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NORTON Rose this week carries out a complete overhaul of its Moscow practice, hiring Boodle Hatfield partner Simon Renton and building a London-based Russia group.
Renton's appointment as Moscow managing partner marks the third move for the corporate and commercial lawyer since his 1993 departure from McKenna & Co.
Prior to leaving McKennas he was manager of its Prague office. He then became an in-house consultant with British Gas, working on CIS projects, and later shifted to Boodle Hatfield, where he worked as a senior corporate lawyer.
"I've been involved in a number of transactions relating to the CIS countries, both oil and gas work and other industries," said Renton. "Russia is a very challenging place to work and I've been interested in all things Russian since I was a student at university.
"If you follow a line through what I've been doing it all relates to Central and Eastern Europe. Although I might have been doing that in different places, the majority of my work has been related to that area."
Norton Rose managing partner Roger Birkby said there was a three-fold reason behind Renton's signing, citing his corporate and corporate finance experience, background in Eastern European work and desire to relocate to Russia.
He said changes in the 11-fee earner office had also come about because Moscow-based partner Marcia Levy, one of the office's founding partners, was due to return to the UK at the close of the year. Levy rejoins in the newly-created post of head of the Russia group.
"A number of partners have been doing Russian work from London but it became clear that the volume of it required it to have someone concentrated on it full-time," said Birkby. "The availability of somebody who knew about the Russian scene and who had dealt with it in the way that Marcia has was just what we wanted."