BIG SIX accountancy firm Price Waterhouse has brought Polish law firm Krzysztof Wierzbowski into its international legal network, signalling its ambition to dramatically expand its Polish legal capability over the next year.
The move is part of a concerted legal push by PW into central and eastern Europe this year which has already seen the establishment of a Moscow law firm. The Russian firm has been on a huge recruiting drive since it opened and, according to Paul Downing, head of PW's European Legal Network, it is now ranked in Moscow's top-three with 28 lawyers.
"I am confident that we will be able to report similar progress in Poland in a short space of time," added Downing. PW expects to have at least 20 lawyers working at the Polish firm within a year.
Krzysztof Wierzbowski, which remains an independent law firm for regulatory reasons, will initially have nine staff, most of whom will be lawyers. Some will relocate from PW's 120-strong Polish tax and legal services department.
But Allen & Overy's senior partner in Warsaw, Stephen Denyer, said PW's expansion plans were not a big worry for international law firms with an established Polish presence.
"I don't think it will have any immediate impact," he said. "By the time Price Waterhouse expands to 20 lawyers we could well have 50."