Russia

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body:  Федеральной палате адвокатов РФ (FPARF)

Competition authority: Федеральная Антимонопольная Служба (FAS Russia)

Financial regulator: Центральный банк Российской Федерации (CBR)

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets: Debt, Capital markets: Equity, M&A, Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency

Energy and infrastructure (published June) – Energy, Mining, PPP/PFI

Jurisdiction overview

The Russian legal system is in the process of undergoing radical change. For several years now the government has been implementing significant changes to the Civil Code, with a view to modernising Russian law. These are wide-ranging, covering many different practice areas, and are central to the government’s goal of making Moscow a global centre for business and finance. The changes will mean more work can be done using Russian legislation, as opposed to the presently-preferred UK law. Alongside that, it has been involved in an ongoing process of deoffshorisation, bringing Russian money back to the mainland and limiting the outward flow to places such as Cyprus.

That whole process has stalled in recent years as the country faces a perfect storm of political and economic troubles. US and EU sanctions, coupled with persistently low commodity prices, have left the economy imperilled. The legal system has had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and the nature of the work being done has shifted significantly.

Traditionally, the Russian market was dominated by international firms, with all the most significant financial and corporate matters dealt with by teams connected to the UK, the US or Europe. The changes to the legal system, however, have necessitated more Russian language documentation being included on deals, making it often necessary to have a native Russian speaker on each team. That being the case, the domestic Russian firms that had previously largely focused on arbitration or litigation matters are increasingly being seen on more significant financial and corporate ones. Particularly on large-scale projects, where the federal government has eased restrictions on regional government procurement, these domestic firms are picking up an increasing slice of the pie.

The other ongoing trend in the Russian market is the pivot away from the West towards China and the East. High demand for raw materials and expedient political motives have seen that move happening at a faster rate in recent years and China can only expect its influence in Moscow to grow. At the highest political level trade agreements have been secured by the leaders of the two countries, and commercially there is increasing interest from Chinese companies in investing in Central Asian or Siberian projects and facilities. 

However, while Western teams have shrunk and domestic influence has grown, it has merely closed what was a very wide gap. Major UK, US and European firms remain the biggest players in Moscow and will likely be so for many years to come.

Jon Moore – Journalist EMEA

Financial and corporate
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

The team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is most noted for its project work in the energy sector, where it ranks among the best in Russia, as well as for the work of its M&A team.

One of the major matters the banking team worked on during the research saw it acting for Lukoil on a $500 million financing packaging to fund the development of the Gissar gas fields in Uzbekistan.

The M&A team is one of the firm’s strongest practices and it continues to secure some of the most impressive mandates in the market, that has recently included major transactions in the oil and gas and technology sectors in particular.

Project work is perhaps were the firm is the strongest, especially for energy. Most recently, however, the firm has been engaged on multiple matters for oil and gas giant Lukoil.

One notable change to the team during the research period saw the retirement of partner Fred Heller from the banking practice.

Beyond its work for Lukoil, the firm has also recently been engaged in major assignments for companies such as Renova, Sistema and USM Private Equity.

Allen & Overy

Banking work is where the Russian branch of magic circle firm Allen & Overy really excels in Moscow, where it ranks among the very best in the market.

In the banking space the firm acts for most of the major banking institutions in Moscow for a range of different sectors. Most of the work involves the provision of facilities to clients, but there is also some regular asset finance work and other more complex instruments as well.

The capital markets team has a strong focus on debt work, one example being its advice to GTLK Europe on its $500 million debut Eurobond.

The M&A team remains active in the market, most notably in the transportation and oil and gas sectors.

Project work is one of the areas the firm excels in, especially in the financing space. One example of its recent work sees it acting for Yamal in connection with the shipping aspects of its project to transport LNG from its plant in North West Siberia to Asia and Europe.

Aviation and energy matters dominate the firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice at the moment, reflecting the challenges faced in both those markets in Russia at present.

The one notable change to the team recently saw the arrival of counsel Belinda Mancktelow from Freshfields Bruckhaus and Deringer, who joined the corporate practice.

Major clients not yet mentioned include VEB Leasing, Sberbank of Russia and Gazprombank.

Client feedback

“They are the best in the market according the various sources and we have a long history of successful cooperation with their lawyers from Moscow and London offices.” - Banking

“The Moscow team of Allen & Overy has always been a first priority choice for us in all of our most complex and strategically important cross-border transactions, including strategic M&A, shareholder financing and other matters arranged by us for our key accounts.” – Banking, M&A

“I really enjoy working with the A&O Moscow team due to its proactive role on transactions so that I can handle multiple projects at the same time, its constructive approach in negotiations, good knowledge of the oil and gas industry and flexible pricing. Each of these strengths is particularly important for me.” – M&A, Project development

Ilya Dvorkin

“Ilya is an outstanding professional and knows his area exceptionally well. He is always available for a consultation and always is able to meet a very challenging deadlines.”

Igor Gorchakov

“Igor is a versatile banking lawyer, who has a 360-degree view on every issue that arises in the course of a transaction. He is assisted by top-notch Russian senior associates Sergey Blinov and Ivan Kozhev, who are bright, efficient and enthusiastic lawyers with strong experience in financing transactions and that are available 24/7.”

Gareth Irving

“Gareth Irving is the lead English law lawyer on the ground. He drafts very well and has sufficient experience to understand specifics of the deals we do and our internal needs.”

Stephen Matthews

“Excellent, highly recommended, with dedication, knowledge, a willingness to do more and assist in all possible ways.”

“We are consistently receiving top shelf legal advice from this team, namely Stephen Matthews regarding any English law matter. Stephen is an exceptional finance lawyer.”

Bulat Zhambalnimbuev

“Bulat has the strengths and skills I would normally like to see in an external counsel. In particular, I like that he is proactive, leads the process and aggressively negotiates opposite our counterparties (though he is not fighting for the sake of fighting).

Alrud

Alrud is an independent domestic law firm that has been operating from its Moscow base for over 25 years. 

In the banking and finance space, the firm has been involved in several refinancing and regulatory matters across the construction and banking sectors recently. Acquisition finance has also been a strength. 

Its capital markets team has been primarily engaged with domestic debt work. In one standout example, it advised a petrochemicals company on a $1.75 billion bond issuance programme intended to finance the construction of a Western Siberian petrochemical complex.

In the M&A space, the firm has provided buy-side and sell-side counsel on multiple private acquisitions. It also instructed Schlumberger, a technology supply company, on regulatory and compliance issues throughout its high-profile, $14.8 billion merger with Cameron International.

The firm’s project finance and development practice has had a broad sector focus, although construction and real estate work has been especially prevalent. Domestic joint venture matters have featured heavily, while it has also represented banks on project finance matters, advising the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, for example, on financing for the construction and development of a $390 million power plant.

Debt restructuring and complex creditor-side bankruptcy disputes have dominated the firm’s restructuring and insolvency work.

Its most notable clients include the Bank of Baroda, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Gazpromneft and Total.

Client feedback

“They are good quality for legal services and efficient for communication.” – Banking

“The team is very knowledgeable, has very good attention to detail and provides very actionable advice.” – Financial services regulatory

“The firm’s strengths are that it is very responsive and available 24/7.” – M&A

“The team provide very thoughtful and accurate analysis with a business-oriented approach.” – M&A

“Alrud possesses a network of highly professional lawyers with an excellent command of the English language and great knowledge of the law. Its professionals are internationally minded and understand the needs of an international business with investments in Russia. It is a reliable law firm and has good understanding of the domestic market.” – M&A, project finance and development, restructuring and insolvency

“They have good commercial understanding and a strong knowledge of local law. Beyond that, their fee quote is competitive and reasonable.” – Project finance

“We have been working with Alrud on a number of insolvency-related litigation matters. Its lawyers are very responsible, professional and have helped us a lot.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Anton Dzhuplin

“Anton is committed to new assignments, ready to work 24/7 and is a good choice for Russian law advice with international quality.”

“Anton Dzhuplin is a very good lawyer, very responsive and accessible and also very much commercially minded.”

Anton Dzhuplin, Ekaterina Mayorokova

“They are capable of handling important legal issues and understand the international business needs.”

Boris Ostroukhov

“He is a responsible and hard-working lawyer with a deep legal understanding.”

Olga Pimanova

“She always gets back to us promptly with high-quality work and gives us great follow-up.”

Alexander Zharskiy

“He is a decision-maker for finding the best way to achieve the client's goal.”

ALTHAUS Legal

ALTHAUS Legal is a domestic firm that offers a broad variety of legal services.

The firm’s banking and finance team has advised borrowers on loan and credit agreements recently, while its capital markets work has been comprised heavily of debt matters, having instructed on a variety of bond issuance programmes.

In the M&A space the technology sector has been a key focus, while energy and real estate have also been important sectors for the firm. It has primarily acted on private acquisitions, advising both buyers and sellers in the process. In one recent standout transaction, the firm acted for Yota Devices, who sold a 30% stake in their business to a Hong Kong investor for $46.2 million.

The one significant change to the firm’s roster during the research period saw Alexander Akhmetbekov leave the M&A team in October 2016, joining the Renova Group. 

Its most notable clients include Bank St Petersburg, SD Ventures and IFC Global.

Client feedback

“The firm has a strong legal practice in cross-border acquisitions. Their legal team demonstrates a deep understanding of the local law and its correlation with the laws of other jurisdictions, especially common law jurisdictions.” – Banking, M&A

“A wonderful team of well-educated, experienced and inspired-by-their-job people. They have a quick response time, a comfortable format of communication and an acceptable price.” – Banking, M&A

“I assess highly the quality of the firm's work on our deals, both on due diligence and drafting assignments. The firm’s main strength is a complex approach to advising on M&A deals and complex matters as well as deep knowledge of Russian law and the particularities of local business practice. In comparison to some international firms Althaus provides more value for money for legal services – a more tailored and personal approach and responsiveness – where the other firms might only have a broader coverage of different legal areas.” – M&A

Ilya Smirnov

“Ilya is a very strong lawyer with excellent knowledge of Russian law and a very good understanding of the international aspect of the business.”

“I rate the work of Ilya very highly. He always stays online and responds quickly to any matter, even if sometimes he can pay too much attention to a minor detail.”

“Experienced lawyer who is prompt in their responses and has a profound view of the situation.”

Larisa Tikhomirova

“She is very technically strong on drafting assignments, having her previous background at one of the big international legal firms.”

Andrey Gorodissky & Partners

Andrey Gorodissky & Partners is a domestic firm that specialises in corporate and M&A work. 

Most of the firm’s activity has consisted of private acquisition work, advising buyers and sellers in roughly equal measure. While involved in a few cross-border matters, the majority of its work has been domestic – the most significant of which saw the firm instruct Otkritie Holding on its buyout of Russian mining company AGD, in a deal worth $1.45 billion.

It has also overseen the establishment of a real estate joint venture. 

Some of the firm’s most important clients include the Volga Group, VEB Bank for Development and Finstar Financial Group.

