Legal Business

Akin Gump defies annus horribilis with 19% City revenue hike amid restructuring boom

Akin Gump defies annus horribilis with 19% City revenue hike amid restructuring boom

It is often said that the legal industry excels in extreme market conditions and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s 2020 financial results bear testament to that, with the firm’s London office proving again bullish on the back of a stellar run of restructuring matters.

City revenue grew a pacy 19% to $149.2m from $125.1m last year meaning that the London office has bolstered its revenue 55% since 2017. These results are something of a return to form for Akin Gump’s City arm after a flat 2019 when turnover grew only 1%. They reflect the office’s wheelhouse of restructuring following the 2014 acquisition of 28 partners fronted by star restructuring veteran James Roome from the ill-fated Bingham McCutchen.

Global performance has also exceeded last year’s 6% rise to $1.135bn, with gross revenue standing at $1.2bn – a 6.5% increase on 2019. Financial metrics were strong across the board, with profit per equity partner (PEP) of $3m signalling a 16% increase on 2019’s $2.6m PEP figure.

Meanwhile, revenue per lawyer (RPL) saw an 8% increase to $1.35m from $1.25m last year.

Speaking to Legal Business, Sebastian Rice, partner in charge of the London office, said: ‘Financial restructuring has led the way and played a strong part in the performance with that team doing some very high-profile work. Corporate has been busy with partners that joined at the end of 2019. We only made one lateral hire in 2020 so it enabled us to fully integrate the 2019 hires so they could hit the ground running.’

Rice pointed to an impressive list of mandates from across the London office’s practice areas including: Advising a group of senior secured noteholders on the financial restructuring of Travelex, led by partner Liz Osborne; acting for creditors of Premier Oil on its merger with Chrysaor and the restructuring of $2.7bn of debt, led by Barry Russell and Lois Deasey; and advising Coller Capital on the restructuring of Permira’s fourth fund, with a value of more than $800m, led by Mary Lavelle.

Rice described the $2.5bn IPO and Nasdaq listing of Royalty Pharma plc, on which Harry Keegan in London and Stuart Leblang and David Antheil in the US advised, as ‘a marquee matter’. He also noted a win in the successful defence of Robert Foresman, vice chairman at UBS Investment Bank, in litigation arising from an investment in a consortium bidding for assets in the Yukos insolvency, led by Mark Dawkins.

After an expansive 2019 of nine lateral hires, the London office added only one new partner last year in the form of the well-regarded leveraged finance partner Amy Kennedy who joined from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in March 2020.

Rice is sanguine on the firm’s performance but places it in the context of wider upheaval amid the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We have been fortunate with how things have gone at the firm but obviously not with the way the world is looking at the moment. Following the strategy and focusing on our core strengths, sticking to that very carefully, and not growing for growth’s sake, has been a big part of our success. We’re confident we’ve got the right mix of practices and that we’ve got what we need to help clients respond to the challenges and opportunities that arise.’

He credited global chair Kim Koopersmith for her promotion of the firm’s culture of collaboration, its focus on diversity and inclusion, as well as its early investment in remote working, all of which have led the firm through challenging times.

Concluded Rice: ‘We have adjusted to a completely different reality and adapted to working from home, but people have been put under significant pressure with the schools shut or having to look after elderly relatives or living on their own. This presents huge challenges and we have invested a lot in supporting our people. We can’t meet clients, it’s a different way of working, but I’m incredibly proud of how the firm has adapted.’

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Legal Business Awards 2020 – Restructuring Team of the Year

Legal Business Awards 2020 – Restructuring Team of the Year

The entries were reviewed and our panel of general counsel judges delivered their verdicts: we are now delighted to reveal the winner of Restructuring Team of the Year for the 2020 Legal Business Awards.

This award recognises teams that have played a critical role on the most complex restructuring mandates of the year. In choosing the winner, judges were looking for clear examples of innovation and where the lawyers had achieved crucial outcomes for their clients.

 


 

 


Sponsored by

Major, Lindsey & Africa

Winner – Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

This feted City restructuring team won kudos from the judges for its work advising Croatian food and drinks, agriculture and retail conglomerate Agrokor on its landmark restructuring, led by partners James Roome and Liz Osborne.

