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Chambers Europe

Competition/Antitrust (Band 2)

Basic facts about the department

  • Heads of department: Elena Sokolovskaya and Radmila Nikitina 
  • 2 partners 
  • 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Focused on behavioural and compliance issues. Known for its strength in advisory services, the team assists international and domestic clients with regulatory compliance issues relating to contracts and transactions. Provides support in contentious cases, including cartel investigations and abuse of dominance.

Strengths 

One client sums up their strengths succinctly: "Firstly, we like their technical expertise in this area, they have one of the best antitrust practices in the legal market. Secondly, we like the client-oriented approach." 

Work highlights 

Advised Abbott Laboratories on competition compliance issues in relation to distribution agreements.

Significant clients

Aeroflot, ALROSA, GlaxoSmithKline, Nike, Rosneft.

Notable practitioners  

Elena Sokolovskaya advances in the rankings this year as a result of consistently positive market feedback. "She has excellent expertise in this area, she knows the law, understands the administrative practices and she knows how to channel requests in the right way," a client says. She assists clients with a broad range of advisory as well as contentious matters, including abuse of dominance.

Ranked Lawyers

Elena Sokolovskaya (Band 3) 


Corporate/M&A: Mid-Market (Band 2)

Basic facts about the department

  • 4 partners 
  • 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Remarkable advisory-focused firm acting for a broad roster of blue-chip international clients as well as notable Russian corporates. Provides due diligence reviews and is particularly active in the real estate and life sciences sectors. Also offers corporate governance advice and maintains a transactional practice. Stands out for its excellent tax capability. 

Strengths 

"I think they're down to earth. They understand the questions we want them to deal with and they deliver on quality."

"Very client and solution-oriented lawyers." 

Work highlights 

Advised Harry’s on the sale of its subsidiary Kondi for RUB400 million.

Significant clients 

Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, JTI, Nike, Volkswagen Finance.

Notable practitioners

Vladimir Sokov and Ilya Bolotnov are key client contacts.

 

Dispute resolution: Domestic (Band 3)

Basic facts about the department

  • Head of department: Yuri Vorobyev 
  • 2 partners 
  • 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Commercial disputes group, separate from the firm's formidable tax litigation force. Has been particularly active of late in debt and damages recovery as well as regulatory disputes with state authorities, alongside general commercial disputes.

Strengths 

The team is praised for its court room skills. Clients note the team's "clear and structured presentation of the ideas in the procedural documents" and the ability to "persistently, but properly, convey the right information to the judges."  

Work highlights 

Defended Electrotechnical Company in a EUR7 million dispute relating to penalties for lateness against Rosneft.

Appealed the environmental fines imposed on Zapolyarneft by state authorities before the Russian Constitutional court.

Significant clients 

ALROSA, Gazprom, Samsung, Volkswagen, Yandex.

Notable practitioners

Roman Bevzenko enters the rankings this year based on positive feedback. "He has good technical knowledge, he's very systematic," says a source. Sources also note his strong theoretical background.

Ranked Lawyers

Roman Bevzenko (Up and Coming)


Employment (Band 1)

Basic facts about the department

  • Head of department: Julia Borozdna 
  • 1 partner 
  • 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Leading team with a significant contentious practice alongside well-established advisory capabilities. Strong track record in handling unfair dismissals, immigration and employee payment disputes as well as negotiations with trade unions. Assists with compliance matters. Acts for a client base comprising major global and domestic companies. 

Strengths 

Sources praise the team's client service approach: "They are friendly, collaborative and very client-oriented," a client says, adding he received "prompt responses."

Work highlights 

Conducted a human resources audit of IKEA's Russian operations and also represented the company in court with regard to the indexation of salaries.

Significant clients 

ALROSA, FIFA, Nestlé, Tele2, Thomson Reuters.

Notable practitioners

Top-ranked employment lawyer Julia Borozdna has an excellent reputation in the market. She acts for clients on a large array of contentious matters and also supports them in day-to-day business issues. Sources report she is "attentive" as well as "client-oriented."

Senior associate Anna Berlina  assists clients with labour advisory matters as well as contentious mandates. "She has a deep knowledge of labour relations," a client reports, adding: "She is a really strong consultant, she gives us detailed recommendations." 

Ranked Lawyers

Julia Borozdna (Band 1)

Anna Berlina (Associates to watch)


Intellectual property (Band 2)

Basic facts about the department

  • Heads of department: Valentina Orlova and Yuri Yahin 
  • 2 partners 
  • 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Respected IP team providing comprehensive legal advice on IP rights management with a focus on commercial and transactional IP. Handles trade mark and patent-related matters, including contentious issues often settled pre-court. Respected for its in-house academic expertise. Clients include notable international brands.

Strengths 

Clients comment on the team's commercial advice, saying: "They give practical solutions and are ready to defend their point of view in court," and: "They are ready to change the existing court practice."

Efficiency is also frequently mentioned by sources: "We are very impressed by the efficiency of the IP team." 

Work highlights 

Represented Rosatom in a foreign patent filing matter, where patent applications for inventions had to be filed in 18 different jurisdictions.

Significant clients 

Astellas Pharma, Hoffmann-La Roche, BAT, BMW, ALROSA. 

Notable practitioners

Valentina Orlova has a wealth of knowledge and experience in non-contentious IP matters, especially trade mark and commercial issues involving licensing and franchise agreements. She is admired by clients for her "deep practical knowledge combined with an ability to achieve an optimal result" and quick decision-making. 

