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Russia > Commercial, corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial, corporate and M&A: Moscow
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP acts for multinational corporates and private equity firms on various M&A and joint venture deals. Murat Akuyev and Yulia Solomakhina advised TPS on a joint venture transaction with the Russian government. Maxim Izvekov and Gabriele Antonazzo advised Tele2 on the creation of a joint venture with Kazakhtelecom. Scott Senecal is also noted.

Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP’s team is ‘exceptional in terms of solid sector knowledge and commitment to the client’, and has ‘great experience in complex deals’. Evgeny Zelensky has ‘an in-depth understanding of business and financial processes’. Managing partner Alexei Roudiak stands out for his work on complex joint venture issues. Clients include Kraft Heinz, Trisonnery Assets and Rossium.

Linklaters’ expertise spans M&A transactions, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations and general advisory matters, and the group has been notably active in the energy, financial services and insurance sectors. Denis Uvarov heads the department, which includes English law-qualified duo Hugo Stolkin and Dominic Sanders, and the ‘knowledgeable’ Grigory Gadzhiev. The firm has handled several matters for Rosneft, including advising on its sale of a stake in JSC Vankorneft to a consortium of Indian investors.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s ‘extremely business savvy’ group provides ‘great industry knowledge and useful advice within a short timeframe’. Managing partner Brian Zimbler and Roman Dashko are the key figures. The group advised Sberbank CIB on purchasing a stake in RusGasEngineering. Vasilisa Strizh is also noted.

Top firmSkadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is ‘recommended for engagements requiring a high level of market understanding, and an understanding of the client’s business strategy’. ‘True expert’ Dmitri Kovalenko recently advised Mongolian Copper on the $500m acquisition of stakes in Erdenet Mining and Mongolrostsvetmet. Alexey Kiyashko and Pranav Trivedi are also noted.

At Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, managing partner Natalia Baratiants has significant experience in corporate and securities transactions; Suren Gortsunyan acts for domestic and international companies in M&A deals, joint ventures and corporate restructurings; and Vladimir Kouznetsov handles the structuring and negotiation of international transactions across the CIS region. Clients include Lukoil and UTair.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s team provides ‘an excellent quality of legal advice’ and is ‘able to solve complex problems quickly and efficiently’. Maxim Levinson heads the department, which advised Halliburton on its proposed $34.6bn merger with Baker Hughes. Sergey Stepanov handles M&A in the energy, natural resources and real estate sectors.

Baker & McKenzie–CIS, Limited has been notably active in the pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, mining and telecoms sectors, and frequently handles cross-border transactions for domestic and international clients. Practice head Sergei Voitishkin recently acted for Walgreens Boots Alliance during its sale of Alliance Healthcare Russia to a health and beauty retailer. Alexander Gomonov advised Rostec on the disposal of its stake in Erdenet Mining and Mongolrostsvetmet.

Marc Bartholomy heads the ‘highly competent’ group at Clifford Chance, which provides ‘a professional and efficient service to clients’. Highlights included assisting Sinohydro with its joint venture with RusHydro International and various Chinese investors, including Zhefu Hydropower International Engineering and Powerchina Chengdu Engineering. Sanoma and Sberbank are also key clients.

Dentons’ team ‘takes the client’s business interests into consideration’, and ‘always finds practical solutions which work well for everyone’. Florian Schneider and practice head Mathieu Fabre-Magnan head the German and French desks, respectively. Other key figures include Richard Cowie, Alex Skoblo and ‘great adviserAlexei Zakharko. Christopher Rose joined the team from Squire Patton Boggs. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Halliburton are clients.

