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Polish firm Wardynski & Partners has become the first domestic firm from the EU candidate countries to open a Brussels office.
The firm formed a strategic partnership with Christopher Clarke QC's magic circle set Brick Court Chambers last year, and will share the barristers' offices in Brussels. French lawyer and member of the Brussels bar, Morvan Leberre, will develop the Wardynski practice. But in the first instance, the only partner there will be the founding partner of the Polish firm Thomas Wardynski. Wardynski already visits Brussels regularly on behalf of Polish clients. The firm will initially handle work in Brussels for Polish clients, but also hopes to use the Brussels office to expand its client base. According to Leberre, the decision was also prompted by a desire to gain a foothold in the EU legal capital before the first wave of accession candidates join. Poland has been given a tentative date of 2004 for accession, but this looks hopeful rather than concrete. However, the increased status given by a Brussels office will appeal to Wardynski's domestic clients. According to Leberre, "surely the most dynamic and ambitious law firms will follow suit". The firm will provide support to Polish clients across the spectrum of European Union law, and Leberre says that competition is likely to prove one of the most important areas of advice. There are no immediate plans to take on new EU specialists, but Leberre says that this may well change if expansion of the firm's client base merits it. In the meantime, the firm will rely on outside expertise, particularly from its partner Brick Court Chambers.