Salans has poached a team of real estate lawyers, including rainmaker Pawel Debowski, from Clifford Chance’s Warsaw office.
Debowski, one of the leading real estate lawyers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), is leaving Clifford Chance after four years to join Salans’ Warsaw office as head of CEE. His exact leaving date is yet to be finalised.
Those confirmed as following Debowski to Salans are partners Piotr Szafarz and Maciej Ryniewicz and counsel Tomasz Stasiak, though further departures are likely.
According to Eric Rose-dale, co-chairman of Salans’ global real estate group, the hires are part of Salans’ global strategy to consolidate its leading position in real estate in CEE, with the firm hoping to use Debowski’s rainmaking talents to expand Salans’ reach to the east and west.
“Evan [Lazar, co-chairman of Salans’ global real estate group] and I have known Pawel and his team for many years,” said Rosedale. “It’s a logical next step for him to be able play a regional role in developing business on a bigger field in emerging Europe and beyond. Salans is an excellent platform for rainmakers and we think he’ll do exceedingly well here.
“[Our real estate practice] emphasises representing large cross-border investment banks, opportunity funds, capital provider and developers. This sort of client base fosters expansion across borders and practices and that’s precisely why our group has grown from 30 to 230 specialists over the past five years.”
Rosedale added that the addition of Debowski and his team will give Salans a “singularly pre-eminent position” in the market “with the largest integrated group of specialist real estate practitioners outside the UK”.
The real estate team’s defection is not the first from Clifford Chance to Salans in Poland this year. In March a trio of lawyers left for Salans in the shape of partner Piotr Dulewicz, counsel Michał Karwacki and associate Michał Wasiak, who all joined the firm’s M&A and private equity team.
According to Rosedale, the defections could have something to do with many large firms’ “half-hearted” approach to real estate and CEE.
“Lots of big firms blow hot and cold on real estate and CEE,” said Rosedale. “Since Evan and I joined Salans from Weil Gotshal more than six years ago, Salans hasn’t wavered from its commitment to this sector or to being an undisputed leader among international law firms in emerging Europe.”
Daniel Kopania has been appointed as Debowski’s replacement at Clifford Chance.
Debowski joined Clifford Chance in 2006 along with Szafarz, Ryniewicz and fellow partner Michal Siwek. The quartet joined from CMS Cameron McKenna, where Debowski had practised for 10 years. Before that he spent five years at Nabarro.