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July 19, 2011 12:14 PM

Leading Russian Firms Combine to Create Region's Largest Legal Business

Posted by Chris Johnson

Leading Russian firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners will acquire 100-lawyer pan-Commonwealth of Independent States practice Magisters in the region's largest-ever law firm merger, the firms jointly announced Tuesday. The combined business, which will operate under the Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners (EPAP) name, will comprise 27 partners and more than 300 lawyers.

Dimitry Afanasiev, chairman of Moscow-based EPAP, says that his firm needed to merge in order to sustain its growth.

"This merger is unprecedented for our market," he tells The Am Law Daily. "We [will be] a step ahead of any national or international law firm in size, market penetration, and regional coverage in Russia and the CIS."

Magisters was originally established in Ukraine in 1997 and has expanded aggressively throughout the CIS in recent years, merging with firms in Russia and Belarus and establishing additional greenfield offices in Kazakhstan and London.

EPAP's move to merge with Magisters follows the 2008 launch of Goltsblat BLP, which was established through the merger of a 70-lawyer corporate team from Russian firm Pepeliaev, Goltsblat & Partners and U.K.-based Berwin Leighton Paisner. (The lawyers who remained behind have since rebranded their business as the Pepaliev Group.)

An article in a recent issue of sibling publication The American Lawyer's Focus Europe supplement explored whether more Russian firms will join forces to ensure their long-term survival.

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