Client feedback

“This firm would be my first choice for a standard M&A/equity mezzanine deal in Russia. The team is deal-focused, business-oriented and able to quickly and efficiently identify real business risks and offer appropriate solutions. They are also tough negotiators. However, the firm is quite small, so it occasionally lacked the resources needed to handle all of its assignments.” –M&A, restructuring and insolvency

“We would turn to AGP when we need top-level expertise, with a mature, hands-on approach from a firm that has a record of delivering consistently great results.” – M&A, Capital markets: equity, Restructuring and insolvency

“It is very solid practice, led by experienced lawyers who offer good advice from both a legal and business perspective.” – M&A

Alexey Gorodisskiy

“He possesses in-depth practice area knowledge and an ability to offer quick and efficient solutions for complex issues.”

“Alexey always provides a business-oriented approach and tailored advice. In addition, he always finds the right solution for his clients and has significant expertise in corporate, M&A and IP matters.”

“Alexey is a star lawyer – the go-to man for complex and challenging business problems.”

“He is experienced, reliable, and business-oriented.”

“Alexey leads a professional team, has a great understanding of market trends, always provides the highest standards of support and has a strong track record in corporate/M&A work. I would definitely recommend him.”

Baker McKenzie

US firm Baker McKenzie has a strong mining practice in Russia, considered one of the best in the market, and also performs well in both debt and restructuring work.

Banking, transportation and retail are just some of the areas covered by the firm’s banking practice, with regular lending and amendments to existing agreements making up the bulk of the work.

The debt capital markets team’s work is dominated by financial services clients, including some of the biggest names in Russia. One example of its recent work saw it acting for the dealer UBS in relation to the update of Alfa-Bank's $5 billion EMTN programme and two issues of $400 million and $300 million loan participation notes thereunder.

One notable deal on the equity side of things saw the team advising ROS AGRO on the public offering of $250 million of GDRs listed on the LSE.

The M&A team remains active, notable in media, mining and pharmaceuticals during the research period.

Mining also features heavily in the team’s project work, alongside oil and gas matters for clients such as the Alliance Mining Group and the Rostec Corporation.

The firm’s work in the restructuring and insolvency space is focused on dispute resolution, where it has been working for a number of clients in the retail and construction sectors.

The M&A team welcomed a new counsel to the practice during the research period with the arrival of Alevtina Kamelkova from Nokia, who boosts its IT and communications experience.

Key clients not mentioned included corporate entities like Condé Nast and Gazprom Neft alongside banking groups such as Promsvyazbank and Absolut Bank.

Client feedback

“I would see as the strength the common sense the firm’s work is always based on. There are no restrictions for the sake of restrictions.” – Capital markets: Debt

“I am generally satisfied with the quality and timing of work product delivered by the firm. Obviously, the quality depends on the individual lawyers involved in the project and providing advice. The firm has a wide variety of practices, which makes it the best choice when you need advice on a wide variety of matters and also when you need specialised and industry specific advice. The team is up to speed with the legal developments in the Russian market and provides timely advice on the changes that may impact the industry of the client. This is very much appreciated considering the constantly changing legal climate in the country. As with many law firms, Baker McKenzie sometimes gets theoretical in its advice and tends to recommend a conservative approach, but this is balanced with the ability to consider and suggest alternative/non-standard scenarios.” – M&A

“I am very happy with the quality of the advice received to date. The lawyers who are advising us are responsive and keep up to date with what's going on in the local market. This is particularly helpful when managing operations from overseas.” – M&A, restructuring and insolvency

“Easy communication and professional agility.” – Project development

Andrei Afanasiev

“Andrei was the lead corporate lawyer for a recent M&A project. He possesses the in-depth knowledge of Russian corporate law – both theoretical and practical – and helped a lot with defending our position in the negotiations.”

Alexander Gomonov

“Big picture overview and high acumen, providing not just a legal advice but a multi-sided business analysis.”

Sergey Krokhalev

“Sergey is responsive and able to provide useful input in respect of local market practice. He is also a pleasure to work with.

“Sergey is best when it comes at making the right impression on business people. He went when we needed an outside legal counsel to go to our headquarters in US and present the legal position of the deal. The business people were very impressed with his depth of understanding of the project and ability to consider all possible details/issues.”

Alexander Monin

“Alexander is extremely helpful in finding the right experts in his firm and making sure that the work is delivered on time and is of a good quality. He is knowledgeable, understands our industry and is capable of delivering advice which is both helpful and client friendly.”

BGP Litigation

BGP Litigation is a domestic firm, based in Moscow, which boasts a particularly strong restructuring and insolvency team.

While possessing wide industry expertise, the energy, construction and banking sectors have been of particular focus. 

Joint ventures have been central to its M&A work. Most notably, the firm advised on the establishment of a $600 million cross-border joint venture between a South Korean manufacturing company and a Russian shipbuilding subsidiary. It has also provided counsel to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in relation to a high-profile corporate conflict. 

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice has been primarily concerned with bankruptcy matters, working alongside debtors and creditors alike. Many of its clients have been banks. This has included the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, who faced multi-jurisdictional insolvency proceedings and sought the recovery of $550 million in debts, where it successfully challenged the wrongful transfer of a valuable Russian asset.

It’s restructuring and insolvency team was strengthened by the arrival of Alexey Nechaev from Nort Group in November 2016. 

The firm’s key clients include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Gazprom Neft, Russian Utility Systems and UniCredit Bank.

Client feedback

“The firm provided clear, understandable information and resolved matters in an effective manner. They are a very active team and possess great expertise in various areas of law.” – Banking and finance, Capital markets

Evgeny Alekseev

“He is a trustworthy and highly professional lawyer.”

Borenius

From its St Petersburg office, Finnish firm Borenius advises both Russian and foreign clients in relation to a variety of domestic and cross-border matters. The oil and gas, chemical and real estate sectors have been areas of considerable focus.

Its banking and finance team have structured a number of investment projects and provided counsel to lenders in relation to project loans. It has also worked on several real estate transactions. 

In M&A, divestiture issues have dominated. One mandate saw the firm assist Mercantile divest its Russian automotive business in a small-cap transaction that is characteristic of the work undertaken in this space.

Many of the specific details pertaining to the firm’s restructuring and insolvency work are confidential. However, it has represented the interests of creditors through bankruptcy proceedings, while one publishable, litigious matter saw it advise Agravis Raiffeisen in a dispute regarding non-payment of VAT in the state commercial court.

Some of the firm’s key clients include Kesko, the Paroc Group, Vostok Nafta, Mara Rich Real Estate and Pleeco.

Borodin & Partners

Borodin & Partners is an independent domestic law firm that specialises in restructuring and insolvency work. It has operated across a wide variety of industries, including the food, energy and construction sectors.

The firm has worked with creditors and debtors alike in a wide variety of bankruptcy matters. These have included the sale of distressed assets, the recovery of receivables and the successful registration of creditors’ claims. 

One recent interesting case saw the firm assist in the insolvency proceedings of a Russian smelting firm. In the process, it prevented the attempted unlawful sale of assets worth more than R1 billion, thereby avoiding probable liquidation. 

Sberbank of Russia, Ertan, Liski-Hleb and Yugovostoktechmontazh are among the firm’s key clients. 

Client feedback

“Borodin & Partners was recommended to us by clients who were happy with the results of their collaboration. In our region they are considered to be the best legal team. We are satisfied with their cooperation, professionalism and quality of their work.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“As a bank we can only trust highly professional firms like Borodin & Partners. We have been pleased with their high quality of work, individual approach and responsibility.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“A reliable legal firm that can be trusted. Their professionals carry out the job efficiently and quickly.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“The firm offers professionalism, efficiency and a great experience.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Oleg Sklyadnev

“Oleg is a conscientious, experienced and qualified technician who quickly solves problems and knows the legal system.

“Oleg is quick thinking and has extensive experience. He is responsible and decent and does the job at a high professional level.”

Svetlana Sotnikova

“Svetlana is a professional who knows her work and offers an unconventional approach.”

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

The Russian office of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (formerly Goltsblat BLP) is best known in Russia for its work in the M&A and projects space, in the latter mostly for mining work.

One of the more significant matters the banking team worked on during the research period saw it advising CityJet in connection with negotiating a framework agreement for delivery of 15 firm and 16 optional aircraft, with a total deal value of more than $1 billion.

The M&A team was particularly active in the transportation and real estate sectors, one example of which saw it advising the Rossium Group on the acquisition of a 90.99% stake in ONEXIM's OPIN.

Perhaps the most notable ongoing work of the projects team sees it acting for Nord Stream 2 as it continues to develop it controversial pipeline system from Russia through Northern Europe.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice has a pretty varied roster of clients, though it notably serves a number in the automotive and real estate sectors.

The team welcomed a couple of new additions from K&L Gates in August 2016: partner Sergey Milanov and senior associate Georgy Daneliya.

Major clients of the firm include ICBC International Leasing, Vnesheconombank and Intel Capital.

Client feedback

“Good knowledge of the applicable law, very active approach during the assignment.” – Asset finance

“Very good level of services, qualified team, reasonable fees.” – Banking

“There are not any weaknesses. They work hard at a high professional level.” – Corporate restructuring

“Good, solid law firm with great attention to the client. They are also reasonably priced.” – M&A

“Highly competent and supportive in negotiations with counterparty, resourceful and accurate in their work.” – Project development

“This is the only firm that I use or recommend in the Russian Federation. They have the appropriate attention to detail and concern which my clients demand of me and I demand of counsel to whom I refer matters.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Ekaterina Dedova

“High level of responsiveness and very deep knowledge and understanding of the client's need. High level of professionalism.”

Matvey Kaploukhiy

“He has bright analytical skills.”

Oleg Khokhlov

“Very responsible, excellent knowledge of law.”

Rustam Kurmaev

“He has excellent English and is attuned to the needs of multinational corporations and referring counsel. He understands ROI and cost-benefit analysis in assessing a decision matrix.”

Anton Panchenkov

“Great M&A lawyer. He has a good knowledge of industry and country coupled with a friendly and professional approach.”

Tatiana Parshak

“Effective and commercially-oriented assistance in a wide scope of issues.”

Anton Sitnikov

“Very good in deal structuring, negotiations and strategy.”

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Captial markets and M&A work are where US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton really stamps its mark on the Russia market, being considered one of the best available in both areas.

The banking team recently advised the Eurasian Resources Group on a dual-track refinancing involving negotiations with VTB in parallel with negotiations with another major Russian lender.

In the capital markets space, one of the more notable matters the team acted on saw it advising the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, on the issuance of $1.75 billion bonds.

The M&A team continues to work on some of the bigger matters in the Russian market, exemplified by its recent work for the Qatar Investment Authority as part of a consortium on the acquisition of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft for €10.2 billion from Rosneftegaz.

The project team continues to advise a wide range of clients, both Russian and international, on a range of matters relating to ongoing projects, with a number of disputes and arbitrations making up the bulk of the work.

The restructuring and insolvency practice remains active in the market advising clients on different matters related to their various restructurings.

Notable other clients of the firm include the Tele2, Rusal and Lenta.