Agrokor was Croatia’s largest corporate group, with more than 150 companies, 50,000 employees, annual revenues in excess of €5bn and around €5.2bn of debt owed to third parties. The transaction, which completed in April 2019, was complicated by a highly complex corporate structure and a diverse creditor group that included international and regional financial institutions, and roughly 6,000 trade and other non-financial institution creditors.

A new law was drafted and enacted by the Croatian parliament to deal with the impending liquidity and balance sheet crisis within the group, leading to the introduction of an extraordinary administration procedure into Croatian bankruptcy law.

Akin Gump advised Agrokor on the negotiation and implementation of a settlement plan under the new law, represented the interests of creditors and devised structures to deal with issues arising from international sanctions concerns and challenges to the claims of international creditors. Akin Gump also structured and documented the new equity and convertible bond arrangements.

The plan was approved by the statutory majority of creditors on 4 July 2018, and confirmed by the Commercial Court of Zagreb on 6 July 2018. This ground-breaking two-year restructuring was completed with the implementation of the settlement, enabling the new holding company, Fortenova Group, to take over the operative parts of Agrokor.

This highly-complex and large-scale process was a first for Croatia and saved a company of major importance to the country, the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe.

One testimonial read: ‘Agrokor was a complex and fraught restructuring taking place in a charged and political atmosphere. The team at Akin Gump… did a superb job in representing the interests of the lenders by building consensus with the pragmatic solutions the various interested parties could work with.

‘The AG restructuring team worked well across their firm to bring together finance, corporate, antitrust and regulatory experts. They worked under enormous pressure to a fixed statutory deadline and were instrumental in getting the settlement plan over the line.’

Highly Commended – Allen & Overy

Taking a lead creditor role in the $9.6bn restructuring of Steinhoff International’s European business following the group’s announcement of accounting irregularities in December 2017 has been a high point for A&O’s restructuring team.

A group of eight lenders to Steinhoff’s European businesses instructed the A&O team led by Earl Griffith, managing partner of A&O’s London restructuring group, to handle a multi-faceted and complex process that saw some 38 instruments of European debt having to be restructured.

A&O’s advice included a proposal to use an English company voluntary arrangement because no suitable creditor cramdown procedure exists in Austria; a novel accordion feature in the finance document and a permitted settlements regime that provides the Steinhoff group with the flexibility and scope over the next few years to seek to settle around €10bn of potential class action, shareholder and vendor litigation claims by accessing a ‘settlement basket’ of asset value without needing to seek creditor consent.

Other nominations

Dechert

Obtaining a landmark Supreme Court victory on behalf of creditors in the disputed restructuring of the International Bank of Azerbaijan. The bank had successfully applied to the English court to have its restructuring process recognised as a foreign main proceeding.

Kirkland & Ellis

Acting on behalf of Debenhams’ lead investors on the retailer’s successful restructuring. This involved a pre-pack administration to a creditor-owned Newco and the successful defence of the first-ever challenge to a CVA.

Milbank

Advising the ad hoc group of noteholders on the restructuring of Nyrstar, a global multi-metals business with over 4,000 employees, devising a strategy that returned greater value to the bondholders.

Pinsent Masons

Appointed by the administrators, Quantuma, to advise on all aspects of the pre-pack administration of Ince & Co, including providing regulatory guidance to Gordon Dadds on its takeover of the distressed law firm.

Shoosmiths

Shoosmiths’ corporate restructuring and advisory team has had a stellar year in the retail sector. It has acted on more retail CVAs than any other law firm over the past 12-18 months and has become widely known in the restructuring community as the go-to law firm for retail CVAs.

Legal Business

Akin Gump falls short of last year’s City revenue surge amid global growth and lateral push

Akin Gump falls short of last year’s City revenue surge amid global growth and lateral push

The London office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld may have failed to maintain 2018’s pacy revenue growth of 28% on the back of a restructuring bonanza, but globally the firm has reported steady global growth amid a sustained lateral push.

