Linklaters and Akin Gump replace Moscow chiefs

Linklaters & Alliance and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld are both replacing the managing partners of their Moscow offices.

As Linklaters restructures its Central Eastern Europe practice, Philip Hayes will be replaced by Dominic Sanders, the former managing partner of Linklaters’ St Petersburg office, which closed down last month (The Lawyer, 27 November).

Hayes will return to London in June next year, after being in the region for more than three years. The Moscow office is being brought into Linklaters’ Central Eastern Europe group.

Managing partner of the group Nick Eastwell says: “It was actually the guys in Moscow who drove it. They said that they were in that region and should join the group.”

The Moscow branch was one of Linklaters’ first Central and Eastern European offices. It was set up in 1992 before the firm embarked on a period of expansion in the region.

Akin Gump is also making changes, swapping its Moscow managing partner Melissa Schwartz with banking and finance partner Bill Morris, who will move from the firm’s Washington office in January next year.

Schwartz says that she will move back to the US on a rotating basis. She says that she is able to service her clients in capital markets and securitisation from the US and adds that the market is beginning to show signs of life.

She says: “On Saturday night there was all but three lawyers in the office – things are picking up.”

The firm is currently acting for long-term client Lukoil on its proposed merger with US Getty, advised by Latham & Watkins. Getty was also the focus of a rival bid by US United Refinery but on 7 December the board of directors recommended that its shareholders accept the Lukoil bid.