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Mckenna & Co has announced the opening of its second office in Poland. The office in Gdansk makes McKennas the first English firm to have two offices in Poland, according to Robert Windmill, head of the firm's Central European practice.
The move coincides with McKenna's involvement in the £900m A1 motorway project through the Gdansk Transport Consortium.
The new branch will initially be staffed by two "experienced" Polish lawyers: Mariusz Gasiewski, a privatisations expert who also deals in commercial, tax and financial law issues; and Zygmunt Roman, who has served as a judge of the Stock Exchange Court at the Warsaw Stock Exchange and specialises in commercial banking and securities law.
Windmill said: "Setting up in Poland's second city underlines our commitment to the Polish market and is complementary to our strategic aims in the region."
Andrew Kozlowski, partner in charge of the Warsaw office, said the two lawyers in Gdansk were on track for partnership. He also said the new office confirms the firm's ranking among the top four or five foreign firms in Poland.
He added that the firm had taken a decision to have a regional presence, because "unlike Czechoslovakia, Poland is a large country with four or five major economic centres. To have no presence in these areas means we will lose out, especially as they grow."
Kozlowski also pledged that after the merger with Cameron Markby Hewitt, which is scheduled for 1 May, McKennas would take up the mantle of "top Central European practice within three years".
He said that Camerons' strength in banking, oil and gas, and insurance was particularly suited to Central Europe and that former Camerons lawyers would soon be swelling the ranks of McKennas' offices in the region.
Stephen Denyer, head of Allen & Overy's Warsaw office, said opening a second office in Poland was unusual. "We will not be doing it, Clifford Chance and White & Case do not have second offices. It is not a huge country, so we can service it all from the centre."
Denyer maintains that those firms, like Dewey Ballantine, with a regional presence in Poland, have a very specific reason for being in the region, such as a client or a project.