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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Russia > Commercial, corporate and M&A > Moscow > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

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    • Oxana Balayan - Hogan Lovells (CIS)
    • Natalia Baratiants - Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
    • Marc Bartholomy - Clifford Chance
    • Andrei Dontsov - White & Case LLC
    • Grigory Gadzhiev - Linklaters
    • Igor Gerber - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Alexey Kiyashko - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Dmitri Kovalenko - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Maxim Levinson - Baker Botts L.L.P.
    • Alexei Roudiak - Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP
    • Scott Senecal - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Dmitry Surikov - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s ‘client-oriented’ team has ‘a strong understanding of business and commercial issues’ and ‘a balanced approach, taking all the relevant details into account’. The firm is noted for its strength in cross-border M&A, advising a range of multinational corporates and private equity firms on their acquisitions of Russian assets. Recent work includes advising Qatar Investment Authority on Rosneftegaz’s €10.2bn sale of a stake in Rosneft, the largest privatisation undertaken in Russia, and acting for Sibur on its sale of a 10% stake to Silk Road Fund, a Chinese state-owned investment fund. Scott Senecal is a key figure along with Mikhail Suvorov and Yulia Solomakhina, who has ‘remarkable presentation skills’.

Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP fields ‘one of the best teams in the market for M&A and private equity projects’; it ‘evaluates business factors, applying a probability-weighted approach to make informed decisions’. The firm has seen an uptick in mandates from Chinese investors, and recently advised Silk Road Fund on its investment in Russian petrochemicals company Sibur. Other highlights included acting for United Capital Partners on its acquisition of a 49% stake in Essar Oil, and advising Beijing Gas Group on its acquisition of a stake in Verkhnechonskneftegaz from Rosneft. Alexei Roudiak is recommended along with Stanislav Grigoriev and the ‘responsive, efficient’ Evgeny Zelensky.

A ‘top choice’ for corporate and commercial matters, Linklaters advises on M&A, joint ventures and corporate reorganisations, and has been markedly active in the energy, TMT, healthcare and financial sectors. Energy sector specialist Grigory Gadzhiev handled Rosneft’s sale of shares in its subsidiary Verkhnechonskneftegaz to Beijing Gas Group. Practice head Denis Uvarov handles public and private M&A; Hugo Stolkin has significant experience across the Russian and Kazakh markets. Nestlé, Sberbank and Bank of Cyprus are also key clients.

The ‘superb’ team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is ‘a port of call for critical and high-level matters’; it ‘acts strategically and has a real comprehension of the client’s business and long-term goals’. Key practitioners include ‘outstanding attorney’ Dmitri Kovalenko, who ‘provides top-level strategic input with commercial objectives in mind’; Pranav Trivedi, who is ‘a key contact when it comes to cross-border matters with a Russian angle’; and Alexey Kiyashko, who has notable banking and energy expertise. The team is currently advising Eurasia Drilling on Schlumberger’s acquisition of 51% of its share capital.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s ‘fantastic’ practice is ‘flexible, responsive and trustworthy in complex, challenging situations’. The group advises a mix of private equity and hedge funds, public and private companies and sovereign entities on the full spectrum of transactional issues, key areas of activity including M&A, leveraged buyouts and joint ventures. Managing partner Natalia Baratiants advises a mix of Russian and international companies, and recently acted for Lukoil on its $1.5bn sale of Arkhangelskgeodobycha Diamond Mining to Otkritie. Alexander Trukhtanov is the other name to note. Suren Gortsunyan left to establish Rybalkin, Gortsunyan & Partners in September 2018.

ALRUD Law Firm is ‘a reliable partner when dealing with large-scale due diligence projects and M&A’, and ‘provides a multilateral analysis of emerging issues, adopting a constructive perception of the counterparty’s position and focusing on finding a solution’. Practice head Alexander Zharskiy has ‘robust sector expertise’, and recently advised Kansai Paint on its $572m acquisition of Helios Group. Maria Ostashenko heads the commercial practice, and Anton Dzhuplin has ‘good negotiation skills and a strong business understanding’.

The ‘pragmatic’ group at Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited is ‘always quick to respond’ and has ‘an excellent knowledge of the local market and of the relevant sectors’. The firm recently handled a number of transactions in the pharmaceutical and mass-media sectors, and also maintains a strong base of oil and gas, mining and IT sector clients. Sergei Voitishkin heads the team, which recently advised Novaport on its acquisition of controlling stakes in two international airports, Khabarovo and Mineralnye Vody.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s team ‘possesses profound knowledge of the oil and gas industry’, has ‘solid practical experience of transactional work’ and ‘consistently demonstrates great responsiveness and deep involvement’. Highlights included advising Sovcombank on its $354m acquisition of Metcombank from SeverGroup, and acting for Russian agribusiness company Belaya Dacha on its joint venture with Lamb Weston / Meijer. Maxim Levinson heads the practice, and ‘proactive, professional and reliable specialist’ Mikhail Semyonov is also recommended.