City turnover was broadly flat in 2019, rising only 1% to $125.1m from $123.5m after an exceptional 2018 that saw revenue surge dramatically from $96.2m. The global picture was stronger, with gross revenue increasing 6% from $1.07bn to $1.135bn and profit per equity partner (PEP) rising 8% to $2.6m from $2.4m the previous year.

Despite its more muted financial performance, London remains a top priority for global chair Kim Koopersmith (pictured), who has thrown her support behind the office since taking up the role in 2013, followed by the 2014 acquisition of 28 partners fronted by restructuring veteran James Roome from the ill-fated Bingham McCutchen. London is now the third largest office after New York and Washington DC, with all three offices seeing sustained partner growth throughout the financial year.

Sebastian Rice, partner in charge of the London office, told Legal Business: ‘We are very pleased with our 2019. Revenue has improved, revenue per lawyer is up and PEP has increased. Last year was focused on restructuring but this year the work has been a more balanced spread more evenly across restructuring, litigation, energy and emerging markets.’

Rice also pointed to the host of new partners in London as a particular highlight. ‘What we loved in 2019 was that there was growth across the whole office rather than in just one group,’ he said.

The firm particularly benefited from unrest at O’Melveny & Myers’ London branch as its fruitless merger talks with Allen & Overy dragged on. Private equity funds partners to jump ship to Akin Gump included John Daghlian and Mary Lavelle in June, following in the footsteps of Daniel Quinn and Aleksander Bakic in April. Gavin Weir’s hire in July from White & Case was a shot in the arm for its M&A practice, which has not been a historic focus. September saw even more lateral activity, with private equity partners Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey joining from Vinson & Elkins, a move shortly followed by the addition of Weyinmi Popo on the same practice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffle.

The hires have already started to pay dividends, with Lascelles and Rootsey acting for new client Helios Investment Partners, the largest Africa-focused private investment firm, as a major selling shareholders in Helios Towers’ $1.45bn initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange. ‘Success with a number of private equity clients has been a big part of what we have been trying to build out in the corporate team,’ says Rice.

The firm expects opportunities to recruit in the coming year in key areas but doesn’t anticipate the pace of growth to be at quite the same level as last year. Rice is sanguine: ‘We have been busy so far this year, with funds clients, private equity clients and restructuring mandates. Whatever happens, we have a strong offering in an up market and a down market. We are well positioned and well hedged. We have the building blocks for great things in 2020.’

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Akin Gump hires Orrick private equity player as Kirkland revisits Linklaters for tax lateral

Revolving doors: Akin Gump hires Orrick private equity player as Kirkland revisits Linklaters for tax lateral

City and US rivals in London have been continuing to ramp up lateral recruitment with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld adding its third private equity partner in the space of a month, Kirkland & Ellis hiring a tax partner from Linklaters and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) strengthening its employment bench.

Akin Gump hired private equity partner Weyinmi Popo from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe only a month after adding Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey to the bench from Vinson & Elkins in late September.

Popo advises UK and international sponsor and investor clients as well as family offices on private equity, M&A, infrastructure and energy transactions, with an emphasis on Africa. He will start at his new firm later this month.

Akin Gump’s chairperson Kim Koopersmith (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘London is clearly a market we’re focused on for growth, and you’ve seen us welcome a lot of great talent there recently. Much of that growth has been around the private equity space, which complements our other strengths very well and where we’ve identified a number of opportunities. Weyinmi’s practice and skillset fits in perfectly with that strategy. That, coupled with his focus on Africa, where we are seeing tremendous client interest, will make him a great fit.’

Meanwhile, Kirkland has returned to Linklaters to hire tax partner Mavnick Nerwal. He follows in the footsteps of fellow tax partner Tim Lowe who made the move from the Magic Circle firm to the Chicago-bred powerhouse in 2016.

Nerwal has experience in advising financial sponsors, including private equity and investment funds, corporates and financial institutions.

Meanwhile, BCLP has hired Adam Lambert as partner in the employment and labor group. Lambert joined the London office from Kingsley Napley where he focused on employment disputes and global transactions, advising across sectors including asset management, professional services, publishing, manufacturing and hospitality.

