Altheimer & Gray's new office adds to interest in Romania

US FIRM Altheimer & Gray has added to the international legal market's growing interest in Romania by opening a Bucharest office.

US partner Obie Moore has been appointed head of the new office and is being assisted by three local lawyers.

Moore, a Romanian resident for nearly five years, joined Altheimers this summer from the US government-sponsored Romanian- American Enterprise Fund, where he was managing director.

Altheimers' move follows UK practice Taylor Joynson Garrett's strengthening of its Bucharest office earlier this year with the recruitment of US-qualified attorney Charles Vernon.

The other UK firm in Romania, Sinclair Roche & Temperly, is also planning to expand its presence in the country.

Altheimers has initially set-up a registered representative office in Bucharest, but is in the midst of obtaining a full licence from the Romanian Bar.

Altheimers partner Louis Goldman said his firm was “hopeful” it would get its licence from the strict Romanian legal authorities by the end of the year.

He said the firm was also planning to recruit two senior local lawyers to bring the office up to six lawyers by the end of the year.

Goldman said his firm's clients in the country included a major European bank involved in a dozen projects and a major international oil company. He said Altheimers would concentrate on banking and investment projects.

“We began our Romanian operations one and a half years ago, but because it's an extremely large market, we decided to set up an office on the ground,” he added.

Altheimers' has a large Eastern European presence with more than 55 lawyers in offices in Warsaw, Prague, Kiev, Bratislava and Istanbul.