Clifford Chance specialises in cross-border transactions, acting for Russian and international clients across the real estate, healthcare, private equity and financial sectors, among others. Recent work includes advising ER-Telecom on its $67m acquisition of telecoms operator West Call, and acting for Mondi on its $48m acquisition of Beepack, a packaging plant in Lipetsk Oblast. The practice is headed by real estate expert Marc Bartholomy, Arthur Iliev and Torsten Syrbe, who focuses on IP and media sector transactions. ‘Rising stars’ Nick Diakoumis and Ella Omelchenko are also recommended.

Dentons provides ‘excellent value for money and strong client support’, and utilises its foreign desks in complex, cross-border transactions across a range of sectors. Richard Cowie is ‘a real fighter’ and ‘someone you want on your side when negotiations become tough’; he is praised by clients for ‘thinking outside the box and coming up with fast, workable solutions under time pressure’. Other key figures include Alexei Zakharko, who has notable expertise in the energy sector, and Maria Oleinik, whose experience spans oil and gas, mining and heavy industry. The team is currently advising Gazprom on its joint venture with Shell.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has ‘extensive knowledge of Russian and English corporate law, and a deep understanding of various business processes’. The team regularly advises domestic companies on overseas acquisitions, and has a strong track record in the oil and gas sector. Highlights included advising Rosneft on its proposed partnership with Pertamina concerning the $13bn GRR Tuban project, and acting for Safmar Group on its high-value acquisition of M.Video. Innokenty Ivanov, Igor Gerber and Dmitry Surikov are recommended, as is senior associate Maria Zaitseva, who is ‘a skilled negotiator’.

Hogan Lovells (CIS) has been significantly active in the TMT, life sciences and fintech sectors, advising a mix of Russian and foreign companies on the full spectrum of transactional issues. Managing partner Oxana Balayan is noted for her cross-border expertise, and, along with counsel Maria Baeva, is currently advising VTB Capital on the sale of a stake in Pulkovo Airport to a consortium of investors. Georgy Kalashnikov has handled a number of joint venture projects across the real estate, energy and aviation sectors.

At Latham & Watkins LLP, highlights included advising a consortium of three state-owned Indian gas companies, namely Oil India, Indian Oil and Bharat PetroResources, on their acquisition of an interest in Taas-Yuriakh Licenses from Rosneft. The team also advised Sheremetyevo International Airport on its sale of Vladivostok International Airport to a consortium of Russian investors. Practice head Christopher Allen is ‘an excellent lawyer who really knows the Russian market’ and ‘a great asset to have on your side’. David Stewart and counsel Yulia Dementieva are also recommended.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has ‘top-notch expertise’; its ‘smart, practical’ team is ‘well equipped to provide advice on multiple M&A deals at the same time’. The firm continues to attract high-profile M&A mandates, recent highlights including its advice to A&NN Investments on its acquisition of a controlling interest in Formula Kino. The team also assisted Rotex with a joint venture with Switzerland-based company Sulzer, and acted for Hitachi Construction on its repurchase of a stake in a Russian production subsidiary from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Managing partner Vasilisa Strizh is ‘highly motivated, with strong transactional experience and excellent negotiation skills’. Roman Dashko is the other key figure.

White & Case LLC has ‘comprehensive knowledge of the industry’, and the team ‘is available for support 24/7’. Key individuals include Eric Michailov, who has handled a number of deals in the media and banking sectors; Igor Ostapets, who advises on insolvency and restructuring matters; and Nikolay Feoktistov, who is ‘very familiar with the specifics of each client’s business’ and ‘always has things under control’. The team recently advised MOL Group on its sale of oil company Matjushkinskaya Vertical to four independent Russian investors. Andrei Dontsov is the other name to note.

The ‘strong, committed M&A team’ at Allen & Overy Legal Services is recommended for ‘large-scale projects, including inbound and outbound investments in the oil and gas sector’. Counsel Bulat Zhambalnimbuev is ‘an excellent lawyer who provides practical and flexible advice, adjusting easily to clients’ needs’; he recently advised Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on its acquisition of Vladivostok International Airport, and, along with practice head Anton Konnov, acted for Black Earth Farming on the sale of its agricultural operations to Volgo-DonSelkhozInvest.

The ‘young, dynamic’ team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP has ‘great commercial awareness’, and is ‘able to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines’. Key figure Anton Sitnikov has ‘exemplary expertise, and is great at connecting clients to necessary experts’. Highlights included advising AFG National on a $153m private equity deal with RDIF to fund various aspects of the client’s agricultural business, and acting for Fasten Rus on its high-profile merger with RuTaxi. Andrey Goltsblat is also a name to note.

DLA Piper has ‘significant experience in handling large-scale M&A’, and ‘provides advice that is relevant to the specifics of the client’s industry’. The team has been notably active in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and also has a strong track record in venture capital, telecoms and natural resources transactions. Highlights included acting for Egis Pharmaceuticals on its $50m acquisition of the D-Panenthol brand. Constantine Lusignan-Rizhinashvili and Denis Sosedkin are the key figures.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘responsive team’ provides ‘a high level of service and strong project management’, and has been notably active in the energy, transport and telecoms sectors. Alan Kartashkin recently advised Polyus Gold on its sale of a 15% stake in PJSC Polyus, and Alyona Kucher acted for Petro Welt Technologies on its acquisition of a Kazakhstan-based oilfield services business. Dmitri Nikiforov is also a key figure.

