Schoenherr hires seven-partner Warsaw team from SSW Pragmatic Solutions

Arrival of 23-strong cross-practice grouping will double size of CCE regional firm’s Poland arm

(l:r) Paweł Halwa, Szymon Okoń and Paweł Chyb with Schoenherr managing partner Alexander Popp

Central and Eastern European firm Schoenherr has hired a team of 23 lawyers including seven partners from leading Polish practice SSW Pragmatic Solutions.

The team is due to arrive at their new firm in February and will double the size of Schoenherr’s Warsaw office, which opened 15 years ago.

The group is led by capital markets specialist Szymon Okoń and M&A partner Paweł Chyb and includes Ilona Fedurek (banking and finance), Tomasz Kwaśniewski (capital markets, banking and finance), Katarzyna Solarz (corporate), Katarzyna Szczudlik (IP/TMT) and Marcin Czaprowski (M&A).

Schoenherr’s move emulates a raid of similar proportions in July by CEE rival Wolf Theiss, which secured a 27-strong M&A and corporate team also comprising seven partners from market leading independent Wardyński & Partners.

Both team hires – among the largest in the history of the Polish legal sector – underline Poland’s regional importance.

Paweł Halwa, managing partner of Schoenherr’s Warsaw office, said: “Outbound investments from Poland into Central Eastern Europe, led by strategic investors and local private equity houses, will continue to grow.”

In a joint statement Okoń and Chyb added: “Joining Schoenherr will open up exciting new opportunities. No other firm has an equally strong position across Central and Eastern Europe. We share the same values and ambitions, it is a great fit.”

Recent Polish deals Schoenherr has advised on include acting for Frankfurt-listed Beta Systems Software on its acquisition of InfiniteData from its founders in October, the second Polish acquisition it has advised the German company on.

Last month, the firm made up four new partners – three in Austria and one in Romania. The firm has offices in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey.

In 2022, Osborne Clarke hired 30 lawyers from local practices to launch an office in Warsaw, its first physical base in Central and Eastern European (CEE).

SSW, meanwhile, said the departures did not alter its strategy “as one of the largest law firms in the Polish market” with more than 200 people providing “stellar legal services together with complimentary business lines”. It promised new arrivals soon.

The firm is Poland’s fifth highest-ranking independent firm, according to legal rankings aggregator Top Ranked.  

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