Clifford Chance

Magic circle firm Clifford Chance is a very familiar name in the Moscow market, especially so in banking where it ranks among the best in the country.

One recent example of the work of the banking team sees it advising Deutsche Bank, ING, UniCredit and Natixis as the coordinating committee of 25 banks in connection with the $2.5 billion debt restructuring of Ukranian steel group Metinvest.

Banking clients dominate the firm’s recent debt capital markets work, including a matter where it acted for the joint lead managers of Lukoil’s $1 billion note issue.

The equity space was much quieter for the firm during the research period than the debt, with metals and mining and retail matters figuring significantly.

The most notable matter the M&A worked on recently was acting as Russian counsel as part of the lead global counsel advising GE on its €12 billion acquisition of Alstom’s thermal power, renewable power and grid businesses.

Undoubtedly one of the more important matters the projects team worked on saw it acting for Yamal LNG a joint-venture between Novatek, Total, CNPC and the Silk Road Fund in connection with the financing of a project to transport LNG from a plant in North West Siberia to Asia and Europe.

One notable change to the team this year saw the departure of capital markets partner Tamer Amara, who had been with the firm for 20 years, 10 of those as partner.

Other notable clients of the firm not yet mentioned include PhosAgro, VTB Bank and UniCredit.

Client feedback

“Clifford Chance’s Moscow banking team excels in a client-orientated approach and comprehensive analysis of the deal from all aspects. They have both profound legal and commercial knowledge and a permanent willingness to help the client in all possible ways, maintaining good relationships with all the parties and avoiding conflicts in any situation regardless of sometimes quite heated negotiations.” – Banking

“Business and client-oriented, highly professional and right-to-the point team; a pleasure to work with. Clifford is usually our preferred option for complicated or time-sensitive deals due to their expertise in various fields and accessibility.” – Banking

“Clifford Chance is well respected and has very high quality work standards. It has an international network so can guide the client in multiple jurisdictions when the project involves that. The contact lawyers coordinate matters with an attention to detail and business mentality in the background. I cannot mention anything negative. Sometimes some attention may be required from client side to prioritise what is important in the documentation as it might be overlooked by the lawyer.” – Banking, Capital markets: Debt, Project development

“They have strong and dedicated teams including senior lawyers/partners, associates and paralegal staff, resulting in the effective and timely delivery of solutions. This is together with a comprehensive fundamental knowledge of English and local law practices and innovations.” – Banking, M&A

“Excellent ability to link the requirements of an international investor with the local particulars; very good knowledge of us as a client over many years.” – M&A

Vladimir Barbolin

“Vladimir has a profound understanding of his clients' needs and always finds the perfect way to suit them and exceed the expectations.”

“Knowledgeable, accessible, attentive, responsive, creative work approach.”

Marc Bartholomy

“Good bridge between the Western European and Russian culture, language and legal systems.”

Victoria Bortkevicha

“She really is an excellent lawyer and team manager.”

Nick Diakoumis

“He is really excellent in contract work.”

Adam Fadian

“Super lawyer especially in acquisition finance, syndications, ECAs, etc. He might be a little bit busy but it did not pose us any problem as he can delegate routine tasks to somebody else.”

“I was very satisfied with the cooperation.”

Ella Omelchenko

“She is a very good lawyer, attentive to details and efficient in her advice.”

Danilov & Konradi

Danilov & Konradi is a boutique M&A law firm. 

Despite its smaller size, the firm has nevertheless worked on a number of mid- and large-cap deals, together with several smaller transactions. Although details of its work are largely confidential, one publishable matter saw the firm instruct Baker Hughes on its proposed $32 billion merger with GE, a transaction that will create an industry giant within an oil and gas sector that has been of key focus for the firm. It has also advised oil companies on the legal structuring of multiple joint ventures.

Irkutsk Oil Company, Baker Hughes, Tatneft and KTIB Holding represent some of the firm’s most notable and important clients. 

Its M&A team was strengthen by the arrival of Roman Serb-Serbin in December 2016. 

Client feedback

“The firm has a fast response and flexible attitude, along with a very reasonable approach to fees.” – M&A

“The firm has strong communication skills, country knowledge and is always professional.” –M&A, Project development.

“I can offer my strong support and recommendation for Danilov & Konradi for future projects. I worked closely with the team for two years and they acted admirably as the lead in-house legal and contractual adviser for the project. With their assistance, we advanced from a long-shot bid in a competitive tender process by a relative newcomer to preferred bidder status by an international consortium. The team have been very helpful in reviewing drafts of corporate documents and have strong corporate expertise, a great commercial understanding of projects and shareholder arrangements. I commend D&K to you.” –M&A, Project development

Andrei Danilov

“Andrei Danilov has great business acumen and is very commercially oriented. A great lawyer.”

“Andrei is very strong – he possesses great business acumen and strong negotiation skills.”

Brian Konradi

“He is industrious, professional and consistent.”

“His legal areas of strength include joint ventures, corporate work, and shareholder finance.”

Debevoise & Plimpton

US firm Debevoise & Plimpton is best known in Russia for its work in the M&A and project development areas, the latter most notably in mining work.

The work of the banking team is dominated by private equity and mining. One example of its recent work saw it acting for Norilsk Nickel in connection with securing a $500 million syndicated unsecured revolving credit facility.

Metals and mining also feature heavily in the work of the capital markets team, whose work is fairly evenly distributed between debt and equity matters.

The M&A team also sees a lot of work in the metals and mining sector, with one example of its work seeing it act for Norilsk Nickel again, this time on the sale of a 0.79% share of the company to Crispian Investments for $185 million.

Beyond Norilsk Nickel, the firm has also recently worked with names such as Polyus Gold, Novolipetsk Steel and Universal Cargo Logistics.

Client feedback

“Highly professional, very cost effective and results-oriented, with dedication and availability.” – M&A

Maxim Kuleshov

“Exceptionally professional and overall efficient.”

Dentons

The Russian arm of international firm Dentons is a well-balanced practice based in Moscow. The firm operates across a variety of different sectors, although the energy and oil and gas industries has been an area of particular focus.

Its banking and finance team has advised on the establishment of a various loan facilities, including syndicated and secured convertible loans, together with general credit agreements. In doing so, the firm has acted for lenders and borrowers in almost equal measure. 

In M&A, the firm has mostly worked on buy-side public and private acquisition work, including a few club deals. It has also overseen the purchase of multiple non-controlling equity interests. Divestment matters have comprised most of the firm’s sell-side work. 

Much of its project finance and development work has consisted of PPP agreements, the details of which are largely confidential. 

The firm’s M&A team was strengthened by the arrival of Christopher Rose from Squire Patton Boggs in December 2016, while Louis Skyner arrived from Clifford Chance in May 2017.

Its most important clients in Gazprombank, Total, Halliburton and Mitsui. 

Client feedback

"They are a strong team with a mix of Russian, American and English-qualified lawyers. Very proactive and results-driven and one of the best choices in the relevant budget category.” – Banking

“The strengths of the firm include their accessibility at all times when required, even over bank holidays, and their commercial understanding.” – Banking

Dennis Montgomery

“He is working seamlessly with the partners and forms a great team.”

Kelly Shutt

“Kelly Shutt is a real star and great lawyer to work with.”

Tim Stubbs

“His key flexibility, technical ability and innovation stand out.

“Personally involved in each project, attentive to details and easy-reachable if need be.”

DS Law

DS Law is a domestic practice that focuses on M&A and corporate work. The IT and technology sectors have been central to much of its activity.

The majority of its M&A work has been done in tandem with vulture capital funds, who have typically sought advice on a variety of minority investments, which have included growth capital and equity co-investments. For example, it instructed Run Capital and Altera Capital on their acquisition of a 20% stake in Group-IB, a leading IT security firm, in a transaction worth $20 million. It has also overseen a number of buyouts, including a complex management buyout. 

The firm last year reopened an office in St. Petersburg.

Some of its most important clients include Target Global, iTech Capital, Run Capital and Admitad.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners is an international law firm, based in Moscow, with offices across Russia, Eastern Europe, the UK and the US.

The banking and finance team has been primarily engaged with regulatory and refinancing work, while bond issuance programmes and pre-IPO restructuring matters have comprised the majority of its equity and debt capital markets work respectively 

In the M&A space, the energy and mining sectors have been a key focus. The firm has provided buy-side and sell-side counsel on a number of private acquisitions, such as to Eurosibenergo, an energy business, on its R70 billion purchase of Inter RAO’s 40% stake in power generating company, Irkutskenergo. 

The majority of its project finance and development work is confidential, although PPP issues within the construction sector have dominated, whereas its restructuring and insolvency practice has advised on several complex bankruptcy disputes and debt restructuring matters.

Some of the firm’s most important clients include Bank OFK, the Ministry of Eastern Development and Basic Element.

Client feedback

“Very reliable business partner with in-depth knowledge in capital markets law. Good at innovations and challenging tasks.” – Capital markets: debt

“The company provides excellent legal services on the Russian securitisation market. The team has a good experience and deep knowledge of the RMBS and ABS specifics.” – Capital markets: debt, capital markets: securitisation

“The firm and the team is always available for any urgent matter that may appear, even if it is beyond working hours. We have good relationship with EPAM, so we don’t need to go to any other law firm. Compared to other law firms Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners seems to be more trustworthy.” – Capital markets: securitisation

“Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners is a team of professionals with innovative approach that shows attention to details. We consider EPAM the best legal adviser.” – Capital markets: securitisation

“We completed two securitisation transactions and are preparing new one together with Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners. We are highly satisfied with the services they are providing and would recommend them as the reliable lawyers for the domestic RMBS.” – Capital markets: securitisation

“We worked with Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners and I would say that they have very highly qualified lawers. They support our securitisation projects (RMBS).” – Capital markets: securitisation

“Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners is a well-known law firm on the market and it is the best one.” – Project finance

Ilya Bareysha

“Ilya participated in several RMBS transactions and has proven himself to be an excellent lawyer.”

Dmitry Glazounov

“Dmitry Glazounov is true specialist in the Banking and finance sphere. Dmitry and his team did a good job and provided result in a very short time frames.”

“Dmitry Glazounov and his team did a fantastic job and provided results in a very short time frames.”

“Dmitry Glazounov together with Oleg Ushakov are our outstanding legal advisors. They constantly demonstrate their deep knowledge of banking and finance area. I would recommend Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners as a legal advisor in capital markets sector.”

“High Professional level, attentive to the client's needs.”

“Very competent, reliable and result-oriented person.”

Arkady Krasnikhin and Roman Malovitsky

“We have been working with partner Arkady Krasnikhin and counsel Roman Malovitsky. Both are experienced and smart lawyers, providing practical and in-depth advice right in time. The lawyers have good commercial judgment and, while we are in negotiations with our counterparties, manage to find a balanced solution protecting our priorities.”

Oleg Oushakov and Vladimir Goglachev

“Highly qualified lawyers, good communication, good understanding and making the best solutions to the client's needs.”

