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Foreign investment prompts US firm to set up association with local practice
Squire Sanders & Dempsey has expanded its Central European reach to Romania. The US firm has formed an exclusive association with two-partner Voicu & Filipescu, which takes effect this month. Squire Sanders managing partner for Budapest and Bratislava Kevin Connor said: "Our decision to seek an associated partner in Romania was driven by the increasing volume of foreign investment in this region by our clients and by the general development of the area." Voicu & Filipescu is a young firm, having been formed just last year by partners Daniel Voicu and Mugur Filipescu. Voicu and Filipescu had been the senior local lawyers at US firm Arent Fox's Bucharest office. When Arent Fox decided to pull out of the region last year, Voicu and Filipescu decided to go it alone before allying their firm with Squire Sanders. Former Arent Fox colleague Bryan Jardine joined Squire Sanders' Budapest office when his previous firm quit Romania. Voicu said: "With the rapidly changing business environment, we believe that our position in Romania will be enhanced by the resources available through Squire Sanders' global network." Voicu & Filipescu's 15 lawyers focus on privatisation, M&A and financing work in connection with the energy and telecoms industries. Connor cited these areas as of particular interest to Squire Sanders, saying that inward investment into Romania is popular with its clients. Although there are no regulatory restrictions on Squire Sanders setting up its own Romanian office, Connor said that his firm preferred the slow and steady approach of an association. "This is the way that we believe is appropriate for us in this market," said Connor. "We've done it before. We had an affiliated office in Milan before we set up our own. We know it works for us." "We can now service our Central European clients in Romania. It's an immediate add-on. They have a good client base and they're very good lawyers."