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Russian oil company Lukoil is setting up its first ever legal panel to regularise its process of firm selection for global work and reduce rates.
Norton Rose and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld are the traditional advisers and it is understood that White & Case has handled work for the oil giant out of its large Moscow office. Lukoil head of legal Max Soulimov joined the company three years ago from Norton Rose where he was an assistant.
Akin Gump acted for Lukoil when it became the first Russian issuer to successfully list on the London Stock Exchange. The company previously attempted a listing in the US, where it has a chain of garages, but was put off by the terrorist attacks of 11 September. Akin Gump's offices in Moscow, Texas and London handled the listing.
Norton Rose provides full-service support to Lukoil, but has particular emphasis on litigation, corporate finance and banking. It is unclear which firm is representing Lukoil in relation to the decision by Iraq's US-appointed oil minister Thamir Ghadhban to terminate Lukoil's contract for oil exploitation in Iraq, which it negotiated while the Baath regime was in power. However, White & Case has a history of representing companies, particularly in Eastern Europe, which negotiated contracts during the communist era.