Chadbourne fights for Moscow office as Dechert pounces

Dechert and Chadbourne & Parke are currently locked in a battle over the future of a five-partner team in the latter’s Moscow office.

Dechert looked set to unveil the hire of the group, which includes Chadbourne’s Russia head Laura Brank, yesterday (7 May).

However, a last-ditch attempt to persuade some or all of the group to stay has raised the possibility that Dechert’s Moscow office launch could be derailed.

“Discussions with the partners continue and the final outcome in not yet certain,” Chadbourne managing partner Charlie O’Neill told The Lawyer this morning.

Dechert, however, remains confident that the team in its entirety would be joining the firm.

Indeed, Brank herself confirmed to The Lawyer today that she has resigned and would be joining Dechert later this month.

“I can confirm that I am leaving Chadbourne,” Brank said.

With Brank’s departure the exit of the rest of the group, four of whom have worked together for more than a decade, appears inevitable.

Along with Brank, the group considering joining Dechert includes Mikhail Rozenberg, the senior partner of Chadbourne’s Moscow office, infrastructure specialist Shane DeBeer banking and finance partner Jennifer Handz. All five of the partners are understood to have given notice.

Should they ultimately join Dechert they are likely to be followed by a number of Chadbourne associates, although it is understood no discussions have so far taken place in this respect.

Dechert chairman Bart Winokur told The Lawyer that the new partners were “a very good fit” for his firm.

“Their practice is very internationally focused with strong UK law capabilities,” Winokur added. “It’s a very good fit with what we already do in Europe and is also significant in terms of us expanding our international base.”

Chadbourne became one of the first US firms to establish an office in Moscow when it opened in 1990. It currently has around 30 US, English and Russian-qualified lawyers.