Big legal players reassess Moscow links
Ashurst has become the latest international law firm to take steps in response to the escalating war in the Ukraine.
The outfit confirmed to Legal Cheek it will not take on new clients linked to the Russian state and will cease work on existing matters relating to Russian clients. This, the firm said, is regardless of whether they are subject to government sanctions or not.
It’s not clear how many clients will be impacted by the decision, although the firm’s work with Russian clients is understood to be fairly minimal. And unlike many of its City rivals, Ashurst does not have an office in Russia.
Other major City firms are also reassessing their work for Russian clients.
White & Case confirmed it is “reviewing” its Russian and Belarusian client work and “taking steps to exit some representations in accordance with applicable rules of professional responsibility”. It confirmed its Moscow office remains open and “complying fully with all applicable sanctions”.
Baker McKenzie, meanwhile, is “reviewing and adjusting our Russia-related operations and client work to align with all applicable sanctions and comply with these fast-evolving laws”.
The firm, which has offices in Moscow and St Petersburg, said that it does not comment on the details of specific client relationships, “but this will mean in some cases exiting relationships completely”.
Elsewhere, Linklaters issued the following statement: “The situation in Ukraine is deeply distressing and our immediate thoughts are with the Ukrainian people. We’re actively monitoring the situation and working to ensure the safety and support of colleagues and their families. We’re also reviewing all of the firm’s Russia-related work.”
Kennedys confirmed it took the decision to “wind down” its office in Moscow last summer, and does not intend to renew the lease once it expires next year. “Naturally, our thoughts and sympathies lie with Ukraine,” said Nick Thomas, global senior partner. “We are now working hard to identify local Ukrainian and Polish charities to ensure that we are providing support in places where it is needed most.”
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