Partner and co-leader of the employment and labor team Rebecca Harding-Hill, told Legal Business: ‘Adam particularly fits in with us because of his global reach. He’s got a broad client base which covers financial services, professional services, publishing and hospitality. We have a lot of clients in financial services, so it broadens that out.’

Elsewhere, Clyde & Co has appointed Stefanie Johnston as partner in its global marine and insurance team in Glasgow.

Johnston joins from Keoghs where she helped to establish the firm’s Scottish presence. She will establish and build the firm’s marine offering in Scotland and will work closely with marine colleagues in the UK and globally.

Managing partner at Clyde & Co in Scotland, David Tait told Legal Business: ‘Stephanie has been a marine practitioner for a number of years. She has had clients follow her from firm to firm and it is hoped that when she comes to work for us, that those clients will continue to follow her and that she will grow the practice and build on the many years of experience she has in marine law.

‘We’ve got a significant marine practice in London and if they have any clients that require assistance on Scottish matters, we’ve got Stephanie here who can help them with that,’ added Tait.

Finally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton London corporate finance partner Andrew Shutter has left the firm after 22 years. Shutter joined the firm in 1997 and advised on a range of debt matters, including being an adviser for Greece’s public debt management agency regarding Greece’s debt negotiations in 2015.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

Revolving doors: Dentons and Akin Gump double up in London as Squire Patton Boggs offsets loss in the City

A busy week for lateral hires saw Dentons, Akin Gump and Squire Patton Boggs each make City hires as DLA Piper turned to Aviva to expand its pensions team.

Dentons said today (30 September) it had hired M&A and private equity partner Paul Doris from the London office of US firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He is the firm’s third corporate lateral hire in the last 18 months and advises financial sponsors, particularly in energy and infrastructure and in markets including Spain and Latin America.

Dentons’ UK corporate head David Collins (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘Paul’s skillset, sector focus and geographic coverage are all very much aligned to our strategy of building out a diversified corporate transactional practice in the UK which connects with our colleagues across the UK and the Dentons global platform.’

He added: ‘After what felt like a slightly extended summer break and pause in activity after a very busy first half of the year, we are back to high levels of activity across the team.’

Doris follows Dentons announcing last week it had hired restructuring and insolvency partner Richard Pallot-Cook in London. He re-joins from Simmons & Simmons and was previously a partner at Dentons.

Akin Gump, meanwhile, added two partners to its private equity practice, with Shaun Lascelles and Simon Rootsey joining the firm’s London office from Vinson & Elkins.

Partner in charge of Akin Gump’s London office, Sebastian Rice, told Legal Business: ‘We were very impressed with the work they’ve done, culturally they’re a great fit and we hope they will be a strong addition to our corporate team in terms of the clients they advise and the type of work they do.’

Akin Gump also hired finance partner Michael Gustafson to its London office from Pricoa Private Capital, where he was deputy chief legal officer. Gustafson was previously a partner at Bingham McCutchen before its London office joined Akin Gump in 2014.

‘The team who joined from Bingham McCutchen regarded Gustafson incredibly highly and he does very similar work to what we do. He’s coming back and we’re really excited to have him back,’ Rice added.

Squire Patton Boggs went both ways in London with the hire of banking partner Ian Yeo from Herbert Smith Freehills. The firm also lost employment partner Natalie Bellwood, however, to B2B IT services provider DXC Technology, where she becomes global head of employment.

Elsewhere, DLA hired Amrit McLean from Aviva, where she was propositions and sales director, as a partner to launch the firm’s pensions de-risking service. McLean has 13 years’ experience in pensions de-risking and pensions bulk annuity work.

UK head of pensions at DLA Piper Ben Miller told Legal Business: ‘There’s an awful lot of insurance that is being issued. There is a real need within the market for a really strong and comprehensive team led by somebody who has that sector experience and that’s what we’re able to do here.’