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland took over the Russian operations of Nordic law firm Hannes Snellman in September 2017, with offices in both St Petersburg and Moscow. It offers a wide range of legal services across a diverse array of sectors that often includes real estate, energy and infrastructure. 

In M&A, the firm has primarily worked on private acquisitions, all of which were structured under Russian law. This has been almost evenly split between buy-side and sell-side work. Real estate transactions have also featured heavily, with its counsel of Sponda Russia on its sale of a shopping centre for $11 million a typical example of this. 

Bankruptcy issues have dominated the restructuring and insolvency team’s agenda, with litigation work featuring heavily. One striking mandate concerned the Czech Export Bank which, with €58 million accounts receivable, sought counsel in a lengthy bankruptcy case involving complex litigation and negotiation.

The firm’s most significant clients include Kesco, Mattel and the Czech Export Bank.

Exiora

Exiora is a Moscow-based law firm that specialises in restructuring and insolvency work. 

Bankruptcy work has dominated the firm’s agenda. For instance, it advised German firm Glatt Ingenieurtechni in a case concerning the high-profile bankruptcy of Intra-Bau M, a construction company, to whom ₽7 billion had been advanced by the client. Among other actions, the firm prevented the client’s claims from being excluded from the creditors’ register, undertook successful steps to recover damages from Intra-Bau M’s ex-managing director, and initiated foreclosure of securitized assets in Germany. 

The firm has also instructed a debtor on an ultimately successful unjust enrichment recovery matter, and defended the interests of shareholders in the course of a bank’s compulsory liquidation. 

It has had a wide sector focus, ranging from construction to banking. 

The firm’s key clients include Razvitie, Glatt Ingenieurtechnik, Prioritet and Kontinent.

Client feedback

“First and foremost, professionalism. The lawyers from Exiora know what they are doing and know which course a matter may take, when to strengthen a position and when to sit and wait. This is very encouraging. As a result when we refer a dispute to Exiora, we are fully confident that our case is in reliable hands and it will be resolved without any additional trouble on our part.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“What I like best about their work is their thoroughness and attention to detail. All my instructions are performed exactly within the set dates. The experts of Exiora never fail to offer various solutions which prove to be more reasonable under the circumstances. They are extremely reliable lawyers which is the number one requirement for me personally. If they say they will do something, it means it will be done and there is no need to monitor their progress. And first and foremost of course is the fact that I trust them. I have not used any other law firms, because the partners of Exiora all come from large and reputable law firms, which explains their ability to work according to the highest industry standards. The key driver of their law practice is the principle of client care. I am fully satisfied with the results of our collaborative efforts and look forward to further joint projects with them.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Nikolay Andrianov 

“Nikolay Andrianov is a specialist possessing a brilliant analytical mind and encyclopaedic knowledge of everything related to construction contracts, land and real property. All the advice he gives is precise, case-specific and invariably practicable. In my view, he is one of the best experts in the area of real estate law, urban development and matters related to land.”

Alexey Moroz

“Alexey is not only an excellent lawyer, he is an artist. Having a clear picture of how law works, the ability to work hard, responsibility and being mission-oriented are his personal strengths. Besides, Alexey is an extremely reliable and highly responsible person. For me personally it is very important.”

“Alexey Moroz is a highly qualified professional whose excellent communication skills, strategic thinking and diverse knowledge of law enables him to propose unconventional solutions in seemingly deadlocked situations.”

Yuriy Sbitnev

“He is a very strong lawyer.”

“Yuriy Sbitnev is a tough and experienced litigator, his supreme theoretical background enables him to expertly steer the course of litigation even where adversaries actively oppose it, and is characterised by his unique approach to handling complex and complicated tasks and knowing where ultimate solutions lie.”

EY

EY Law operates in eight offices across seven different Russian republics.

In M&A, the firm has provided counsel to several holding companies in relation to deoffshorisation matters in the financial and real estate sectors.

Its transactional work has seen the firm advise both buyers and sellers in a series of domestic and cross-border private acquisitions. These have ranged from buyouts, such as Rostec’s R1.8 billion purchase of IT firm Bars Group, to minority interests, including Inter RAO Kapital’s acquisition of a 33% stake in the Invent Group, an energy equipment manufacturing organisation, for R3 billion.

The firm also represented Marubeni-Itochu Steel in a proposed joint venture with Rosneft in the oil and gas sector.

The firm’s most important clients include Rothschild Private Wealth, the Uranium One Group, Worwag Pharma Russia and Marubeni Itochu Steel.

Client feedback

“They have a decent quality that is very comparable to major law firms. However, they offer it at a more reasonable price. The lawyers are good in teaming with their financial and tax colleagues which makes their advice more practical and business-oriented.

Georgy Kovalenko

“He is very responsive and commercially oriented.”

FBK Legal

FBK Legal is a firm that has been operating domestically since 1990. 

In M&A, the firm has advised on several public and private acquisitions, working almost exclusively with buyers in the process. The preponderance of these mandates has involved small-cap domestic transactions, although it has, very occasionally, worked on larger cross-border matters. 

It has also conducted debt restructuring work within the context of M&A. For instance, the firm advised Gazprombank on its acquisition of a 49% stake in companies owned by Mechel, a mining and metals business, in circumstances where it owed Gazprombank $6.77 billion.

While oil and gas has been an important area of focus for the firm, it has operated across a broad range of other sectors, including media, pharmaceuticals and aviation. 

Some of the firm’s key clients include Gazprom, Gazprombank, Yamaha, Cathy Pacific and Herbalife.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

The team at magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is mostly recognised for its project work – especially in energy and mining – and M&A work in Russia, where it ranks among the very best in the market.

One of the more significant matters the banking team advised on during the research period saw it acting for Russian Railways in relation to an up to $500 million bridge facility extended by JPMorgan.

The work of the capital markets team was dominated by debt work recently, with transportation and natural resources companies featuring heavily.

In the M&A space the firm remains active on a number of high-value deals, including acting for the Safmar group on several different matters.

Finance work has taken up most of the time of the projects team recently, with airport and road matters dominating its work during the research period.

One change to the team this year saw the departure of capital markets senior associate Pavel Koutovoi, who joined aluminium group United Company RUSAL as legal director of corporate finance and capital markets. In the M&A team senior associate Anthony Walker joined from Akin Gump while senior associate Konstantin Kurlanov left to join Clifford Chance and senior associate Artem Filchenko also left.

Major clients of the firm include VTB Bank, Gazprombank and Changi Airports International.

Client feedback

“Effective team, value-for-money offerings, constructive approach.” – Banking

“The team has good knowledge, expertise and good advice but they can be expensive.” – Banking, Capital markets: Debt

“Used to be rather expensive and not focused on the country but apparently have changed recently. Good country knowledge, good relationship, ready to help.” – Capital markets: Debt

“The Russian practice of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer generally outperforms those in its other European offices I have come across in terms of speed of response and practicality of advice provided. I'm generally happy with the services provided. Where they can make progress is their cost policy and client awareness of junior to mid-associates.” – Capital markets: Debt, M&A

“Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is the best PPP team on Russian market. Their price is higher or much higher in comparison with other firms but their performance is excellent: deep knowledge of industry, great attention to details, an understanding of the requirements of banks in PPP deals, etc.” – Project development: PPP/PFI

Mikhail Loktionov

“A good point of contact, knowledgeable and reliable.”

Anna Nersesian

“Very good professional in project finance and banking business.”

Nikolay Seliakov

“Very responsive, client oriented and practical. Nikolay always seeks to secure the best outcome for the client. On the downside, he is definitely a heavyweight and very difficult to substitute for when he is busy with other clients/projects.”

Yuri Shumilov

“Yuri has good expertise in corporate finance and regulatory advice.”

Fedor Teselkin

“Best professional in the Russian PPP market.”

Maria Zaitseva

“Constructive approach, timely response, always in touch.”

Gide Loyrette Nouel

The Moscow branch of Gide Loyrette Nouel, an international law firm headquartered in Paris, can call on the support of over 1000 lawyers across 18 global locations. 

The banking and finance team has worked exclusively with lenders on a spate of term loan agreements, which most notably included a $300 million term loan agreement between VDB Bank and Teghout CJSC, a mining company. The energy sector has been a considerable strength in this area.

In M&A, the firm has primarily provided buy-side advice on a number of private buyouts, together with a handful of minority acquisitions. It has also provided counsel on the establishment of a cross-border joint venture. The team’s sector focus in this area has been broad, encompassing technology and agribusiness, among others. 

David Lasfargue left the M&A team in April 2016, joining Jeantet.

Some of the firm’s most noteworthy clients include VTB Bank, ING, Sistema and the Sputnik Group.

Gudkov Korelskiy Smolyarzh

Gudkov Korelskiy Smolyarzh is a domestic firm that specialises in project finance matters.

Its recent work has almost exclusively been focused on the energy and oil and gas sectors. Legal drafting has dominated much of the agenda, having prepared a large number of tender documents and construction agreements. It also has advised on the regulatory, tax and other legal implications of various oil pipeline construction projects.

MRTS, MRTS Pacific and European Capital Partners are among the firm’s most important clients. 

Herbert Smith Freehills

Banking, projects and restructuring and insolvency are where the team at Herbert Smith Freehills really stands out in the Russian market, ranking among the best in all three areas.

One notable matter the banking team advised on recently saw it acting for the Silk Road Fund (SRF) as it provided an $800 million bridge loan to Novatek, which subsequently formed part of the project finance for the Yamal LNG project with SRF acting as a senior creditor under this loan.

In the capital markets space the firm continues to perform strongly. One example of its recent work saw it acting for Rosbank, a Russian bank majority-owned by Société Générale, in connection with two issues of defaulted corporate credit-linked notes including their cancellation.

The M&A team most significantly advised United Capital Partners during the research period on its acquisition alongside Trafigura of a 49% stake in Essar Oil and the Essar ports, refinery and retail businesses, for $12.9 billion, in parallel to the acquisition of a 49% stake by Rosneft.

In the project space the firm is one of the strongest in the market and continues to secure major mandates for energy and PPP matters. One recent example saw it acting for Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk on the $17 billion construction, procurement and financing of a gas processing plant in Amur region.

Restructuring and insolvency is another area where the firm excels, and during the research period this was certainly the case. One matter it worked on saw the team acting for Sberbank of Russia on the enforcement and subsequent restructuring of $600 million facility to Ukrlandfarming, a major Ukrainian agricultural company.

Notable changes to the team during the research period saw the departure of partner Edward Baring to the firm’s South Africa office along with banking senior associate Victor Rogachev, who moved to an in-house role with the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending.

Other notable clients of the firm include VTB Capital, Vnesheconombank, the Onexim Group and Gazprom.

Client feedback

“Herbert Smith Freehills are highly appreciated for their development of long-term relations with both clients and their key executives, which enables them to provide high-quality services with due consideration to previous experience and pre-history.” – Banking, M&A

Evgeny Zelensky

“Evgeny is highly commercially oriented and a proactive partner.”

Ilyashev & Partners

Ilyashev & Partners is a Ukrainian firm with an expanding international presence. 

