A&O and Clifford Chance complete magic circle departures from Moscow

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By Thomas Connelly on


Host of top international firms have shuttered offices in response to invasion

Moscow, Russia

Magic circle duo Allen & Overy (A&O) and Clifford Chance have confirmed they will “wind down” their Moscow offices in light of Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.

A&O, which previously announced it was reviewing its “Russia-related portfolio”, said the move will be managed in line with all legal, regulatory and professional obligations.

A statement from the firm read: “This was not an easy decision to make as we have 55 people there and we needed to make sure that we could take this action with their best welfare in mind. We are very grateful for their hard work over many years.”

It added:

“We are doing everything we can to support and where possible will redeploy them to work elsewhere, in particular with other A&O offices as we continue to help those clients we can and choose to work with through this difficult transition period.”

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Clifford Chance, meanwhile, said it had begun “an orderly wind down” of its operations in Moscow. This follows its announcement last week that it would “not accept new mandates from any Russian state entity, Russian state-owned enterprises or individuals identified as having close connections to President Putin”.

The decisions mean no members of the magic circle will have an office in Russia, after Freshfields and Linklaters made similar announcements earlier this week. Slaughter and May does not have an outpost in the country.

Other firms to close their offices in Russia in response to the invasion include Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Eversheds Sutherland, Gowling WLG, Kennedys, Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright and Squire Patton Boggs.

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