Kazakhstan-Map

White & Case has closed its office in Almaty, leaving it with one base in Kazakhstan.

The two lawyers in the Almaty office have relocated to the firm’s base in Astana, following the closure at the end of June. The firm said the move was to focus its operations on its “business and finance hub” in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.

White & Case has had a presence in the country since opening in Almaty in 1995. Major mandates for the firm have included its lead role for Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank on its $12.2bn (£8.4bn) restructuring in 2010. The firm subsequently launched in Astana in 2013.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, the US firm this summer changed its relationship with Ankara firm Cakmak Avukatlik Burosu from an association to a formalised best friend alliance. The move, which took place this July, will enable the Turkish firm to operate on a more independent basis.

In Istanbul, White & Case operates via an association with local firm Cakmak-Gokce Avukatlik Burosu, an agreement the firm says it has no plans to change.

Last September, White & Case Washington partner Earle O’Donnell stepped in to run the firm’s Turkey business after the departure of Istanbul managing partner Meltem Akol. The firm also relocated Ankara project finance partner Zeynep Cakmak to Istanbul.

Foreign firms are not permitted to practice Turkish law under their own banner. In the past few years, several other foreign players have chosen to enter the market through associations and alliances.