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White & Case has head-hunted commercial in-house lawyer Michael Onischenko to manage its Moscow office.
Onischenko joined the firm earlier this month from US cosmetics company Maybelline, where he was assistant general counsel.
He said he was offered a post with L'Oreal after it took over Maybelline but decided to move to Moscow where he believed he could make best use of his "combination of legal, business and linguistic experience".
White & Case made its approach while Onischenko was in talks with another, undisclosed, firm with a Moscow operation. Onischenko said the "speed and efficiency" of White & Case's approach impressed him enough to join them instead.
He added that he believed Moscow was on the verge of taking off economically.
"I was in fortunate enough to be in Hong Kong in the 1970s and Jakarta in 1987 where things were moving so fast that there were changes every day," said Onischenko.
"Moscow has the same feeling about it now; people are taking risks so it is an exciting place to be."
Onischenko said that his experience of working on the other side for US corporations in developing their strategies would help him in his new role.