The ‘responsive, knowledgeable’ team at Dechert Russia LLC provides ‘helpful, strategic advice’ and ‘great value for money’. Recent work includes advising Mechel on several corporate matters, including its listing on the New York Stock Exchange and its sale of a mining company in the US, and acting for J.H. Whitney Capital Partners on its acquisition of a Russian family business. Laura Brank is the key figure, and splits her time between London and Moscow.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners’ team is praised for its ‘high standards and creativity’ along with its ‘responsiveness, deep knowledge of market realities and availability outside office hours’. Practice head Arkady Krasnikhin has ‘solid judgement’, and recently advised a major industrial group on its acquisition of an international airport. Dmitry Stepanov is also a key figure.

The ‘strong, multinational’ department at LECAP Law Firm has ‘excellent management skills and strong expertise in cross-border transactions’. The firm is noted for its restructuring expertise, and has also handled a number of M&A transactions and joint ventures. Managing partner Dmitry Krupyshev recently advised B&N Bank on its merger with MDM Bank, and Michael Malinovskiy and Elizaveta Turbina are acting for Europlan on its corporate restructuring.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team has ‘excellent communication skills, and a very good understanding of commercial transactions’. Energy and infrastructure are key areas of expertise; the firm recently advised BP on establishing, with Rosneft, a joint venture named Yermak Neftegaz for the exploration of areas in the Yenisey-Khatanga basin. The team also advised Horizon Investments on its sale of a stake in Northern Capital Gateway to Qatar Investment Authority. Valentina Gluhovskaya and Anatoly Andriash co-head the practice.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team has ‘a wide range of expertise’ and ‘a long history of experience’. The group focuses on private equity, financial services, TMT and manufacturing sector transactions, and maintains a solid client base of international market entrants. Practice head Patrick Brooks has ‘great English law knowledge’, and is supported by Anton Rogoza. Georgy Borisov left the firm.

The ‘legal experts’ at Branan Legaladvise on the most complicated issues in the sphere of corporate law and governance’, and regularly handle M&A, investment projects and company restructurings. Maxim Bunyakin and Julia Nenasheva jointly head the team, which recently advised insurance company Rosgosstrakh on its authorised capital increase. Other key clients include Ilyushin Aviation Complex and Russian construction company Mosstroymechanizatsia-4.

The ‘fully dedicated team’ at CMS comprises ‘results-oriented people focused on the client’s priorities’, and is ‘very efficient at balancing quality and speed’. Vladimir Zenin is ‘an attentive, smart and talented lawyer who always finds an appropriate response to complicated matters’; he recently advised Coalco Development on its sale of a 90% stake in Tsar Square to VTB Real Estate, and also acted for Sberbank on the acquisition of from Guard Capital.

Gide Loyrette Nouel Vostok’s sector strengths include retail, food processing and pharmaceuticals. The team advises on a mix of M&A and general corporate matters. Highlights included advising RZ Agro on its acquisition of a real estate holding in the Krasnodar region, and assisting Ventech Capital with’s acquisition of Pixonic. Boris Arkhipov heads the practice.

Infralex offers ‘an extensive, tailor-made approach’ and has ‘deep knowledge of local market issues that need to be clarified to foreign investors’. The firm advises on transactional activity, due diligence and corporate dispute resolution, providing ‘European standards in complex matters and high-level operations’. Yulia Eremenko and Marina Bilyk head the corporate and commercial practices respectively; the ‘incredibly knowledgeableArtem Kukin is also a key figure.

Ivanyan & Partners is ‘a go-to independent Russian firm’ that fields ‘a responsive, high-quality team with impressive transactional and drafting skills’. ‘Outstanding’ practice head Maria Miroshnikova is ‘ferociously bright, committed to clients and available 24/7’. The firm recently advised the selling shareholders of Sibur on the sale of a 10% stake to Sinopec, and also acted for Gazprombank in a range of commercial matters.

The ‘strong professionals’ at KIAP (Korelskiy, Ischuk, Astafiev and Partners, Attorneys at Law) have ‘a business-oriented approach and an outstanding commercial mindset, treating all matters carefully and providing prompt solutions to tough problems’. Anton Samokhvalov, who is ‘a great practitioner with remarkable transaction skills’, recently advised Betset on its sale of a Russian subsidiary to a Kazakhstan-based private investor.

King & Spalding LLP advises on M&A, joint ventures and corporate reorganisations, and has been notably active in the energy and infrastructure, life sciences and automotive sectors. Sergey Komolov heads the practice.

Noerr’s ‘responsive, business-oriented’ team advises foreign investors on large to mid-size cross-border transactions, and retains a strong roster of Germany-based clients. Recent work includes advising construction manufacturer NMC on the establishment of joint ventures in Tver, Krasnodar and other Russian regions. Managing partner Björn Paulsen is supported by Thomas Mundry and Vladislav Skvortsov.

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