PGP replenishes headcount after BLP raids staff for Moscow office

PGP replenishes headcount after BLP raids staff for Moscow officeRussian firm Pepeliaev Goltsblat & Partners (PGP) is rebuilding its office following Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) 70-staff raid on the firm at the beginning of the year.

BLP’s action resulted in the firm opening its own office in Moscow.

PGP has now vowed to expand its full-service ­capability, starting with a recruitment spree of eight lawyers, and has implemented an internal restructuring along sector groups to aid this expansion.

PGP has hired eight lawyers from Finnish firm Hannes Snellman’s Moscow office, including former Moscow head Vladimir Sokov.

Sokov will join PGP as a partner and will head the corporate sector group, while the corporate practice will be headed by Hannes Snellman senior associate Nikolay Solodovnikov.

Hannes Snellman lawyers will also head several other PGP practice groups: ­senior associate Aleksey Konevsky will lead PGP’s real estate and construction practice; commercial and M&A will be headed by senior associate Ilya Bolotnov; and the anti-monopoly regulation group will be run by associate Elena Sokolovskaya.

The move takes PGP to around 150 lawyers plus around 50 support staff. The partnership is only 16-strong but Pepeliaev said that seven partners have just been made up – six were internal promotions and one was lateral hire Sokov.

PGP’s ;former ;joint ­managing partner Andrey Goltsblat defected to BLP with ;around ;40 ;other lawyers (, 19 January). The merged firm ;Goltsblat ;BLP will add an estimated 10 per cent to BLP’s revenue.

PGP’s managing partner Sergey Pepeliaev said the departing team included
a wide cross-section of ­practice groups, such as ­corporate, employment, customs, ­litigation and ­commercial ­dispute work, but that all of PGP’s tax lawyers remained with the firm.

Pepeliaev added: “Before Andrey’s team left PGP, the firm was mainly well known for its tax practice and expertise. That’s why we now want to make PGP well known not only for its tax practice, but also for its other practices.”

In the 2007-08 financial year, the tax practice brought in 65 per cent of PGP’s profit, generating around $30m (£21.3m) out of a total turnover of $53m (£37.7m).

Pepeliaev added that an employment lawyer from a major international firm would be joining PGP in March to lead the ­employment practice.