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Russia’s turbulent economic climate continues to have a marked impact on instructions and deal flow, and work volume has been notably affected by sanctions, low oil and commodity prices, and restricted access to international capital markets. Sanctions are now being treated as a long-term development by law firms, which have made significant efforts to plan around the restrictions and develop new products and services to compensate for a decline in traditional mandates.

Despite this, the market attracts considerable mandates from the CIS region and Russian state-owned enterprises, while investor interest from China and the Far East has been a notable trend throughout 2016. Chinese banks and private equity funds have made significant investments into Russian projects and joint ventures, particularly within the infrastructure, oil and gas, consumer goods and agricultural sectors.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Yakovlev & Partners

Yakovlev & Partners Law Group started more than 25 years ago. Marketing, trading, engineering and consulting agency (MaTEC) was the first private legal firm in the USSR to be established by a group of lawyers with significant experience of work in state-owned institutions. In 1995, it was renamed into MaTEC. Yakovlev & Partners. The principal area of practice was legal advice to Russian private companies in Russia and abroad.

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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Goltsblat BLP

Goltsblat BLP is the Russian practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), an award-winning international law firm with over 800 lawyers in 13 offices in major commercial and financial centres – Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Paris, Singapore, Tel Aviv and Yangon. With a team of 100 Russian and English-qualified lawyers based in Moscow, Goltsblat BLP is one of the biggest international law firms in Russia/CIS. The firm is a unique offering in the Russian legal market because of its widely recognised local and strong international capabilities.

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Dispute resolution matters have accounted for a sizeable proportion of firms’ workloads, particularly bankruptcy and white-collar crime issues, with criminal defence earmarked as an area of practice that has significantly expanded over the last year. Competition disputes before the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) remain prevalent, as do disputes regarding IP infringement, shareholder disagreements and debt recovery.

The energy, projects and PPP space generates a healthy flow of work, though market restrictions have created a challenging environment for firms and investors alike. As a result, there has been increased demand for regulatory and compliance advice across all areas of practice.

Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP and Dentons are among the major international firms with a strong presence in the Russian market, while Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, ALRUD Law Firm, Pepeliaev Group and Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners are some of the go-to Russian firms.

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