The firm specialises in dispute matters, so naturally its restructuring and insolvency practice has been dominated by litigation work, with the vast majority of its clients comprised of creditors. It has also advised on the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings, entries in the register of creditors, mortgage foreclosure and other debt recovery matters. 

On the debtor-side, it has contested purportedly unfair and unsubstantiated creditor claims, while providing comprehensive debt restructuring advice.

In December 2016, the firm opened an office in Tallinn, Estonia, a move that forms part of its EU expansion strategy. 

Some of the firm’s most important clients include Alfa-Bank, Antonov, BTA Bank and Feron. 

Infralex

Infralex is a law firm based in Moscow that specialises in M&A work. In this context, it provides a broad variety of buy-side and sell-side advisory work that ranges from due diligence and contract drafting to financing matters. The construction and real estate sectors have been areas of key strength for the firm. 

One noteworthy mandate saw the firm advise NPK on the $37.5 million sale of “Foxa”, a real estate investment company, to a regional development company. 

It has also been engaged in a small amount of restructuring and insolvency work, advising creditors in a variety of complex bankruptcy cases.

BPS-Sberbank, Novaya Perevozochnaya Company and Litokol are some of the firm’s most noteworthy clients. 

Client feedback

“I am highly satisfied with the firm’s service. It offers a customised approach, which has facilitated strong relationships with the professionals inside the firm.” – M&A

“Top-notch quality from the firm, they were proactive and responsive and commercially savvy; a delight to work with.” – M&A

Marina Bilyk

“Marina Bilyk is a very strong practitioner, with particular strength in competition work.”

Artem Kukin

“He did an excellent job.”

“One of the top practitioners I've worked with in Russia. Very strong technically with strong business acumen, and a delight to work with.”

Iusland Law Offices

Iusland Law Offices specialises in restructuring and insolvency work across a variety of different sectors, although construction has recently been a key strength for the firm.

Dispute matters have featured heavily, with creditors forming the vast majority of its client base. While specific transactional highlights remain confidential, litigation matters generally concerned creditors requesting the removal and foreclosure of foreign assets held by debtors. The firm provided counsel on these and other related matters. 

Nina Boer left the restructuring and insolvency team in 2016. 

Some of the firm’s most noteworthy clients include Bank Saint Petersburg, Scania Rus, AZIMUT Hotels and AlfaStrakhovanie. 

Kachkin & Partners

Established in 2001, Kachkin & Partners is an independent domestic law firm with a particular strength in project finance and PPP work. 

Among its most significant and noteworthy PPP mandates, the firm advised on an action plan for, and the development of, an innovative medical development in the Caucasian Mineral Waters – a project that will cost ₽160 and span several thousand square kilometres. This matter is characteristic of the many projects it has instructed on in the medical sector. Private finance initiatives have also featured, with firm having advised on two projects involving the construction of swimming pools in Leningrad Region on this basis. 

Some of the firm’s most important clients include KIT Finance, Project Management Agency, Gazprombank, Ministry of Industry and Business Development and Walker Clark. 

Client feedback

“The firm possesses good lawyers and is very friendly.” – Project finance

“We highly value our collaboration with Kachkin & Partners. The firm produces work of high quality, offers excellent communication and are always eager to help. We would definitely recommend this firm.” – Project finance

Denis Kachkin

“He is a great lawyer.”

Denis Vladimirovich

“Denis Vladimirovich is a professional whose supportive nature and deep knowledge of the law helped us to cope with the issues that we needed to solve.”

Kazakov & Partners

Kazakov & Partners is domestic firm that focuses on dispute work within the project finance and development practice area, and more specifically, the energy sector. 

Although involved in an array of litigation matters, its varied work invariably shares one common factor: its clientele, who have almost exclusively consisted of Gazprom and its various subsidiaries. Naturally, oil and gas disputes have dominated the agenda.

It has successfully defended its clients on matters ranging from charges of anti-trust violations in the gas supply market, illicit enrichment accusations and the imposition of purportedly unfair administrative fines. 

Its key clients, as already noted, consist of Gazprom and its numerous subsidiaries – including Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Pyatigorsk, Gazprom gazoraspredelenie Mahachkala and Gazprom Teploenergo Orel.

Client feedback

“Kazakov & Partners have expertise in the specific characteristics of energy company activity. Also the firm holds seminars on legal regulation in the sphere of power supply for the clients on a periodic basis.” – Energy

“We have worked with Kazakov and Partners for more than 14 years. Their attorneys work as a well-coordinated team and each of them is a professional.” – Energy

“During cooperation Kazakov&Partners proved to be a reliable consultant in solving difficult problems and decision making, and also in the framing of bankruptcy procedures.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Yury Boriskin

“Yury has established himself as competent and responsible specialist.”

“Yury is a responsive professional and is attentive to details.”

Irina Grinenko

“Irina proved herself to be a responsible and competent specialist.”

Andrey Trushin

“Andrey has profound knowledge of the specific operations of the major gas monopolies as well as upstream sector companies dealing with exploration and extraction of gas. It's very important for our company.”

King & Spalding

King & Spalding is a large international law firm, whose Russian arm is known best for its work in the energy sector. 

The project finance and development team have been engaged in a diverse variety of matters. It acted for Enter Engineering in relation to the construction of a gas-to-liquids facility in Uzbekistan, while it also oversaw another client’s tender process and negotiations in respect of oil field service contracts with major Russian oil companies.

Although the remainder of its work is largely confidential, it has included environmental compliance work, the establishment of a major joint venture in the metals and mining sector, and buy-side advisory work in relation to the acquisition of gas refining assets.

Some of the firm’s most noteworthy clients include Rosneft, GV Gold, Enter Engineering and Eco Energy Worldwide.

Latham & Watkins

US firm Latham & Watkins is recognised across the full swathe of financial and corporate work for its strength.

In the banking space, one of the more notable recent matters the team advised on saw it acting for Intesa Sanpaolo in respect of a €5.2 billion facility provided to a consortium acquiring a 19.5% stake in Rosneft.

The strength of the capital markets team lies on the debt side of things, where it again has been very active during the research period. One example of that saw it acting for Russian steel and mining company Severstal on its issue of $500 million LPNs under a $4.5 billion programme.

Perhaps the most significant matter the M&A team worked on recently saw it advising a consortium of Oil India, Bharat PetroResources and the Indian Oil Corporation, three state-owned Indian oil and gas companies, in their acquisition of a 29.9% interest in the Taas-Yuriakh Licenses in Eastern Siberia from Rosneft for total of $1.12 billion.

Other notable clients of the firm not yet mentioned include Alfa-Bank, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and UniCredit.

Client feedback

“The banking and finance team at Latham & Watkins consistently works on some of the most important and high-profile financing transactions in the Russian & CIS region. With their team of nine on-the-ground lawyers in Moscow, they must count amongst the biggest (if not the biggest) banking and finance teams in Moscow and (unlike some of their peers) Latham & Watkins have English-qualified lawyers (both partners and associates) on the ground in Moscow.” – Banking

“Latham & Watkins has very good expertise in Russia and can always provide decent guidance on the international market. The firm is ready to provide professional advice on a number of close areas when we work on the main project.” – Capital markets: Debt

“Latham & Watkins is certainly a strong firm in the capital markets area.” – Capital markets: Debt

Ragnar Johannesen

“Excellent all around.”

“Partner Ragnar Johannesen is an absolutely fantastic lawyer who knows how to get the deal done in a responsive and practical manner; with a focus on what the client cares about. 

Ksenia Koroleva

“Ksenia Koroleva is very knowledgeable and detail oriented and a rising star for the future.”

Vladimir Mikhailovsky

“Always finds very strong argumentation and is ready to defend the customer’s position but also informs in case the chance of acceptance is low and explains why it is so.”

“Vladimir Mikhailovsky is an experienced lawyer who is outstanding in delivering what clients are looking for.”

David Stewart

“Very experienced and commercially oriented partner with strong communication abilities.”

Lecap

Lecap is a domestic, well-balanced law firm based in Moscow.

In the debt capital markets space, the firm has overseen bond issuances across a variety of different sectors. For example, it instructed Structured Investments, a special purpose vehicle, on a R10 billion structured bonds issue. The firm has also advised on corporate bond restructurings and securitisations.

The equity capital markets team acted for the Russian state rail operator in relation to a private placement of shares in order to fund infrastructure projects. Its advice has also been sought in relation to several initial and secondary public offerings on the Moscow Exchange. 

In M&A, the firm has predominantly provided buy-side counsel on a multitude of domestic acquisition matters, while also acting for B&N bank in its high profile merger with MDM Bank.

Its project finance and development practice have engaged heavily in PPP work. One standout matter saw the firm represent Ecology-Novosibirsk in connection with a R6.5 billion PPP project for the creation of communal infrastructure system for the city of Novosibirsk. This included drafting and negotiation of a concession agreement and advising the client on specific terms and procedures for submission of a special application. 

The restructuring and insolvency team primarily engaged in corporate restructuring and reorganising, with no evident sector focus.

Gazprombank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, VTB Capital, Sberbank CIB and Goldman Sachs are among the firm’s key clients.

Lidings

Lidings is a domestic law firm based in Moscow with a broad list of noteworthy clientele.

In M&A the firm been active in the pharmaceutical sector, providing buy-side advice on the acquisition of a portfolio of nootropic drugs from a Russian pharmaceutical manufacturer in a transaction worth R1 billion. Another noteworthy mandate saw the firm instruct the Kokoc Group, who operate in the media sector, on the sale of a R400 million minority stake in its business.

Debt recovery litigation has been a mainstay of the restructuring and insolvency team, working exclusively with creditors in the process. 

Some of the firm’s most important clients include Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Tetra Pak, AlphaTec and Valenta Pharm.

Liniya Prava

Liniya Prava is a leading domestic law firm that provides a broad range of legal services.

In the banking and finance space, the firm has undertaken regulatory and project finance work across a variety of sectors.

Its debt capital markets team provided legal support on a ₽200 billion listed multi-currency structured bonds programme by Sberbank of Russia, while its equity work in this area has included a direct public offering and capital increases.

Most of the firm’s M&A activity has comprised of domestic buy-side private acquisition matters, although it has also overseen a small number of asset disposals on behalf of sellers. Joint venture work has also featured. 

While a significant proportion of its project finance and development work is confidential, domestic PPP matters have been of central focus for the firm, with the infrastructure sector a key strength in this area.

Its restructuring and insolvency practice has represented creditors and debtors in connection with numerous bankruptcy disputes, with debt restructuring issues accounting for the remainder of its work. 

The banking and finance, M&A and project finance and development team was strengthened by the arrival of Vadim Konyushkevich from Lidings Law in April 2016. 

Its most significant, publishable clients include Mobile TeleSystem, Hikvision and RT-Business Development. 

