White & Case enlists trade official for Prague office

White & Case's Prague office has hired a senior public official for the newly-created role of director of government and corporate relations.

If the post proves a success, the US firm may look to introduce the model into its other offices.

Jan Havelka joins White & Case from CzechInvest, an agency of the Czech ministry of trade and industry.

He was director general since the department's inception in 1992.

A spokeswoman for White & Case says Havelka will co-ordinate clients who have direct investment projects in the region.

He will also advise on government relations, including the negotiation of funding incentives.

Havelka says: “The common problem for post-communist countries is attracting investors.

“I have joined White & Case to help improve, step-by-step, the legal environment.”

The 215-partner firm currently has no plans for similar positions in other offices.

But the spokeswoman adds: “We will be monitoring the success of the role closely.”

Havelka will be based in the firm's Prague office but will also work with clients in the Slovak Republic, Poland and Hungary.

White & Case has 21 lawyers including three partners in its Prague office.

Havelka adds: “It is expected interest from multinationals will continue to increase in the next 18 months as the Czech economy comes out of recession and looks towards EU membership.”