Bakers picks up Detroit practice's Polish office

Baker & McKenzie has taken over the Polish office and seven lawyers, including two partners, of Detroit firm Dickinson Wright Moon Van Dusen & Freeman.

Two further lawyers have gone to Clifford Chance's Polish office.

Lawyers at the Dickinson office were believed to have been unhappy at the lack of support from their head office. Several associates had left and not been replaced, leaving the remaining lawyers with a greater work load.

Warsaw was Dickinsons' only foreign office. It was set up at the end of 1991 by Peter Swiecicki, a US attorney with Polish antecedents who specialised in banking and finance.

Swiecicki and the office's managing partner, Krysztof Wierzbowski, a telecommunications and capital markets specialist, have joined Baker & McKenzie, along with five other lawyers and around 10 staff.

Clifford Chance has taken US attorney Matthew Piwowar and Polish advocate Grzegorz Namiotkiewicz, specialists in commercial properties and capital markets.

Clifford Chance's managing partner in Poland Nicholas Fletcher said the recruitment of these two forced the remaining Dickinson Wright lawyers to merge with Baker & McKenzie, since the office could not support itself.

But Baker & McKenzie's managing partner in Poland, Jur Gruszczynski, explained: “It is more complicated. We have been talking to them for some time.”

He said of the two that had gone to Clifford Chance: “We didn't need them anyway.”

Before the takeover Baker & recruited Dickinsons' Justine Moodzeanowska, a capital markets specialist.

Bryan Williams, executive partner at Dickinsons, said his firm's decision was made in order to concentrate on domestic business and because of “the decision of Peter Swiecicki to spend more of his time in the US. We concluded that it made sense for the attornies and staff to affiliate with a larger firm.”

Baker & McKenzie now has a team of 33 lawyers in Poland and a staff of 70. Clifford Chance has two partners and 17 lawyers in the country.