15 Mar 2022 16:28

Baker McKenzie, pioneer among global law firms in Russia, exiting market

MOSCOW. March 15 (Interfax) - Chicago-based Baker McKenzie, currently with offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, is exiting the Russian market, the international law firm said in a press release posted on its website.

The operations in Moscow and St. Petersburg will become an independent law firm.

"After 33 years operating in the country, Baker McKenzie's current Russia operations, across both Moscow and St. Petersburg, will become an independent law firm," according to the press release.

Baker McKenzie opened an office in Moscow in 1989, becoming the first international law firm in Russia, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. The Russian offices currently have more than 260 employees, including 130 lawyers.

Baker McKenzie's announcement fits into the trend of international companies' exiting Russia since the end of February 2022, including those providing professional services. Previously, New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which had been present on the Russian market since 1991, announced the temporary cessation of operations in Moscow. Norton Rose Fulbright, an international law firm based in the United States, has also announced the curtailment of activities in Russia and the closure of its Moscow offices.

Several days ago, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, a law firm with American and British roots, also announced its intentions to leave Russia, with the Russian office team planning to continue operating as an independent law firm. The law firm White & Case, which has offices in more than three dozen countries, also intends to close its offices in Moscow and terminate relations with government agencies in Russia and Belarus.

Additionally, the Big Four accounting firms PwC, EY, KPMG, and Deloitte had previously announced the separation of their respective Russian offices from the international networks.