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January 27, 2011 1:23 PM

Baker Botts Partner Sheedy Found Dead in Moscow

Posted by Brian Baxter

John Sheedy, a corporate partner at Baker Botts, was found dead in his apartment in Moscow on Tuesday night. The firm confirmed Sheedy's death on Wednesday.

The Moscow Times reported that same day that Sheedy, 53, was found by his maid, who called the police.

"It has been determined that at the time of death the deceased was alone in the flat, as it was bolted from the inside, which indicates that no one else could have been there," said Viktoria Tsyplenkova, a spokeswoman for the investigative committee of the Moscow prosecutor's office.

Baker Botts said in a statement posted on the firm's Web site that Sheedy was a member of the firm's global projects team and had lived in Moscow for the better part of his career. His practice focused on energy and natural resources, M&A, private equity, and project finance work.

"John was a talented lawyer highly regarded and well-liked by clients and colleagues," the firm said. "He was kind, considerate, with an excellent sense of humor and a true appreciation for the arts and literature. Our thoughts and prayers are with John's family and friends. He will be sorely missed."

Sheedy had more than 20 years of experience representing both Russian and foreign clients in Russia, according to Baker Botts. He joined the firm's Moscow office a year ago from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Sheedy had previously practiced at Coudert Brothers, which folded in 2005 shortly after a group of partners defected for Orrick and other rivals. (At the time, Western firms were flocking to Moscow, Europe's largest city.)

While at Orrick, Sheedy spoke with Law.com's international page in September 2008 for a Q&A about his years spent practicing law in Russia. A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Michigan Law School, Sheedy joined Coudert's Russia practice in New York in 1988. That year the firm became the first in the U.S. to open in Moscow. After five years of nine-hour flights between both cities, Sheedy moved to Moscow full-time in 1993 after he made partner at Coudert.

"It's been a fascinating ride," Sheedy said in that interview.

Sheedy returned to New York in 1996 to work on Russian finance, oil and gas, and joint venture work. In 2004, he returned to Moscow with Coudert for one year, before leaving to join Orrick with several colleagues. As the Russian economy diversified, Sheedy focused on cross-border corporate, M&A, and finance matters in a "diverse range of industries, including energy, consumer and food products, manufacturing, and the financial sector," according to Baker Botts.

"It is very sad," says Jamison Firestone, a founder of Moscow-based Firestone Duncan, who knew Sheedy well. "John was not only a great lawyer who really knew Russian law, he was a kind and decent human being."

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I've known John for a good twenty years - he was not only a very good attorney but a wonderful human being and a good friend. I do not believe that John has commited suicide - talked to him shortly before this tragedy - he was cheerful and happy with his life. I think that our Embassy should get involved in solving this = people keep dying in Russia and nothing happens, nothing has been resolved. Alex Geller

I did not learn of John's death until May 29, 2012. I worked very closely with John when he began his legal career with Andrews Kurth LLP in Houston. John was very bright and quickly blossomed into an extremely able attorney. He was a genuinely decent person. What I remember most are his many, many good human qualities. May he rest in peace.
David G. Elkins

John and I were childhood friends so I have know him a very long time. There is no way he committed suicide. This is a murder cover-up. We always joked around he was probably a CIA operative and his death is very suspect. Perhaps oil & gas, contracts & Russian mob might have a connect here. I am convinced it is more than meets the eye since nobody has anything more to say. Search John Sheedy. Almost no follow up to his story. Strange.

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