The Russian legal market has had to adjust to the new reality against the background of continued sanctions and general economic slow-down in the country.
Whilst several of top 25 global law firms have cut back their Moscow offerings (e.g. capital markets practices in 2014) one international law firm, Kennedys, has bucked the trend by recently setting up a Russian base through an executive arrangement with a local firm and hiring of an insurance practice head.
This is apparently due to a rise in demand for insurance-related advice in the country from non-Russian insurers. Commenting on other general trends in the Russian legal market, some market players have said local legal sector has had to move towards more domestic finance and litigation work to survive in this reality.
It remains to be seen what other services will be in demand on the Russian legal market that international law firms can provide, but the news from Kennedys looks like a silver lining to this situation.
Kennedys' launch comes with the hire of former Clyde & Co Russian insurance practice head Constantin Saranchouk, along with an associate, and follows troubled markets in Russia across 2014 that saw a raft of firms scale back in the region due to international sanctions.