Hogan Lovells latest to announce Moscow office closure as five more US firms reveal Russia withdrawal plans
White & Case, Dechert, Debevoise & Plimpton and Baker Botts also join roster of firms shutting down their operations
Hogan Lovells has today joined four US firms in pulling the plug on their Moscow offices in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier today, White & Case, Dechert, Debevoise & Plimpton and Baker Botts also all announced the winding down of their operations.
The latest announcements have boosted the roster of international firms exiting Moscow to nearly 20 since last Friday, when Linklaters became the first global firm to announce its departure as pressure mounted for the legal profession to play a more assertive role supporting international efforts to isolate the Putin regime.
Other firms leaving Russia's capital city include Latham & Watkins, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Norton Rose Fulbright, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Winston & Strawn.
Two firms – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Akin Gump – have temporarily closed their offices pending further developments, while Skadden has relocated its lawyers from Russia, but will be maintaining a ‘limited administrative presence’ in Moscow.
CMS, a firm known for the strength of its Eastern European network, put the future of its Russian office under critical review last week. That leaves just a few firms yet to announce a change in the status of their offices, including Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper and Dentons, although they have all condemned the invasion and provided details of moves to review their Russia client rosters in light of the crisis.
More coverage of the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on the legal profession
In 2019, Hogan Lovells hosted a 'marque celebration' at Moscow's Schusev Museum to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its operations in Russia. At the time it said the office ‘demonstrated how the connection between business and law could bridge social and political divides’.
Today – like so many of its international rivals – it said it had determined that 'we can no longer continue to operate in Russia and we will be progressing with an orderly wind down of our operations in Moscow'. It added: 'We deeply care about, and value, our colleagues in Russia and our focus is on their safety and wellbeing'.
Like most US firms, the latest to depart Moscow have all had a presence since the 90s, when US firms flocked there to take on work after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
White & Case, which set up shop in 1990, hosts 46 lawyers, including 13 partners, and Debevoise, which opened in 1997, has 24 Moscow-based lawyers.
Baker Botts’ decision to “conclude any relationships with state-affiliated entities in Russia” came after its previous statement in which it condemned the invasion of Ukraine. Now, the Houston-based firm said closing its Moscow office was “the right choice for us as a firm”.
The firm, which has been in Moscow since 1992, said it saw “no alternative to winding down our operations” in response to the crisis.
Finally, Dechert, which lists six Moscow-based lawyers on its website, released a short statement confirming its exit from Russia 'after careful consideration'.