY FIRM Lawrence Graham has applied for a licence to practise in the Ukraine.
The application has not been finalised but the firm already has an association with Maritime Business and Legal Services in Mariupol in the Ukraine.
A Lawrence Graham lawyer based in the Ukraine has been working closely with the associated local firm over the past year.
Lawrence Graham's managing partner, Bill Richards, says: "The Ukrainian office will focus on shipping work in the Black Sea region."
He says that the move is prompted by the firm's active shipping and litigation practice and a recent upturn in commercial work.
Leading Ukrainian law-yer, Dmitri Grischenko of Grischenko & Partners, whose firm cooperates with US firm Chadbourne & Parke, says: "It takes about a month for an application for a foreign firm to be proc-essed. Sometimes less, if all the documents are in order."
"It will mean one more foreign law firm in the market. US firms Baker & McKenzie, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Altheimer & Gray and Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn are here, along with UK firm BC Toms.
"If a law firm wants to open an office at this time of economic crisis, it is an indication that things are improving. Another thing could be that their clients are having a problem here."