The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has appointed Coudert Brothers, a firm it dropped from its panel last year, to advise the Russian Federal Commission for Securities Markets on securities market reform.
Couderts was one of more than 90 firms dropped from the EBRD panel in November (The Lawyer 24 November). But surviving law firms Cameron McKenna, Freshfields, Linklaters and Lovell White Durrant failed to get a look in on the bid.
EBRD counsel Alexis Zverev says: “It was a unanimous decision. It was not a difficult exercise. After we made all the assessments they came out number one.”
The EBRD has chosen the international firm from a selection of eight bidders, in spite of the loss last year of capital markets expert Bruce Bean to Clifford Chance.
London-based partner and project manager Sally March says that Couderts' combined international and corporate experience of existing Russian legislation was a key factor to the firm winning the bid.
She says that its link-up with US firm Pepper Hamilton & Scheetz strengthened its position in the Eastern European market. Couderts took over the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) practice of Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton in January last year after six months of negotiations. The firm's Moscow and St Petersburg offices closed and the Almaty office in Kazakhstan was taken over by Couderts.
March headed up Pepper Hamilton's Moscow and St Petersburg offices.
Moscow-based, US and Russian qualified partner Larisa Afanasyeva will head up the Moscow team. She too joined from Pepper Hamilton.
City firms are set to cash in on lucrative corporate and transactional work from the project, which aims to attract inward investment. March says that the market reforms will affect areas ranging from basic company law to investment funds, securities transactions and electronic trading.