Finally, Osborne Clarke made a lateral hire from Thrings, bringing in Steve Schofield to its UK real estate practice, while in Poland, DWF appointed partner Paweł Stykowski as head of insurance in the firm’s Warsaw office. He joins from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland where he headed the financial services and compliance practice.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Deal View: Five years on – How Akin Gump’s Bingham acquisition turned bust to boom in the City

Deal View: Five years on – How Akin Gump’s Bingham acquisition turned bust to boom in the City

‘Our team was nearly twice the size of Akin Gump’s London team. There was potential for vulnerability on both sides. They didn’t want their entire lives disrupted by a very large cuckoo in the nest.’ Five years on, restructuring partner James Roome reflects on the potential pitfalls of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s 28-partner acquisition of the City arm of his former shop, Boston’s ill-fated Bingham McCutchen.

In contrast to more ostentatious US counterparts, the Texas-bred Akin Gump has since flown under the radar to turn Bingham’s bust into its boom, thanks largely to the trophy restructuring team fronted by Roome. City growth has culminated in a blistering 2018 run as revenue spiked 28% to $123.5m, catapulting it into Legal Business’ Global London top ten firms by revenue.

Legal Business

City O’Melveny exodus continues as Akin Gump hires private equity funds duo

City O’Melveny exodus continues as Akin Gump hires private equity funds duo

The London woes of Allen & Overy’s prospective merger partner O’Melveny & Myers have continued with the loss of private equity funds lawyers John Daghlian and Mary Lavelle to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

The path from O’Melveny to Akin Gump has become a well-trodden one of late after private equity funds partners Daniel Quinn and Aleksander Bakic decamped in April for the Texas-bred firm’s investment management practice and transactional platform in London.

Funds veteran Daghlian and Lavelle, who was previously counsel at O’Melveny but will join Akin Gump as a partner, join the same practice.

Daghlian joined O’Melveny in 2004 from legacy SJ Berwin and was chair of O’Melveny’s investment funds practice, advising on international and domestic private equity-driven transactions.

Lavelle advises fund managers and institutional investors on investment fund and asset management matters, as well as secondary transactions.

While O’Melveny’s London office has been depleted by a merger proposal which has failed to gain significant traction despite discussions going on for more than a year, A&O’s City office has so far been left relatively unscathed.

Germany has seen the most notable losses for A&O with Duesseldorf corporate partner Murad Daghles defecting to White & Case in December 2018, while global head of employment and benefits Tobias Neufeld and dispute resolution head Daniel Busse left to set up their own boutiques a couple of months earlier.

James Roome (pictured), senior partner in Akin Gump’s London office, said of the hires: ‘John and Mary’s arrival—and that of Danny and Aleks recently—will add really outstanding capabilities and experience to our top-tier funds practice. Being UK-qualified, they genuinely complement the established US-qualified private equity funds team in London and the US.’

Prakash Mehta, co-head of its firmwide investment management practice, said: ‘John and Mary are, strategically, an exceptionally good fit for Akin Gump. Our London funds team will now number eight partners across the core areas of private equity funds and hedge funds—and there are numerous connection points between London and the US.’

The firm’s private equity funds team in London will include six partners: new arrivals John Daghlian, Daniel Quinn, Aleksander Bakic, Mary Lavelle and established Akin Gump partners Christopher Gorman-Evans and John Holton.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Investing in strength’: Akin Gump’s City turnover spikes 28% amid restructuring bonanza

‘Investing in strength’: Akin Gump’s City turnover spikes 28% amid restructuring bonanza

The London office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has recorded a 28% revenue hike to $123.5m.

The City results, with revenue up from $96.2m, mark a blistering year on the back of a swathe of big-ticket transactions in the financial restructuring space and stand out against the more muted firm-wide revenue uptick of 3% from $1.04bn to $1.07bn.

Profit per partner (PEP) was flat at £2.4m compared with $2.38m the previous year and revenue per lawyer was unchanged at $1.21m.

The City office, which is made up of 26 equity partners and 110 lawyers, is now responsible for generating 12% of firm-wide revenue. The resurgence for London is something of a fillip after last year’s 9% revenue rise, which came on the back of a 4% dip in turnover to $87.9m in 2016.

Financial restructuring partner James Roome told Legal Business that standout matters for the firm included roles on the $3.5bn restructuring of bond and bank debt underpinning Noble Group and the ongoing work in relation to the restructuring of UK construction plc Interserve.