Client feedback

“Strong professional firm in all fields of law we use their services in.” – Banking, M&A, Restructuring and insolvency

“Solid quality work, business- and goal-oriented, with hands-on approach.” – Capital markets: debt

“The team are responsive, flexible, available and commercial. They are also able to provide a good price-quality balance.” – M&A

“Liniya Prava has provided dependable local counsel assistance to us for many years in a long series of regulatory filings for a major US-based technology company.” – Regulatory

“The innovative approach of the team allows to them to penetrate into the specifics of client’s business and consider various options to minimize risks. I value the business-oriented approach of the Liniya Prava team. They know everybody in the field and show a personal interest in their client’s success.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“I would like to highlight the individual approach they take to solve complicated issues, combined with the overall hard-working nature of Liniya Prava team. The team always shows flexibility in the implementation of new information, is responsive and thinks several moves ahead.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Oleg Bychkov

“I regard him as a high level professional.”

“Good responsiveness and product knowledge.”

Dmitry Chepurenko

“He showed the highest professional level, extensive practical experience and an ability to think outside the box.”

Vadim Konyushkevich

“He is commercial, responsive, flexible and technically great.”

Andrey Novakovskiy

“Excellent relationship – both in private and government sector. He is both innovative and knowledgeable.”

Artem Samoylov

“Excellent responsiveness and attention to detail, and has been quick to learn the details of the specific task on which we have used him.”

Linklaters

Magic circle firm Linklaters ranks as one of the leading firms in the Russian market, being recognised as a top-tier firm across the board for financial and corporate work.

The banking team’s work is dominated by energy and utilities matters, one recent example being its advice to Sberbank of Russia in connection to amendments to a $1.75 billion financing package provided to Antipinsky Refinery.

In the capital markets space energy, infrastructure and mining mandates make up most of the firm’s work. One example saw it assisting VTB Capital as a lead manager of the $1.75 billion 4.75% bonds issued by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

Again, energy and utilities work forms the bulk of the activity of the M&A team, with the firm advising the Rosneft Oil Company on a number of high value transactions.

Perhaps the most significant matter the restructuring and insolvency team continues to act on is its work advising the international lenders in connection with the restructuring of debts of Mechel.

Client feedback

“Hands on at the highest level with business acumen and in-depth legal knowledge.” – M&A

“The strengths of the firm include the quality of the lawyers, the breadth of its international network and its experience in effectively all the project finance deals in the market.” – Project finance

“Always ready to support and provide comments. Good knowledge of the details.” – Banking, M&A

“Very strong team, excellent experience in multiple areas of work.” – Capital markets: Debt

“Very knowledgeable, efficient, accessible and client friendly with a commercial mindset.” – Capital markets

“Highly professional corporate lawyers with good M&A experience and a huge corporate network.” – Corporate restructuring

Ilia Ditiatev

“Very competent, aware of relevant precedents and ready to provide a range of available solutions for the key issues.”

Dmitry Dobatkin

“Extremely knowledgeable, efficient, commercial mindset.”

Simon Few

“Very strong legal counsel.”

Maxim Kraynov

“Maxim is a technically excellent lawyer who at the same time clearly understands the client's perspective and applies a very pragmatic advisory approach.”

Nikolai Kurmashev

“Ready support over 24 hours, various recommendations and several solutions.”

“Nikolai Kurmashev is highly recommended.”

Hugo Stolkin

“Highly professional corporate lawyer, accessible and practical.”

Maxima Legal

Maxima Legal is a domestic law firm headquartered in St. Petersburg that is notable for its M&A, infrastructure and dispute work. 

In M&A, real estate and chemicals has been a key strength. Its buy-side work has included a significant real estate transaction, while it has advised sellers on asset purchase agreements and divestiture matters. It has also instructed on the formation of several joint ventures.

Its project finance and development team have been engaged in a number of domestic PPP cases, including a $400m major regional infrastructure project. 

Meanwhile, its restructuring and insolvency practice has provided counsel to the Kraft Invest Group on its global corporate restructuring and has provided debtor-side legal support in relation to multiple bankruptcy arbitration cases. 

The Kraft Invest Group, Russian Railways Group, Volgabus, ORMA and Alliance-Neva are among the firm’s key clients. 

Client feedback

“Maxima Legal provides us with good legal assistance on a number of corporate and M&A matters.” – Banking and finance, M&A.

“We work with Maxim Legal on several legal practices, and on several projects. Sometimes in one project several practices are involved; they carry out an integrated approach to solving issues. Once they get down to business, I never think I will have to look for someone else to solve issues on other legal practices. This is their big plus. I recommend the company to my colleagues and am fully confident in their competence and professionalism.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Sergei Bakeshin

“Sergei Bakeshin is an attentive, experienced and discerning lawyer in all of his legal cases.”

Mitra Law Offices

Mitra Law Offices is a domestic firm that specialises in project finance and development work, particularly in the energy sector. 

Domestic dispute work has featured heavily. Its highlights include successfully challenging a Federal Antimonopoly Service decision on behalf of Dagestan Energy Supply Company, representing a client’s interests in the course of a dispute with the Russian tax authorities and instructing North Caucasus Power Repair Company in relation to a complex payment dispute.

Its practice was strengthened by the arrival of Irina Shamileva in February 2017. 

Its key clients include the Agency of Regional Energy Projects, Dagestan Energy Supply Company, North Caucasus Power Repair Company and Karachaevo-Cherkesskenergo.

Client feedback

"They are always attentive to detail and from the experience we have with this company I can say they are true professionals. For a number of years we have had no complaints.”

Yury Mirzoev

“He coped with his responsibilities quite well. He knows how to find non-standard solutions.”

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

The strength of the team at Morgan Lewis & Bockius lies in its M&A and projects teams.

During the research period the banking team at the firm acted on a wide range of mandates, including acquisition financing, structured products, derivatives and syndicated loans. One of the more significant matters it advised on saw it acting for ING Bank and Raiffeisen Bank International in connection with a $320 million pre-export financing facility extended to Siberian Anthracite.

Other clients of the firm during the research period included Nord Gold, Sberbank and Natixis.

Client feedback

“Very good quality of work at partner level, slightly lower quality at associate level. Generally high commercial awareness, good market knowledge and pragmatic approach.” – Banking

“The Morgan Lewis banking practice is the strongest over the law firms I worked with. They are always available, provide the drafts in extremely short terms, defend the client's position and have deep sector knowledge.” – Banking, Capital markets: Debt

Grigory Marinichev

“Excellent quality of work, very accessible and responsive.”

“Grigory is available 24/7, provides practical oriented advice, is very attentive to the commercial aspects of the deal and fully steps into the clients shoes.

Konstantin Kochetkov

“He finds vey elegant solutions to legal problems, is always available and has excellent knowledge of the banking sector.”

Alexander Geda

“Alexander is a very responsive lawyer, prompt and has high communication skills.”

Vasilisa Strizh

“A great bonds specialist with deep knowledge of corporate procedures and an attention to the detail.”

Muranov Chernyakov & Partners

Muranov Chernyakov & Partners Is a domestic firm most active in the M&A and restructuring and insolvency spaces. It works across a number of different sectors, most notable telecommunications and banking in the recent past.

The work of the M&A team during the research period saw it acting for a number of clients as domestic counsel on their ongoing matters. 

In the restructuring and insolvency space the firm has been most active serving as an adviser to subsidiaries to Gazprombank on a number of different cases.

Other significant clients of the firm include Cyprus Popular Bank, TekhFern and ScienceProm.

Nektorov Saveliev & Partners

Nektorov Saveliev & Partners is recognised in Russia for its work in the restructuring and insolvency space, though it also remains active in both M&A and capital markets work as well. 

In the capital markets space the firm’s recent work has seen it acting for clients from the IT sector, banking and natural resources groups.

The M&A team recently worked on a number of different matters for alcoholic beverage producer ABRAU-DURSO.

In the restructuring and insolvency space one of the more notable recent matters the team advised on saw it acting for TRUD in relations to the restructuring of the group.

Other notable clients of the firm include Inter RAO, the VTB Group and Polyus.

Noerr

Noerr is a law firm headquartered in Munich, Germany, that specialises in M&A work. 

Most of the firm’s work has been split between cross-border private acquisitions, in which it has advised buyers and sellers in roughly equal measure, and joint venture mandates, where the firm has been charged with structuring a number of complex ventures and overseeing the termination of others. 

While the vast majority of its work is confidential, one publishable matter saw the firm provide counsel to Foodpanda on its $100 million sale of Delivery Club to the Mail.Ru Group. 

In January 2017, Elena Frolovskaya left the firm originally having joined in 2003. 

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, Sephora, Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Alfa Bank are some of the firm’s most important clients.

Norland Legal

Norland Legal Advisors is a domestic firm based in Moscow. 

The banking and finance team has recently advised borrowers on several financing matters, such as Softline on its R4 billion mezzanine loan agreement with Sovcombank. It has also structured a number of start-up investments. For instance, the firm acted for one client in relation to a $1 million investment in Welltory, an IT start-up, which was structured as a convertible loan note. The fintech sector has been of considerable focus for the practice. 

In the M&A space, it has provided buy-side counsel in connection with a private acquisition, while also structuring a domestic joint venture in the healthcare sector.

Da Vinci Capital, Softline Venture Partners and Petroff Audit are among the firm’s key clients. 

Norton Rose Fulbright

In June 2017, Norton Rose Fulbright entered the Russian market following its global merger with Chadbourne & Parke. 

The banking and finance team have advised on several financial restructuring matters, while also providing counsel to borrowers and lenders on a number of loan and credit facility agreements. 

In M&A, joint venture issues have featured regularly, although many of the specific details remain confidential. The firm has also offered buy-side and sell-side instruction on multiple stock purchase acquisitions, and advised a variety of venture capital firms on their investments in start-up businesses. 

In the project finance and development space, project finance matters have predominated. One standout mandate saw the firm represent a company in connection with the $3.5 billion project financing and construction of an independent power project in Balkhash, Kazakhstan. Other work in the energy sector included support for a large construction of a green field oil refining complex.

The firm’s key clients include Lanit, the X5 Retail Group, the IFC and IDS Borjomi International.

Client feedback

“The Moscow office was always very professional, showed a good knowledge of law and was business oriented.

Konstantin Konstantinov

“He is a problem solver. He does not waste your time and money but suggests win-win opportunities for all parties of the transaction.”

O2 Consulting

O2 Consulting is a corporate boutique with a strong focus on private equity and venture capital work. It has been active in the IT, technology and retail sectors most notably during the research period.

The firm has mostly been engaged with buy-side, private acquisition work, although it has also advised on a few interesting sales – the most noteworthy of which concerned Marsfield’s $34.6 million sale of its 80% share in Greenhouse Growth Technologies, a major Russian agribusiness company. Real estate has also been an important area for the firm, having instructed on several real estate transactions. 

Acquisition work aside, the firm also negotiated and structured a high-profile, cross-border joint venture, while also conducting a significant amount of corporate and tax restructuring. 

The one notable recent change to the team saw partner Zhanna Tomashevskaya leave the M&A team in October 2016 to establish a new firm of her own.

Its most noteworthy clients include Gagarin Capital Partners, Marsfield Capital, Alma Group and Stefano Ricci. 

