Hammonds has taken the unique step of forming a joint venture with a local Russian firm to gain a presence in Moscow.

The national firm has teamed up with Zhigachov & Christophoroff, a group of 12 lawyers and tax advisers which was the Moscow office of US firm McGuire Woods until it pulled out of Russia last December.

The venture, named Hammonds Zhigachov Christophoroff, is believed to be the first branded joint venture between a UK firm and a Russian firm.

Hammonds partner David Armitage said that the firm had taken the joint venture route as it would be easy to pull out if things went wrong. “It’s much easier to bring a joint venture to an amicable close,” he said.

Hammonds has not relocated any of its lawyers to Russia.

Hammonds decided on the joint venture after being retained by the Russian government to advise on World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession. Brussels partner Edward Borovikov, who is leading the WTO team, will spend extensive time in Moscow.

The joint venture firm has been set up as an incorporated company which Armitage described as a “pipeline”.

Any money that the Hammonds or Russian lawyers make will be channelled into their respective firms.