Steppe back in time

Déjà vu for Chadbourne in Russia as lawyers defect to Dechert

They say lightning never strikes twice, but when it comes to law firm raids this is rarely the case. Dechert’s scoop of Chadbourne & Parke’s Almaty energy team is a stark reminder of the firms’ ’Battle of Moscow’, when Dechert tried to poach a number of Chadbourne’s senior partners to launch its office in the Russian capital in 2009.

After five Chadbourne partners had reportedly handed in their notice, Laura Brank, Shane De Beere and Konstantin Konstantov were the only ones who finally jumped ship, with nine associates.

Law firms always struggle with the challenge of integrating lateral hires, however, and it proved particularly arduous for Dechert in this case, with Konstantov reverting to Chadbourne within months.

Could there be a sense of déjà vu with the Almaty raid then?

The haul is strikingly similar, with Chadbourne Almaty managing partner Kenneth Mack joining Dechert and taking another 10 lawyers with him.

Dechert CEO Daniel O’Donnell says he sees the development as emblematic of the “synergies with our Moscow office and our practices in Central Asia and China”, so there may be more links between the firms’ Russian and Kazakh offices than meet the eye.

Interesting that Chadbourne managing partner Andrew Giaccia describes the latest departures as “not inconsistent” with the firm’s overall strategy, though.

Could that mean the Chadbourne door won’t be open to any departees who get cold feet after they arrive at Dechert?