Egorov and Magisters merge to create CIS giant

One of Russia’s largest law firms, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, is set to merge with Ukraine outlier Magisters.

The two firms signed the merger agreement today, following months of discussions. The deal will go live at the end of the year.

The tie-up will create a €115m-turnover firm, with more than 300 lawyers, including 27 partners, across offices in Astana, Kiev, London, Minsk, Moscow and St Petersburg.

The combined firm will open a new office in Washington DC, with Magisters’ Kiev managing partner Andrew Mac at the helm.

Magisters’ name will be lost in the merger, with the firm continuing under the Egorov brand. According to The Lawyer’s European 100 2011, the new firm would take its place below Dutch firm Houthoff Buruma as Europe’s 17th largest independent law firm.

“If you look at what’s been happening in legal markets across the world, but especially in the CIS region, there’s been a reality check since the financial crisis: if you want to compete with international firms then you have to consolidate,” said Mac. “It was easy to be independent during the boom years, but we saw that consolidation was a must if we wanted to stay a strong player in 10 to 15 years’ time.”

In a statement, Egorov chairman Dimitry Afanasiev said: “This merger is unprecedented for our market. We’re a step ahead of any national or international law firm in size, market penetration and regional coverage in Russia and the CIS. Growth through consolidation is necessary to sustain the positive momentum in our development as the leading firm in Russia.”

Egorov, which has 220 lawyers, 16 partners and a revenue per partner figure of around £5m, acts for clients including the Russian Federation, UC Rusal, Gazprom, Telenor, BP and the Bank of New York Mellon.

The firm recently announced that it was on the hunt for English-qualified lawyers (16 May 2011).

Magisters, which formed in Ukraine in 1997 and in 2006 became the first independent CIS firm to expand across the region, has around 100 lawyers and 11 partners. The firms acts for Condé Nast, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, General Motors, Microsoft and Novartis.