Noerr spins out Moscow office in response to 'altered market conditions'

German independent forges cooperation deal with Arno Legal after local management buy out
Moscow International Business Centre

Moscow Vyacheslav Stepanishchev; Shutterstock

Noerr has spun out its Moscow office in a move that the leading German independent is putting down to 'altered market conditions'.

The deal – which is being characterised as a management buy out – sees four former Noerr local partners and two counsel team up as the founding partners of Arno Legal.

Björn Paulsen, who was partner in charge of the office until the split, will now head up a new Russia desk from Hamburg and Berlin and is charged with overseeing collaboration with the new firm, the two sides having forged a cooperation agreement.

The move takes place against the background of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the threat of a stepping up of sanctions against Russia by the US and the EU.

Last year, King & Spalding pulled out of Moscow and in 2020 leading Nordic firm Castrén & Snellman agreed to transfer its Moscow and St Petersburg offices to Capital Legal Services (CLS). 

Noerr co-managing partner Torsten Fett said “a cooperation makes the most sense going forward“ given “altered market conditions”.

Last April, the Munich-headquartered firm reported a 7.6% increase in revenue to €271.6m in 2020. But while German revenue climbed by 9.3% there was a slight drop-off in the CEE region, with offices in the region generating roughly €19m, down from €21m in 2019.

Arno Legal positions itself as a full-service business law firm, advising ‘public and private companies, technology companies, automotive industry leaders, banks and private individuals in multiple industrial sectors and practice areas of Russian and international law’.

Former Moscow office head Stefan Weber – who is one of Arno Legal’s six founding partners – said: “The new partners of Arno Legal have all worked for Noerr in Moscow for over ten years, are well integrated into the cross-border teams, and have extensive experience with major projects in Russia and the CIS countries."

Alongside Weber, who is head of competition, the firm’s other founding partners are Dr Viktor Gerbutov (head of dispute resolution and co-head of IP); Dr Vladislav Skvortsov (head of banking and finance) and Maxim Vladimirov (head of tax) - all former Noerr associate partners – and former counsel Vyacheslav Khayryuzov (head of data privacy, TMT and co-head of IP) and Olga Mokhonko (head of corporate and employment). The firm lists eight other fee earners on its website.

Noerr, meanwhile, continues to operate an extensive CEE network, with offices in Warsaw, Bucharest, Bratislava, Prague and Budapest.


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