BLP’s Moscow raid sees Pepeliaev extend equity

Russian firm Pepeliaev Goltsblat & Partners (PGP) has overhauled its partnership system in the wake of the departure of joint ­managing partner Andrei Goltsblat and a team of 70 lawyers to Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP).

Sergei Pepeliaev

Sergei Pepeliaev

PGP had just two equity partners – Goltsblat and current managing partner Sergei Pepeliaev. But earlier this year BLP raided PGP to launch in Moscow (The Lawyer, 19 January), prompting the Russian firm to expand the equity and introduce a lockstep system for the first time.

Pepeliaev told The Lawyer: “We’ve modified our organisation – now we have 13 equity partners. We’ve employed the lockstep system, but we also take into account partner ­contributions to financial results, brand promotion and ­business development.”

The firm made $53m (£33m) in 2008, but Pepeliaev said he expected the downturn to reduce ­revenue this year. The firm was also hit with a $3m payout to Goltsblat for his 35 per cent stake in the equity.

Pepeliaev added that the firm’s longstanding ­relationship with key client Gazprom had been strengthened following hires from a number of international firms.

“We’ve substantially extended our cooperation with Gazprom and its ­subsidiaries,” he said. “We’ve brought in top-notch lawyers, including employment head Julia Borozdna [from Baker & McKenzie], Galina Balandina [from the Federal Customs Service] and Alexander Kosov [from Deloitte]. As a result we’re more attractive for Gazprom now in providing advice across these practice areas.”