Kremlin complex in Moscow
Kremlin complex in Moscow (Martha de Jong-Lantink / Flickr)

Eversheds Sutherland is opening three new offices in Russia and Luxembourg, with a series of team hires from Simmons & Simmons and Nordic firm Hannes Snellman.

The firm is moving into Russia via the acquisition of Hannes Snellman’s entire operation in the country, which comprises bases in Moscow and St Petersburg staffed by five partners and 17 other lawyers.

The Russian operation will be headed up by corporate partner Victoria Goldman, who was managing partner of both Hannes Snellman offices.

The other partners joining are real estate partner Yury Pugach, litigation partner Luke Wochensky, corporate partner Anu Mattila and corporate partner Mikhail Timonov. The Russia team will offer a range of corporate legal services, with an emphasis on real estate, litigation, M&A and corporate crime and investigations.

Hannes Snellman entered the Russia market in 2006 as part of its acquisition of Finnish firm ETL Law Offices. The Russia spinoff leaves the firm with just two bases, in Helsinki and Stockholm.

In a statement, Hannes Snellman senior partner Johan Aalto said: “After more than a decade of serving clients in the Russian market, it is time to hand over the reins to Eversheds Sutherland, a firm which is more than well equipped to further develop the solid practice at hand. We are confident that both clients and staff will be pleased with the opportunities that this new chapter brings.”

Meanwhile, Eversheds is also opening in Luxembourg today (6 September) with the hire of two partners and five associates from Simmons.

The office will be led by investment funds partners Jose Ignacio Pascual Gutierrez and Viviane de Moreau d’Andoy, both of who joined Simmons in 2015 to launch a Luxembourg base for the firm.

The exits leave the firm with three partners in Luxembourg - country head Louis-Mael Cogis, tax partner Pierre-Regis Dukmedjian, and capital markets partner Alan Davies, who is currently on secondment from London. It is understood that the firm plans to build on this team following the departures.

The three new bases take Eversheds’ global office count to 66 around the world. Co-chief executive Lee Ranson said: “The strategic expansion of our global platform is a key element of our 2020 vision, and one which continues to gather real momentum. Luxembourg and Russia are both a natural fit for us in terms of our client base, practice strength and geography.”

Eversheds, which has long sought a Russia presence, was previously allied to Russia’s Capital Legal Services (CLS), and in 2013 the firms held advanced discussions about CLS joining Eversheds’ international network. It is understood that this relationship has now ended. Eversheds also previously had an alliance with Russian firm Monastyrsky Zyuba Stepanov & Partners

Eversheds has been expanding rapidly of late. Last month, the firm opened a three-partner office in Duesseldorf via the acquisition of local firm Grooterhorst & Partners, and earlier this year the firm sealed a merger deal with Singapore’s Harry Elias Partnership, not long after its transatlantic tie-up with US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan went live on 1 February.

Further US growth is already on the agenda for the newly merged firm, with co-CEO Mark Wasserman identifying Chicago and the west coast as likely targets.