Dmitry Surikov heads the practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which has notable expertise handling overseas acquisitions for major Russian corporates, and has been highly active in the oil and gas, automotive and financial services sectors. Highlights included advising Polyus Gold on the $90m sale of mining company Yuzhno-Verkhoyanskiy Gornodoby-Vauschniy Combinat to Polymetal. Igor Gerber is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells (CIS)’ practice head Oxana Balayan is ‘a modern dealmaker with a strong reputation in the market’. Georgy Kalashnikov has significant experience in the real estate, energy, mining and aviation sectors, and counsel Maria Baeva frequently handles cross-border joint ventures and private equity deals. Highlights included advising Discovery Communications on its joint venture with National Media Group.

White & Case LLC’s team ‘provides excellent client service’, and its ‘business-oriented approach ensures effective solutions in challenging situations’. Eric Michailov is ‘a heavyweight in the Russian market’ and jointly heads the practice with Andrei Dontsov, who recently advised the shareholder of VSK Insurance House on selling its shares to B&N Bank. Igor Ostapets is also noted.

Allen & Overy Legal Services’ team has ‘a rare combination of technical excellence and commercial acumen’. Anton Konnov’s group includes Gareth Irving, who has ‘a great academic knowledge of English law and great drafting skills’. Clients include Rosneft and Schlumberger.

ALRUD Law Firm’s team has ‘a great understanding of the practical issues concerning business in Russia’, and provides ‘comprehensive and easy-to-read advice’. Clients include Technodinamika, Gazprom Neft and New Idea Investment Company; the group advised the latter on the sale of participatory shares in OBI. Alexander Zharskiy heads the practice and Anton Dzhuplin is also noted.

DLA Piper is ‘well able to mobilise resources from various locations to address a variety of issues’. The group is advising MD Medical Group on its high-value acquisition of Medica Clinic and ArtMedGroup. Denis Sosedkin and Constantine Lusignan-Rizhinashvili are the practice co-heads. Igor Antonyan is also noted.

At Dechert Russia LLC, managing partner Laura Brank advises on cross-border M&A and joint ventures. Clients include Mechel and VimpelCom.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners is ‘a high-class law firm’ that ‘provides appropriate and business-oriented advice’. Practice head Arkady Krasnikhin has ‘excellent strategic judgement’ and is ‘a true leader able to drive a project to success’. Ivan Smirnov handles regulatory matters, and recently advised CTC Media on legislation amendments restricting foreign ownership of Russian media companies. Firm chairman Dimitry Afanasiev, who has a strong client base of major Russian corporates, advises on domestic and cross-border transactions.

Goltsblat BLP, the Russian practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s ‘excellent’ team has ‘a very high level of industry knowledge’ and ‘takes a practical approach to all assignments’. Department head Anton Sitnikov is ‘constantly working to evolve the practice’; managing partner Andrey Goltsblat has strong joint venture and investment project expertise; and Ekaterina Dedova is ‘a true professional who is always up to date with the client needs’. Highlights included advising Rolf Group on its business consolidation with Pelican Auto Finance.

At King & Spalding LLP, practice head Sergey Komolov ‘always guarantees a high level of service’. Jennifer Josefson primarily handles transactional matters for Russian and international energy companies. The group recently advised GV Gold on various issues related to EBRD’s $100m equity investment. Rosneft is also a client.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘efficient and client-focused’ team is ‘well known for advising on high-value and prestigious transactions’. Mikhail Turetsky recently advised Solway Investment Group on the sale of Rudnik Sasa Makedonska Kamenica, a lead and zinc mine owner. Sberbank and Sistema are also clients. Christopher Allen is the practice head.

LECAP Law Firm has ‘a creative approach to all issues while keeping commercial interests in sight’. Roman Belenkov advises major Russian and international companies on M&A transactions and joint ventures. Michael Malinovskiy is ‘able to make practical decisions quickly’ and Dmitry Krupyshev has notable expertise in share and asset acquisitions. Key clients include Russian Railways and Baring Vostok.

Norton Rose Fulbright advises on M&A transactions, joint ventures and general corporate advisory matters across Russia and the CIS, and has been notably active in the energy, finance, infrastructure and mining sectors. Anatoly Andriash and Valentina Gluhovskaya jointly head the practice, which recently advised Sacturino on its $9bn cash offer for Polyus Gold.

