LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae's Russian managing partner is being relocated to London and the firm is now searching for a successor.
Corporate specialist Brian Zimbler, who became Russian managing partner in 1995, will begin the transition by splitting his time between Moscow and London before taking up a post as partner in the UK towards the end of the year.
Zimbler's relocation coincides with the appointment of Jonathan Hines - a partner specialising in upstream, oil and gas in the former Soviet Union - who joins from Debevoise & Plimpton.
Hines was instrumental in establishing Debevoise & Plimpton's Moscow office which was set up in February 1998, dividing his time between the office and the US. But in May he will move to LeBoeuf Lamb's Russian office on a permanent basis.
John Huhs, chairman of the international department and member of the administrative committee at LeBoeuf Lamb, denies that Hines is being moved to Moscow to take over from Zimbler.
Huhs says that a number of people are being considered for the role. "I know who they are but they don't know, therefore I would not like to comment on that."
But on Zimbler, Huhs says: "It was his own idea to move to London. He is an internationalist and believes it is a good career move for him."
On Hines, he says: "We are more committed and certainly more experienced in this market in the former Soviet Union than Debevoise.
"I personally recruited Hines and the one thing I stressed was that in order to maximise his professional growth he really needed an organisation that is committed to the development of the practice in the former Soviet Union."
Zimbler will also become co-chairman of LeBoeuf Lamb's international department.
Huhs says: "I will be able to offload work on Western Europe to him and he can deal with it in real time while I can focus on other areas."