9 December 2022
The Number of Law Firms in Russia Remained the Same | сommentary by Denis Arkhipov for Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Despite the difficult year 2022, the workload in the legal business has not decreased, but the specifics have changed. <...>

New alignment of forces

The year 2022 has completely changed the structure that existed in the legal market for the past 30 years: many international law firms are gone. However, the teams working in the country – with a few exceptions – remained, but they gave up the familiar brand and legal ties with their parent organizations. <...>

The departure of foreign law firms has opened up new opportunities for Russian businesses. On the one hand, this is good. "On the other hand, the withdrawal of foreign firms leads to a decrease in competition, which may lower the standard of legal services", says Denis Arkhipov, Co-head of Litigation Practice and Managing Partner of the Moscow office of Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners. 

Denis Arkhipov believes that overall the total number of law firms on the Russian market has remained the same. Furthermore, some of the clients who used to work with Western law firms in Russia stayed with them even after the rebranding. However, for the Russian offices of Western firms, a significant amount of work was associated with raising finance in Western markets, Western investment in the Russian economy and projects coming from head offices in other jurisdictions: this part of the work for many firms was lost. <...>

Promising legal practices

Experts say that there has been a significant increase in enquiries related to the acquisition of a working Russian business that has found itself in insolvency while still maintaining a production cycle, logistics and staffing. In addition, there have been requests related to the acquisition by domestic businesses of assets of foreign businesses leaving Russia. <...>

"The number of requests from businesses has increased for asset restructuring, development of new logistics chains, currency regulation, arrangement of cross-border payments, and transfer of disputes from foreign arbitration to Russian courts," adds Denis Arkhipov of Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners. – “Throughout the year, businesses needed prompt advice on restrictive measures taken by Russian regulators". <...>

The Russian economy is reorienting: the statistics show an increasing number of business transactions with the Eastern countries, which causes a closer integration and the possible emergence of new players, including in the legal market. However, lawyers are not yet expecting Eastern law firms to come to Russia. <...> "Firms from the East are unlikely to open offices in Russia: our legal market is highly competitive and saturated, in addition, we can expect its reduction due to various phenomena in the economy", adds Denis Arkhipov.

Alexander Moskovkin, https://rg.ru/2022/12/09/zashchita-v-interese.html 

Rossiyskaya Gazeta - Special Issue: Events of the Year No 279(8927)

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Denis Arkhipov

Denis Arkhipov

Moscow, Limassol