Sebastian Rice, corporate partner in charge of the London office, points to the lateral hires of energy partner Julian Nichol from Bracewell in March 2018 and that of financial restructuring partner Thomas O’Connor from Morgan Lewis in October 2018.

He commented: ‘They are good examples of adding people in core areas of strength, and it is proving a success.’

Akin Gump’s City results follow strong performances in London from other US firms. White & Case’s London revenue rose 7% to $350m as firm-wide revenue broke $2bn and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy recorded a 25% increase in London revenue, to $156m. Elsewhere, revenue for Goodwin Procter’s London office grew 58%, while King & Spalding was up 12%.

nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Akin rainmakers quit to launch Russia independent in further apocalyptic sign for Western firms

Akin rainmakers quit to launch Russia independent in further apocalyptic sign for Western firms

Lawyers have been speaking for months of a tough environment for international firms in sanction-battered Russia, but no event has been as emblematic as the news in September that two of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s top Moscow partners have quit to launch an independent firm.

Heavyweight litigator Ilya Rybalkin and corporate veteran Suren Gortsunyan launched Rybalkin, Gortsunyan & Partners (RGP), bringing across 11 other fee-earners from their former shop – now left with just 18 lawyers in Moscow.
While the US sanction regime bars US firms from supporting Kremlin-linked oligarchs, speaking to Legal Business Gortsunyan said Russian companies were becoming increasingly less comfortable with instructing Western advisers.

Legal Business

Ominous signs for western firms in Russia as Akin Gump team quits to launch local independent

Ominous signs for western firms in Russia as Akin Gump team quits to launch local independent

The latest sign that life in Russia is getting tough for international firms came today (5 September) as two of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s key Moscow partners quit to launch an independent firm.

Heavyweight litigator Ilya Rybalkin and corporate veteran Suren Gortsunyan have launched Rybalkin, Gortsunyan & Partners (RGP) alongside 11 associates, counsel and paralegals from the US firm – a team which claims to have been involved in transactions cumulatively worth over $80bn.

The move comes as growing tensions between Russia and the West and US sanctions against leading Russian business owners are increasingly hindering western firms from servicing Moscow clients.

‘A team spin-off of this calibre and scale from a leading international firm is unprecedented in the Russian legal market,’ said Rybalkin, who was one of the top earners at legacy Hogan & Hartson before quitting shortly after its 2010 merger with Lovells and is credited with building up Akin Gump’s key Russian dispute resolution and investigations practice.

His clients included investment group Renova, whose owner Viktor Vekselberg was included in the latest US sanctions on 6 April and who saw billions of dollars in foreign assets frozen. The sanction regime also prevents US firms from supporting individuals included in the lists, a clear issue for western law firms with a large Russian client base.

‘At a time when sanctions and other geopolitical measures are distracting law firms from their main goal of serving clients, we expect to attract further senior lawyers from international law firms, added Rybalkin.

Alongside Rybalkin and fellow Hogan Lovells alumni Gortsunyan, former Akin Gump counsel Oleg Isaev will also start as partner at the new firm, which aims to have at least 15 fee-earners by the end of the year.

RGP will work with Akin Gump on a non-exclusive basis, including on current matters. Akin Gump’s Moscow office is now left with 18 lawyers.

Sebastian Rice, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s firm’s London office, said that the move will allow the team ‘to continue to support a number of established client relationships which would be impossible for Akin Gump to serve in the current international regulatory environment’.

‘We are disappointed that current events have resulted in their departure, and look forward to working with them closely in the future, where we are able to do so.’

Once regarded as the western legal elite’s El Dorado, international firms have been on the slide in Russia since the invasion of Crimea in 2014, which prompted the US and EU to publish subsequent lists of sanctioned Kremlin-linked oligarchs and plunged the local economy into financial crisis.

The Russian operations of international firms has been under increased scrutiny lately, with Britain’s foreign affairs select committee criticising Linklaters for its role in the $1.5bn IPO of energy company En+, owned by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Meanwhile, even New York firms like Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Skadden Arps Meagher & Flom, which built a substantial part of their business on Russian clients, have scaled down their local presence since 2014.

Marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk