If the mood of a city can be gauged by the bustle of its shops and restaurants, then law firms active in Russia and much of the wider CIS region should not be especially fearful. Björn Paulsen, co-head of German firm Noerr’s Moscow office, says despite the recent devaluation of the rouble coming amid prolonged economic turbulence, few tables are empty in the Russian capital’s top eateries. ‘The crisis has already reached the bottom and now the market is on the rise again,’ he says.
While there have been numerous false dawns born of blind optimism over a Russian recovery in recent years, the consensus now is that economic and political woes have bottomed out, and lawyers, while talking as good a game as ever, have reason to be upbeat. Money is trickling into the region as foreign investors, particularly those from Asia, try to take advantage of cheaper assets. Government initiatives to create a more investor-friendly environment are welcomed by the region’s elite legal advisers.