Olevinsky Buyukyan and Partners

Olevinsky Buyukyan and Partners is a domestic practice based in Moscow that focuses heavily on bankruptcy work. 

In the banking and finance space, the firm has worked alongside insolvent banks and their receivers, although details of its activities are confidential. 

Much of the M&A team’s work has been performed from a bankruptcy angle, with the firm having instructed on a distressed merger and consolidation of assets in circumstances where the client would otherwise have gone bankrupt. 

Bankruptcy litigation has been central to the firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice, providing creditors and debtors alike with comprehensive legal support during bankruptcy proceedings.

The firm’s project finance and development team has focused heavily on the construction and utilities sector.

Some of the firm’s most important clients include IR-Leasing, Rusnano and Tver Generation.

Ost Legal

Ost Legal is a Russian boutique that specialises in project development work within the energy sector. 

The firm has structured and advised on several major power and chemical plant projects. In doing so, it has drafted and negotiated EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contracts, together with supply and subcontracts. 

Its team was strengthened by the arrival of Ivan Suzdalev from Egorov, Kryazhevskikh and partners in June 2016. 

Rusatom Energo International, Unipro Engineering and Ivregionsintez are some of the firm’s most significant clients.

Paradigma

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Moscow, Paradigma provides a full range of legal services to a host of domestic and international clients. 

The banking and finance team have been involved in a number of domestic debt recovery disputes in the oil and hospitality sectors. It has also successfully instructed clients in the course of litigation concerning the recovery of damages under various independent contractor agreements. 

Most of the details regarding its M&A work is confidential, but the firm has advised on a share sale, alongside a variety of different dispute matters.

The firm’s key clients include Stroyransgaz, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, TNK-BP, Asian-Pacific Bank and Lenta.

Client feedback

“The team always provide multiple solutions and outcomes and then recommend the best for the situation. They are committed to find the best solution for the customer, reliable and always overcome expectations.” – Banking, Restructuring and insolvency

“I have worked with Paradigma from the moment of its establishment in 2001. I have also worked with a large number of Russian and international law firms in this area, but Paradigma does not practice the conveyor [belt] approach to customer service, which is often found in major law firms.” – M&A, Restructuring and insolvency

“We have a very careful approach to the selection of an external legal adviser. Paradigma provides the highest level of service. The most important characteristic of this law firm, from our point of view, is the ability of the team to provide their work in a timely manner. All legal issues are resolved as quickly as possible. The highlights of the lawyers are their competence and extensive practical experience, efficiency, attention to detail, confidentiality of information and maintaining regular contact with the client on the details of the projects.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Marat Hasanov 

“He is very professional, knowledgeable and responsible.”

Natalia Kolodezhnaya and Kliment Rusakomsky

“They are reliable, responsive, have deep knowledge and can react quickly and efficiently to changing circumstances.”

“They are first class lawyers with a creative approach to problem solving, an ability to think strategically within the sphere of their legal competence and a capacity to effectively manage to the legal needs of clients. They not only spend a significant part of their working time on administrative functions but also monitor, support and develop business relations between the company and its clients, doing business development in general.”

Kliment Rusakomsky

“Kliment Rusakomsky is a professional in the fields of cross-border transactions and dispute resolution, as well as in the field of public relations. He is extremely efficient at handling complex cases and very creative in structuring deals.”

Andrey Toryannikov

“Andrey Toryannikov is an experienced professional advising at the highest level and has an excellent understanding of business objectives. Has an excellent reputation for his proficiency in cross-border transactions.”

“He is technically prepared and responsive.”

Pavlova & Partners

Pavlova & Partners is a domestic firm that specialises in restructuring and insolvency work.

The firm has advised a number of banks in relation to complex, high-value bankruptcy matters. For example, it acted for BTA Bank in bankruptcy proceedings against Rusneftekhim, an oil company, in which the firm secured its clients’ status as a major creditor, successfully dismissed a court-appointed trustee in bankruptcy who had acted in bad faith, and initiated criminal proceedings for premeditated bankruptcy.

It also oversaw the financial restructuring of Tverskaya Fuel Associastion’s subsidiaries. 

The firm has had no specific industry focus, operating instead across a variety of different sectors, including aviation, energy and banking. 

Capital Asset Management, Meruit, Donstroy, Biblio Globus Operator and Rohde & Schwarz are among the firm’s more significant recent clients.

Client feedback

“Pavlova & Partners is a professional firm with a good reputation. They are renowned not only in Moscow, but also in other regions of Russia.” – Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency

“The firm always meets its deadlines and produces quality work at a moderate price.” – M&A

“Pavlova & Partners is a dynamic team with an experienced head. Deadlines are abided to. It is a particular pleasure that they do not increase the cost of their services in line with the urgency of work involved.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“My experience with the firm has been great. It offers ingenious solutions to difficult legal problems, and its lawyers are absolutely competent in the areas that they work.” – Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency

“It is a highly professional team that produces excellent results at a transparent price.” – Banking

“When collaborating with firm I was always sure that its lawyers would find the best solutions to the issues we faced and it always handled its duties responsibly.”– Banking, Project finance

“Pavlova & Partners law firm is one of the best Russian law companies. We have been its clients for many years. The team provided us various kinds of legal services, e.g. court proceedings, corporate disputes, bankruptcy, etc. All the lawyers of Pavlova & Partners are high-level professionals who do their best to protect interests of their clients. – Restructuring and insolvency

Sergey Levichev

“He is a highly qualified lawyer who represents his client's interests in court successfully and also gives valuable recommendations.”

“Sergey is a highly professional bankruptcy and restructuring lawyer.”

“He is a tremendous expert in the bankruptcy and restructuring field.”

“The perfect advocate with great experience.”

“He possesses great personal and professional skills and qualities. His attitude to client problems is awesome.”

“Sergey is a brilliant specialist with deep legal knowledge.”

Galina Pavlova

“She has formed an excellent team of lawyers and attorneys, creating a great working environment. She treats all issues with great care, possesses profound legal knowledge and provides great advice. We have known her for many years and we always know that the work will be perfectly done.”

Pepeliaev Group

Boasting nine offices across Russia, China and South Korea, the firm is well-placed to advise domestic and Russian clients alike on a variety of domestic and cross-border matters. 

The banking and finance team has primarily advised borrowers and lenders in relation to restructuring and refinancing matters, although the specific details, as with the majority of the firm’s work, is confidential. Regulatory issues have also featured. 

In M&A, it has provided buy-side and sell-side instruction on cross-border private acquisitions across several different sectors. In doing so, the firm conducted full legal due diligence, drafted transactional documents and handled the completion of the transactions. It has also overseen the transfer of distressed assets. 

In the project finance and development space energy work has dominated the agenda. One publishable mandate saw the firm advise Gazprom in relation to a recent deoffshorisation amendment to the Russian tax code. The firm also provided comprehensive legal support to a number of clients in litigation against the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service.

Most of its restructuring and insolvency work has concerned bankruptcy proceedings, representing both debtors and creditors in the process. The firm has worked particularly closely with banks. For instance, it successfully defended the interests of one lender in connection with two bankruptcy cases against Russian banks. 

Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Novo Nordisk and Barilla Holding are among the firm’s most noteworthy clients. 

Client feedback

“It is a very professional legal team with the ability to provide detailed, clear and quick reports.” – M&A, Competition

“I and my company were satisfied with the quality of the services provided. The strengths of the team’s work was that they always keep the deadlines and do their work in time, their business acumen and industry knowledge is deep and broad and the appropriateness of advice is accurate and defends the interests and rights of our company.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“The firm provides very good value for money and excellent, timely advice. It also possesses sound legal knowledge. The only weakness lies in its fees which are not always flexible enough.” – Competition

“Pepeliaev is obviously the best Russian law firm. It provides a wide range of legal services and is one of the best in tax consultancy and litigation.” – Banking and finance 

Ekaterina Lebedeva

“Ekaterina Lebedeva is also good lawyer. While working with her she was very responsible and was always ready to represent our case.

Yulia Litovtseva

“Yulia Litovtseva is a very good lawyer, having huge experience in court, and her reaction in court debates is very quick. She manages immediately to find the arguments to support her point of view.”

Igor Marmalidi

“He is an excellent lawyer who is responsive, professional, friendly and experienced in the banking and financial spheres.”

Peterka & Partners

Peterka & Partners is a well-balanced domestic firm with an established presence across Central and Eastern Europe. 

The banking and finance team have been engaged in a wide variety of matters, advising mostly banks in the process. This has included a considerable amount of regulatory work, together with several export financing and credit agreement issues. The IT, telecoms and banking sectors have been areas of particular strength. 

In M&A, the energy and automotive sectors have been of primary, although not exclusive, focus. The firm has instructed on a spate of small-cap private acquisitions, working on both buy-side and sell-side matters. 

In the restructuring and insolvency space, the firm has supported and represented creditors at all stages of insolvency proceedings, such as in the registration of creditors’ claims and in litigation. In one significant matter, the firm instructed one of the largest Czech banks on multi-jurisdictional debt recovery under a loan agreement. Loan restructuring issues have also featured. 

Some of the firm’s most important clients include UniCredit Group, Raiffeisenbank, Insight Technology Solutions , ZVVZ Enven-Engineering and Stanley Gibbons.

Pleshakov Ushkalov and Partners

Pleshakov Ushkalov & Partners is a domestic firm that specialises in restructuring and insolvency matters.

The firm has focused exclusively on domestic bankruptcy work, with the real estate sector an area of considerable strength. 

While it has advised creditors on occasion, most of its work has been conducted alongside debtors. This has included the protection of a debtor’s managers from secondary liability, and ensuring that a client enters external administration.

Its most important clients include Uniprofil, Finzgilservis and Sofrino-Estate. 

Russin & Vecchi

Through its offices in Moscow, Vladivostok and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russin & Vecchi provides comprehensive legal advice to both domestic and international businesses.

In the banking and finance space, the firm instructed on a payment dispute between its client, FSDS, its Korean counterparty and two different banks involving a letter of credit. The firm also engaged in regulatory work. 

Its project finance and infrastructure team advised Freyssinet International & Cie, an international engineering company, on its participation in a number of domestic infrastructure projects, including the construction of cable-stayed bridges over Golden Horn bay. It also acted in connection with energy-related joint ventures.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency work has consisted of several restructuring projects. In one standout matter, it advised CH2M Hill in connection with the liquidation of its Russian subsidiary and restructuring of its operations in the region. 

The firm’s key client include Daewoo E&C, Samsung C&T, Freyssinet International and ONGC Videsh.

S&K Vertical

S&K Vertical is an independent, domestic practice that has been operating since 2002 and specialises in dispute work. 

The banking and finance team has been exclusively involved in debt recovery work. This has included, among other similar cases, representation of the International Bank of Azerbaijan against MBIK, the owner of a luxury hotel, in the recovery of debt based on promissory notes amounting to $25m.

In M&A, the firm has advised a number of bodies on their organisation and management structure. It also provided counsel in a unique, high-profile litigation concerning the right of a beneficiary and their right to challenge the validity of a business’s decision to sell its assets.

