Transatlantic firm Hogan Lovells has become the second top ten LB 100 firm in recent weeks to announce it is withdrawing from Prague, blaming difficult market conditions.
Following a ‘strategic review of the market’ undertaken by the international management committee, the 2,527-lawyer firm is aiming to complete its exit from Prague over the summer, with the exact date still to be decided.
Having operated in the Czech Republic since 1991, the local office currently has two partners, 12 fee-earners and a total of 14 secretarial and support staff. Prague office managing partner Miroslav Dubovsky is now considering operating in the region as an independent local firm while maintaining an informal referral relationship with Hogan Lovells.
Outgoing co-CEO David Harris, said: ‘We have taken the decision to close the Prague office following a review of the market and our investment priorities. The partners in Prague understand the decision and are considering the possibility of the office becoming an independent local firm with an informal referral relationship with Hogan Lovells. We are very grateful to all of our people in Prague for their hard work over the years.’
Prague office managing partner Dubovsky said: ‘Hogan Lovells has operated in the Czech Republic since 1991 working for both domestic and international clients.
‘Obviously, global and local markets and priorities have changed since then. We firmly believe that we have a good practice and that there are market opportunities that we can take advantage of, including working with Hogan Lovells in the future. We look forward to the new challenges.’
The move comes after Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) announced in April that it was moving out of the Prague market due to ‘difficult market conditions’ with effect from 1 May. NRF’s Prague head Milana Chamberlain returned to London, where she took up a senior position within the London business, ethics and anti-corruption practice, while Prague partner Pavel Kvíčala joined Czech-Slovak law firm Havel, Holásek & Partners along with his immediate team on 1 May.
It is the second time legacy City firm NRF has exited the Czech capital, having previously closed its doors in the region in 1996.
Other international firms still operating in the region include Magic Circle duo Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance, as well as DLA Piper, Dentons, CMS Cameron McKenna and Bird & Bird.