An Englishman in Red Square

Despite the best efforts of many in Russia, English law continues to be the law of choice for most transactions in the country. That fact has helped many Anglo-Saxon firms succeed in Moscow over the two decades since the fall of Communism.

It’s also why Russian powerhouse Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners (EPA&P) announced last year that it was planning to build its own English law capacity. This week the firm has made its move, picking up Herbert Smith Freehills corporate and energy partner Robin Wittering – Wittering left legacy firm Herbert Smith at the end of 2011, but has been on gardening leave since then.

Wittering is a solicitor and barrister with an impressive deal and case list involving some of Russia’s biggest energy companies, a good start for EPA&P’s English law capability.

Whether EPA&P manages to compete with the Anglo-Saxons is yet to be seen. One partner is a start but there is still a long way to go. And as Sberbank’s recent panel review shows, many Russian clients like the international offering, even for Russian work, with Alrud being the only Russian firm to win a place on the bank’s Russian corporate and M&A sub-panel.

For more on the changing shape of the Russian legal market, see our recent special report.