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LEADING capital markets practice Linklaters & Paines has established its Moscow presence as a full branch office of the firm after more than two years in the city.
The partnership voted unanimously for the 14-lawyer representative office to become a fully-fledged fixture in Russia after the firm identified a growing work base in the capital.
The move extends Linklaters' international network which already includes offices in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo and Brussels. A representative practice exists in Washington.
Partner Paul Nelson, who heads the Russian practice from London, says the firm sees corporate finance, securities and capital markets, and the development of infrastructure projects as the way of the future in Moscow.
"That's not just a hope. It's the reality of what has happened to us as a firm over the past year or 18 months. Work is flowing," he says.
Led by resident partner Jonathan de Lance-Holmes, the Moscow office has been involved in the preparation of draft laws on Russian securities and advising on the public offer of Moscow-based confectionery company Red October - Russia's biggest-ever share offering for cash.
Linklaters, which provides both Russian and English legal advice, has also developed a strong client base in the city, advising foreign investors, local enterprises, banks, financial market participants and government authorities.
Its office includes both expatriate solicitors and Russian practitioners, and Nelson says the intention is to grow the practice further.
De Lance-Holmes says the strengthening of the Moscow presence "significantly reinforces the firm's long-term commitment to serving clients in Russia".
"Since opening in 1992 the Moscow office has expanded rapidly, both in its staffing and client base," he says.
"With this decision we now look forward to our Russian practice launching into a new era, with the resources, capability and experience to serve clients more effectively than ever before."