In the restructuring and insolvency space, it has instructed on several complex, domestic bankruptcy litigation matters. It has also undertaken debt restructuring work. 

Key clients include the International Bank of Azerbaijan, UniCredit Bank, Stanislavsky Theatre Foundation and All-Russian Society of Nature Protection.

Client feedback

“The firm acts as my representative in major corporate cases. They did a tremendous job, which is worthy of recognition. They were able to achieve the reversal of the decisions of several judicial instances in the Supreme Court, which, as far as I know, is extremely rare. The results of the work are more than satisfactory.” – Banking, M&A

“The firm's experts have established themselves as highly qualified professionals in their field, capable of responding quickly and efficiently in particularly acute situations.” – Banking, Project finance

“Professional skills, a prompt response to the problem and the ability to find a way out of the most difficult situation are all strong sides of the firm.” – Banking, Restructuring and insolvency

“It is worth noting that S&K Vertical has been our key legal consultant for many years. This firm has been developing our legal instruments and procedural documents, as well as representing us in courts and providing full legal support in bankruptcy proceedings. An integral characteristic of the firm's work is the synthesis of a systematic approach and flexibility to solve complex legal issues. The firm's lawyers not only show a deep knowledge of various branches of the law but are also able to offer and implement effective solutions aimed at the maximum satisfaction of the client’s needs.” – Banking, Restructuring and insolvency

Mikhail Ilin

“Mikhail Ilin headed the work within the projects. We can recommend him as an outstanding consultant in the area of his specialisation. His proposals became decisive in the course of the dispute.”

Konstantin Krutilnikov

“A great professional, lawyer and manager.”

“Professional skills, prompt response to the problem and the ability to find a way out of the most difficult situation are all the strong side of his work.”

Eugeny Zverev

“Eugeny Zverev leads the team and serves as the main person in charge who is able to show complete composure under the most stressful conditions and ensure a quality product in the shortest possible time. Advocate Anna Kossova and associate Sergey Vysotsky also play an important role in the team.”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Equity capital markets and M&A work are where US firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom excel most in the Russian market, ranking among the best in the country for both.

One example of the equity capital markets team’s work saw it acting for Renault as the key shareholder of Alliance Rostec Auto, the owner of a 75% stake in Avtovaz, on the open subscription for new shares by Avtovaz, which raised R26.1 billion.

The M&A team, continues to secure impressive mandates, one of which saw it assisting Otkritie Holding connection with the $1.45 billion acquisition of Arkhangelskgeoldobycha from Lukoil.

Other notable clients of the firm include LetterOne Holdings and the Roust Corporation.

Client feedback

“As we have a very strong legal in-house team, Skadden is our firm of choice for complex situations where we need partner input and strategic counsel at board/top management level. If there was business-critical problem or a very complex legal situation of some sort, Skadden would be my default option. We also use them for our most significant transactions, both M&A and compliance-related.” – Capital markets: Equity, M&A

“Highly skilled and responsive, providing top-tier US firm advice and support across all levels in a market where attorneys below the senior partner level often fall short. Skadden is more adept at understanding US company issues and translating them into Russian-oriented solutions than any of the other firms we have worked with.” – M&A

Dmitri Kovalenko

“Sophisticated, skilled and responsive, with a good understanding of how to work with US corporations.”

“I have a long-standing relationship with Dmitri. He has assisted us with various M&A assignments over several years, and more recently the focus has been on general corporate work and compliance. He has a superb understanding of our business, is extremely responsive, and always give practical and considered strategic advice. He is our first point of contact if a matter requires higher-level attention and advice on a strategic level.”

Tertychny Agabalyan

Tertychny Agabalyan is mostly known for M&A work in the Russian market. Within that space it has been most active in the real estate sector during the research period.

Recent clients have included Inline Technologies and Seatrek Trans.

Client feedback

“Quite a small legal firm with highly professional lawyers who have a great business understanding. They are attentive to details and provide the best value for money ratio.” – Banking

“The firm has been extremely helpful and innovative in facilitating a complicated real estate acquisition in Russia.” – M&A, Project development

“Very qualified and experienced corporate legal advisory for English and Russian law.” – M&A, Restructuring and insolvency

“The firm provides great value for the money. They show very good knowledge of law and at the same time are business oriented. Attention to details is also their advantage. This firm is very good for projects in Russia” – M&A, Project development, Restructuring and insolvency

Marat Agabalyan

“Professional and diligent.”

 

“The work of Marat is in compliance with the highest international standards. It is true both in terms of quality and ethical standards.”

Ivan Tertychny

“Pro-active, detail-orientated, client-orientated, approachable.”

“Experienced and responsive lawyer with excellent knowledge of English and Russian corporate law.”

“Very professional, experienced, diligent and prompt.” – M&A

Vegas Lex

Vegas Lex is a domestic law firm, based in Moscow, which specialises in energy work. 

The banking and finance team has advised on several loan financing matters. Dispute work has also featured. In one notable such case, the firm provided comprehensive legal counsel to TGK-2, a power company accused of owing R11 billion in overdue debt. In addition, it advised Postal Finance in relation to establishment of the Pochta Bank.

In the equity capital markets space, the firm has instructed on a number of capital increases, while its debt work has mostly comprised of bond issuances, the specific details of which are confidential.

Much of it M&A work is also confidential. However, it has primarily consisted of deoffshorisation and acquisition matters. One publishable mandate in this area saw the firm assist in the structuring of a wind energy joint venture between Fortum and Rusnano.

PPP work has dominated the firm’s project finance and infrastructure work, with the transport, energy and infrastructure sectors representing particular strengths. 

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice has advised borrowers in a variety of corporate and financial restructuring cases. Bankruptcy proceedings have also been commonplace. Its debtor-side work has involved challenging bad-faith creditors and unfair transactions, while when advising creditors it has contested debtor transactions, created a register of creditors' claims and maintained a register of current payments.

Its banking and finance and the M&A team was strengthened by the arrivals of Alexandra Vasyukhnova and Maxim Grigoryev from the Technology and Investment Group and Southern Directorate respectively in June 2016. Meanwhile, Yuri Bortnikov and Kirill Trukhanov left the banking and finance, M&A and capital markets teams in May 2016.

The firm’s most importance clients include Gazprombank, Sberbank Capital, the Czech Export Bank, Volzhsky Orgsynthese and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.

Client feedback

"We had an absolutely positive experience of collaboration with the firm. Their strengths included a comprehensive knowledge of country law, full range of legal services, speedy reaction times, a helicopter view and reliability and responsibility.” – Project development

“They are one of the best law firms in Russia.” – Project development

Vinson & Elkins

Vinson & Elkins is a US-based, international law firm with a well-established practice in Moscow that primarily conducts M&A work.

The firm has acted on all aspects of M&A, from pre-sale restructuring to due diligence and contract drafting. Its work has concentrated firmly on the mining and energy sectors, which notably included buy-side advice to one of the world’s largest gold producers and to Key Energy on matters relating to the disposition of its Russian business.

The firm’s most significant clients include Eurochem Northwest, China Petrochemical Corporation, Crow Family Holdings and MCC EuroChem.

Westside Advisors

Westside Advisors is a domestic firm that focuses on corporate, M&A and private equity work.

The firm has instructed buyers on a number of domestic, private acquisitions in a series of mid-market transactions, including Comita Group in its $10 million acquisition of “ELNA”, a Russian manufacturer of industrial control systems.

It has also has also advised on the establishment of multiple joint ventures within the telecommunications sector, although the precise details are largely confidential. Other important sectors for the firm in this area include IT and energy.  

In the restructuring and insolvency space, corporate restructuring matters have dominated, with one mandate seeing the firm restructure the Russian arm of an international production group following the exit of certain shareholders.

Some of its most important clients include NSU Logistic, Trade House Hilong-Rus and Iskra Systems.

Client feedback

“The strength of the company is in its knowledge of industry and international background. They do all the legal jobs for us and we have no complaints. We have used Westside for more than 13 years and do not plan to change them.” – Banking, M&A

White & Case

US firm White & Case can boast one of the strongest Russian practices of any firm across the full range of financial and corporate work, but it is project finance and M&A work where it really stands out as one of the very best in the market.

In the banking space, one of the more notable matters the team advised on saw it acting for UniCredit Bank Austria, Société Générale and Rosbank as the lenders for a $250 million syndicated pre-export facility to PhosAgro.

The capital markets team continues to secure impressive mandates, including acting for EuroChem in relation to its tender offer for its $750 million LPNs and subsequent issue of a new series of $500 million LPNs, primarily to finance the purchase of notes under the tender offer.

One significant matter the M&A team worked on recently saw it advising the Telia Company group and the special committee of MegaFon on their $740 million acquisition of a controlling stake in Mail.ru.

In the projects space the team remain active, particularly on the financing side of things. One example of this saw it acting for Crédit Suisse in relation to amendments to a $675 million project financing package provided to Ust-Luga Oil.

Yust

Founded in 1992, YUST has an established and extensive presence in Russia, operating across a broad range of sectors. 

In M&A, the firm has advised buyers and seller on a spate of mostly domestic, private acquisitions. For example, it provided buy-side counsel to United Rocket and Space Corporation on its ₽1.1 billion asset-purchase agreement with Kosmos Production Association, who transport passengers and cargo to space. The firm has also instructed on the establishment of a joint venture within the oil and gas sector. 

Its project finance and development team has dealt exclusively with PPP matters, especially in the energy and oil and gas areas. One notable mandate saw the firm advise RT-Invest who, alongside the Russian Ministry of Transport, created a commercial aviation computing system – a project with a total value of ₽10 billion. 

In the R&I space, it has worked alongside debtors and creditors alike in several bankruptcy litigation issues. 

Mobile TeleSystems, Gazprom Space Systems, Rusnano and among the firm’s most noteworthy clients.

Client feedback

“The lawyers at Yust do a great job. They can manage large and complex work and have been of considerable help.” – Banking, Project finance

“Yust is our permanent legal counsel for Corporate and PPP matters. They have been providing us with legal advice for over 11 years and are like our ‘family doctor’. As one of the biggest clients, we have special needs, which are well catered to.” – Banking, Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency

“The strengths of the firm include its high-quality and quick results.” – M&A

“The guys from Yust did the job very fast, in a really short amount of time. What was important for us they were able to do the job quickly without a loss in quality.” – M&A

Anna Kotova-Smolenskaya

“Anna is a very highly qualified and responsive lawyer who does everything on time, even in tight time frames.”

“Anna has great experience in PPP projects across various sectors (transport, sports, healthcare, oil and gas, telecommunications, power generating and other sectors). As a person she is very comfortable to work with.”

“She is one of the strongest Russian lawyers in the corporate, M&A and PPP areas. She is easy to contact and when she works for you, you can expect she will do more than you expect.”

“Anna Kotova-Smolenskaya arranges the team so that the client receives the well-done work in time.”

“I like that they have Anna Kotova-Smolenskaya with her team. You always can count on her after she has started doing your work. She is a very reliable specialist.”