(Mark Guthrie)

Andrei Baev, the head of Chadbourne & Parke’s Moscow office, has left the firm ahead of its proposed combination with Norton Rose Fulbright to join Reed Smith.

Baev’s departure, first noted by The American Lawyer two weeks ago, comes two years after he joined Chadbourne from British firm Berwin Leighton Paisner. Baev split his time between Chadbourne’s offices in London and Moscow.

His practice focuses on major projects in all areas of the oil and gas sector, including the financing of cross-border pipeline projects. Baev has experience working on major independent power, nuclear power, mining and telecommunications projects.

“Andrei will especially help connect our energy and natural resources practice with our financial industry group, our trade finance teams, our Kazakhstan office and our rapidly expanding international arbitration practice,” said a statement by Prajakt Samant, chair of Reed Smith’s energy and natural resources industry group.

Baev’s departure from Chadbourne is the latest exit from the New York-based firm, which is poised to combine with Norton Rose Fulbright. The American Lawyer, via sibling publication Legal Week, reported earlier this month on Covington & Burling opening new offices in Dubai and Johannesburg after recruiting a roughly 30-lawyer team from Chadbourne.

Alston & Bird also recently added Paul Tanck, chair of Chadbourne’s IP practice, as a partner in New York, where corporate and project finance partner Margarita Oliva Sainz de Aja joined Baker McKenzie in January to develop the global legal giant’s Latin American finance practice. Cooley picked up a three-partner arbitration team from Chadbourne in December.

Reed Smith, meanwhile, has made a number of other significant recent hires this year. In January, the firm welcomed a 50-strong team—including 17 partners—from King & Wood Mallesons in Germany, London and Paris. Reed Smith announced last week its addition of Pinsent Masons energy projects and construction arbitration partner Peter Rosher in Paris.

Earlier this year, Reed Smith recruited Jonathan Cahn, head of the emerging markets energy strategies group at Dentons, as a partner for its energy and natural resources group in Beijing and Washington, D.C. Baev will work out of Reed Smith’s London office, as the firm does not have a presence in Moscow.

The American Lawyer reported last month on U.S. firms continuing to experience a bear market in Russia, which has been under Western sanctions as a result of its backing of pro-Kremlin separatists in neighboring Ukraine.