At Squire Patton Boggs, practice head Patrick Brooks advised IC Blagosostoyanie on its high-value acquisition of Intouch Insurance, an automotive insurance provider. Christopher Rose moved to Dentons. The team was strengthened by the arrival of Georgy Borisov from K&L Gates LLP, who has considerable oil and gas, energy and natural resources expertise.

Branan Legal’s team ‘always has a clear understanding of the client’s needs’, and provides ‘great attention to detail’ and ‘strong operational efficiency’. Managing partner Maxim Bunyakin has ‘extensive expertise in corporate law and governance issues’, and practice head Julia Nenasheva has ‘a high level of professionalism’. The group advised Rusnano on a number of investment projects.

CMS’ ‘well-organised’ team handles joint ventures, corporate restructurings, private placements, and asset acquisitions and disposals. Natalia Kozyrenko advises energy sector investors across Russia and the CIS. Highlights included advising Mane on its acquisition of Schaller.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP (Moscow) provides ‘prompt and efficient’ advice. Managing partner Andrei Baev has notable expertise in emerging markets, and Konstantin Konstantinov handles M&A. The firm assisted Lanit with its contract negotiations with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP retains a strong client base of Russian public companies, and frequently handles corporate governance and M&A transactions. Practice head Dmitri Nikiforov has notable expertise in the oil and gas, telecoms, venture capital and corporate financing sectors. Alyona Kucher is also noted.

Gide Loyrette Nouel Vostok’s team provides ‘a high level of service’ and ‘always acts with the client’s best interests in mind’. Boris Arkhipov advised Acron on purchasing shares in Verkhnekamskaya Kaliynaya Compania, a Russian producer of potassium. Tim Theroux is the other name to note. Clients also include Ubisoft and Thema SAS.

Infralex’s ‘well-organised’ team has ‘a systematic approach to solving problems’ and ‘combines a high level of efficiency with good quality work’. Notable individuals include the ‘highly qualified’ practice head Artem Kukin, who has significant experience in the oil and gas, finance and real estate sectors. Sanors and Sberbank Capital are key clients.

KIAP (Korelskiy, Ischuk, Astafiev and Partners, Attorneys at Law)’s team has ‘great legal skills’ and ‘an efficient and business-oriented approach’. Anton Samokhvalov has ‘a high level of expertise in corporate law and strong communication skills’. Mikhail Uspenskiy is also a key practitioner.

Noerr has strong ties with the firm’s Berlin office, and advises on numerous large to mid-size cross-border transactions. Björn Paulsen heads the practice, which acts for a broad spectrum of clients including Mondadori, Rocket Internet and Bombardier Transportation.

Larisa Afanasyeva and Washington DC-based Olga Sirodoeva, who focuses on cross-border transactions in Russia and Eastern Europe, are the leading figures at Orrick (CIS) LLC. Konstantin Kroll advises corporate clients and financial institutions on cross-border transactions. Highlights included advising Sukhoi Civil Aircraft on the $1bn sale and lease of a fleet of 31 Superjet aircraft.

YUST Law Firm’s ‘team of high-class professionals’ is ‘capable of pioneering fresh ideas in new situations’. Practice head Roman Cherlenyak is ‘easy to deal with, and always ready to provide assistance’, and Evgeny Zhilin is also recommended. Clients include Rusnano and Samsung.

St Petersburg and elsewhere

Index of tables

  1. Commercial, corporate and M&A: St Petersburg and elsewhere
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

For some, Baker & McKenzie–CIS, Limited’s ‘highly reputable’ team provides ‘the best global advice’. Highlights included advising Orkla on the sale of its shares in LandGrand to Pioneer Group, a major real estate developer, and acting for a major European conglomerate on divesting its Russian snacks business. Managing partner Maxim Kalinin and counsel Olga Anikina are the key names.

