Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has opened a Moscow office, poaching around 70 lawyers from top Russian firm and Gazprom adviser Pepeliaev, Goltsblat & Partners (PGP).
The new office, called Goltsblat BLP, will be run by?former?PGP?joint managing partner Andrey Goltsblat and will add an estimated 10 per cent to BLP’s overall revenue.
BLP managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: “It’s a major step for us and a major step for that market. A major UK or US firm hasn’t combined with a Russian firm before.”
Together with the simultaneous launch of an Abu Dhabi office, the move signals a clear change to BLP’s international strategy.
“We began thinking a year ago that we need to think about high growth markets in a different way,” explained Eisenberg. “This increases our international exposure and gives us an enhanced presence where the preferred-firm strategy wasn’t delivering for us.”
Goltsblat,?who?has brought eight partners with him, said he intends to continue working with his former firm, despite having taken over a quarter of its fee-earners with him.
PGP?sole?managing partner Sergey Pepeliaev was defiant regarding the exodus, telling The Lawyer: “A large number left and of course it cannot be good for a company. Crisis is good in some ways – it’s an opportunity to make ourselves stronger.”
PGP continues its business activities with 150 lawyers and plans to make further hires from other international firms. It also works with at least 600 clients across a wide-range of practice areas.