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Beiten Burkhardt’s managing partner Frank Obermann said the decision of clients to pull out of Ukraine following the lack of agreement over a free trade deal with the EU had prompted the firm’s decision to shut down in Kiev.
“The framework conditions in the Ukraine and the resulting decision of many clients to no longer invest there have led to the partners’ decision to close the office on 31 December 2013. The situation is quite different in Russia and China. There we have recorded an increased volume of inbound and outbound business, which underlines the significance of our offices in these two countries,” he said in a statement.
Ries will jointly head up Gide’s Kiev office alongside current office managing partner Bertrand Barrier. The hires bring the number of lawyers and consultants in Kiev to 20.
In a statement, Gide partner Karl Hepp de Sevelinges, who founded the Kiev office in 2006 (4 September 2006), said the firm had been looking to expand in Ukraine. “This project makes a lot of sense as we have known the lawyers joining us for years,” he said.
Managing partner Stéphane Puel added that the firm believed in further growth in Ukraine despite the current uncertainties over the country’s future relations with the EU, which have prompted demonstrations in Kiev.
The Beiten Burkhardt team bring particular experience in corporate and real estate matters.
The Ukraine hires are the second significant raid on another firm by Gide in six weeks. In October the firm picked up 19 lawyers, including nine partners, from Morgan Lewis in Paris (16 October 2013).