DLA Piper has notable expertise in the automotive, manufacturing, telecoms and real estate sectors, among others. For example, department head and managing partner Denis Sosedkin advised Deme Group on negotiating two commercial contracts in the dredging and marine construction sectors, while Ruslan Vasutin assisted Zara with restructuring projects across Russia and the CIS region. Elena Zaitseva is a key name for corporate tax.

Artem Zhavoronkov heads the practice at Dentons, which advised major energy company Fortum on the sale its subsidiary Tobolsk to Sibur. Evgenia Teterevkova is ‘a knowledgeable specialist with perfect response times and a very positive attitude’. Karina Chichkanova is the other name to note.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners’ ‘excellent, consistent and reliable’ team stands out for its ‘short response times, clear advice and high-quality knowledge and expertise’. Practice head Elena Agaeva specialises in cross-border M&A transactions across various sectors, while managing partner Ivan Smirnov has significant corporate and regulatory expertise. The firm is advising CTC Media on amendments to federal law restricting foreign ownership of Russian mass media companies. New clients include Johnson Controls and Burlington Capital.

Vladislav Zabrodin heads the practice at Capital Legal Services, where other key figures include the ‘proactive and supportiveDmitry Churin, and Pavel Karpunin, who is ‘a good contact for Russian deals’. Kraft Heinz, retailer Next and Sodexo Russia are clients.

Heidi Paalanen-Koev is the lead practitioner at Castrén & Snellman St Petersburg, which retains a strong Nordic client base. Sergei Lee advises on M&A, venture capital, tax and general corporate matters. Highlights included advising Teknos on its purchase of Massco from a group of private businessmen.

Borenius’ ‘skilled lawyers’ handle a range of domestic and cross-border M&A and private equity deals, and have ‘a good understanding of their clients’ non-CIS issues’. Highlights included advising Servisny Metallotsentr Stami on customs issues arising from its dispute with customs authorities, and assisting Marc Rich Real Estate with currency control, voidable transactions and various other corporate matters. Managing partner Andrei Gusev is ‘pragmatic, responsive and good at handling counterparties’.

At Duvernoix Legal, Egor Noskov specialises in cross-border M&A transactions; Igor Guschev advises on corporate and antitrust law; and Alexander Arbouzov is also a key contact. The group assisted pharmacy chain Ladushka with its RUB1.6bn sale to Raduga. Other clients include IC Holding and Trigon Agri.

Hannes Snellman acts for a mix of sellers, buyers, financial advisers and target companies. It handles the full range of transactional matters including M&A, joint ventures and group restructurings. Yury Pugach recently advised Kesko on acquiring a DIY store. Managing partner Victoria Goldman and practice head Mikhail Timonov are other names to note.

Maxima Legal assisted Trust Bank with the corporate law aspects of the writing off of RUB1.6bn worth of debt, and also acted for Technoshock on its merger with Technosila, a rival chain. Managing partner Maxim Avrashkov and practice head Vladimir Kilinkarov are noteworthy practitioners.

Pepeliaev Group’s ‘responsive and well-coordinated’ team ‘can effectively deal with multiple issues at the same time’, and ‘puts an outstanding effort into resolving complicated situations’. Sergey Spasennov heads the practice, and Elena Krestyantseva ‘is a professional, high-calibre lawyer.’ Fazer and British American Tobacco are clients.

Prime Advice’s group ‘stands out for its individual approach to clients, and for the flexibility of its proposed solutions’. Practice head Inna Vavilova has ‘a deep perception of client needs and a highly efficient communication style’. Highlights included advising Novikov Group on the creation of three joint ventures totalling $10m, and providing corporate support to 220 Volt on its overseas expansion plans.

S&K Vertical’s team ‘pays attention to all the nuances of the matter at hand’, and its ‘advice is always based on extensive practical experience’. The firm is advising the Stanislavsky Theatre Foundation on various private donations and modernisation projects, and is assisting Phenomen Films with the $41m restructuring of its group companies. Mikhail Ilin heads the team.

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