Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy has joined its Magic Circle rivals in vowing to wind down its Moscow office, as law firms from across Europe and the US pile out of Russia.
Allen & Overy’s decision to wind down its Russian operations comes after the firm first opened its Moscow office in 1993.
The Magic Circle firm currently employs 55 staff in Moscow as part of its Global Russia Practice, which employs 150 lawyers both in Russia and elsewhere.
In condemning Russia’s “illegal and senseless invasion of Ukraine” the law firm said its decision to close its Moscow office “was not an easy” one, as it said the winding down process would sit “in line” with all of the firm’s “legal, regulatory and professional obligations”.
Allen & Overy’s decision to exit Russia and close its Moscow offices comes as law firms from across the globe seek to distance themselves from Russia.
The Magic Circle law firm’s decision to exit Russia comes after Allen & Overy faced pressure to cut its links to the country, with the firm having previously worked for clients including Russian mining company Severstal, energy producer Lukoil, and Russia’s state-owned gas producer Gazprom.
All three firms have strong ties to Russia’s oligarchs, including mining billionaire Alexei Mordashov, and others major players with links to Vladimir Putin.
Over the past week, major international law firms including Eversheds Sutherland, Norton Rose Fulbright, Squire Patton Boggs, Latham & Watkins, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, all said they would be closing their Moscow offices
This week, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, one of London’s oldest law firms, also said it would be closing its Moscow offices, as it set out to drop two of its Russian clients, including state-backed development bank VEB.RF, which it had been defending in a legal battle over thousands of sacred Jewish manuscripts.