Legal giant Linklaters confirmed to City A.M. it is closing down its entire Russian operations, after a presence of more than three decades.
In an email, the Magic Circle law firm said that, after careful consideration and “as the appalling war in Ukraine continues, we will wind down our operations in Russia and close our Moscow office.”
“We will continue supporting our people there in the process, doing all we can to help them transfer to new roles within Linklaters or otherwise. We are grateful to our Moscow team for all their contributions and friendship since we opened the office in 1992.”
Moreover, Linklaters also said it will not act for individuals or entities that are controlled by, or under the influence of, the Russian state, or connected with the current Russian regime, “wherever they are in the world.”
In addition, the firm stressed “we will continue to assist international clients in dealing with the implications of the current crisis and in unwinding their Russian business interests.”
Another legal giant, Baker McKenzie, is also reviewing its ties to Russia with a view to cutting links with certain clients.
“Baker McKenzie is reviewing and adjusting our Russia-related operations and client work to align with all applicable sanctions and comply with these fast-evolving laws,” a Baker McKenzie spokesperson told City A.M. last week.
“We do not comment on the details of specific client relationships, but this will mean in some cases exiting relationships completely.”
Separately, Norton Rose Fulbright told its lawyers not to comment on sanctions.
In an email to City A.M. a Norton Rose Fulbright spokesperson said: “Our sanctions team is advising clients across the world and, given the rapidly evolving situation, it is important that this advice is provided directly, through the appropriate channels.”
“We therefore recently issued an internal notice relating specifically to external commentary on sanctions.”
“We take client confidentiality extremely seriously and it is standard practice for us to issue internal notices on any developing legal and regulatory issues, where clients may be directly or indirectly affected.
“We are not able to comment on individual clients. We have appropriate risk management policies in place across our global business and keep all relationships the firm has under review.”