Ranked Lawyers

Valentina Orlova (Band 2


Life Sciences (Band 2)

Basic facts about the department

  • Heads of department: Vladimir Sokov and Sergei Klimenko

What the team is known for 

Well-regarded team assisting leading international pharmaceutical companies with their Russian businesses. Advises on localisation and pricing issues as well as regulatory and compliance matters. Provides antitrust and corporate assistance.

Strengths 

Clients note the firm's proactive approach, saying the team seeks "feedback during a project on what's going well and what is not, and is able to improve on the way," adding that the lawyers "always work as a team" and are "commercial."

Work highlights 

Assisted Abbott Laboratories with the development of an online model of direct sales for medical devices.

Advised Chiesi Pharmaceuticals on the implementation of a direct distribution system in Russia, as well as localisation projects. 

Significant clients 

Teva, GlaxoSmithKline Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Hoffmann-La Roche, Siemens. 

Notable practitioners

Sergey Klimenko rises in the ranking as a result of very positive feedback from clients. Sources highlight his in-house experience in the pharmaceutical industry and particularly praise his regulatory expertise. Clients say he "works fast" and delivers advice in a simple and clear manner.

Vladimir Sokov is a corporate law specialist with a significant track record in advising pharmaceutical companies and distributors of medical devices. He recently advised Becton Dickinson on a variety of commercial issues, including clinical trials, merchandising, public procurement and data protection.

Ranked Lawyers

Sergey Klimenko (Band 3)

Vladimir Sokov (Band 3) 


Real Estate (Band 3)

Basic facts about the department

  • Heads of department: Vladimir Sokov and Alexey Konevsky

What the team is known for 

Well-regarded domestic team advising international and local clients across a spectrum of real estate matters. Works on real estate transactions, construction projects and lease agreements. Notable real estate litigation capabilities complemented by its stellar tax practice. Provides due diligence support and day-to-day regulatory advice. Boasts a diverse client base, demonstrating a particularly solid track record in the retail sector.

Strengths 

Clients appreciate the lawyers' client-oriented approach. One client states: "They are practical and down-to-earth," adding that the lawyers "produce precise and to-the-point advice."

Several sources highlight the team's responsiveness and efficiency. 

Work highlights 

Advised Zarubezhneft-Dobycha Kharyaga on the transfer of operation of Kharyaga oil deposit from Total to Zarubezhneft which includes a transfer of construction contracts.

Represented Crocus Group in a number of real estate tax disputes. 

Significant clients 

Becton Dickinson, Enka, FIFA, HALS-Development.

Ranked Lawyers

Alexey Konevsky enters the rankings on the back of good feedback from clients and market commentators, with sources describing him as "client-oriented and helpful in terms of defining an overall strategy." He is active across a broad spectrum of real estate matters.

Ranked Lawyers

Alexey Konevsky (Band 4)


Restructuring/Insolvency (Band 5)

Basic facts about the department

  • 1 partner  
  • 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Joining the ranking this year, this well-reputed domestic team of litigation specialists is also active in bankruptcy matters. Advises on insolvency-related risks as well as pre-court debt restructuring. Benefits from its stellar tax practice.

Strengths 

"Looking for workable solutions, offering different alternatives."

Work highlights 

Represented Rietumu banka in a number of borrowers' bankruptcies.

Acted on behalf of Saton Holdings in relation to the bankruptcy of a supplier of pharmaceuticals.

Significant clients 

ALROSA, Hellenic Bank, Maersk, Nike, Oriflame.

Notable practitioners  

Yulia Litovtseva is a key contact for clients.

 

Tax (Band 1)

Basic facts about the department

  • Heads of department: Rustem Ahmetshin, Andrey Nikonov and Valentina Akimova 
  • 10 partners 
  • 50 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

Formidable tax litigation practice with an exceptional track record of acting on high-profile tax disputes. Offers strong coverage of regulatory and advisory matters, advising on a particularly broad selection of issues. Highly popular with both major domestic and multinational clients. 

Strengths 

Highlighting the key strength of the team, one source says: "Everyone goes to them to be represented in disputes," adding that this is equally true of Russians as of international companies. Another source confirms: "They excel in tax controversy. They have a very good reputation and depth in their bench."

Clients also praise the speed of responses, smooth communication and in-depth advice. "We brain-storm together and that's really good. We can talk things through," a client says. "What is most beneficial is that they give practical advice," another client reports, adding: "They understand us very well."

Work highlights 

Successfully represented Gazprom Neft before the Constitutional Court in relation to a demand from the tax authorities to pay additional mineral extraction tax. 

Represented several companies belonging to Tele2, Tele2 Voronezh, Saint Petersburg Telecom and Siberian Cellular Communication, in disputes with tax authorities relating to demands of significant additional tax payments.

Significant clients 

ALROSA, FIFA, BAT, Nestlé, Transneft.

Notable practitioners  

Founding partner and eminent practitioner Sergey Pepeliaev is among Russia's most respected tax lawyers. He assists clients with strategic and high-profile matters and is described by sources as "smart and creative."

Rustem Ahmetshin is a very well-established and notable name in the Russian tax space. His key area of focus is tax disputes, where he represents clients in courts including the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. "He's been representing companies for ages, so he knows how it works," a client says, adding: "The way he communicates, it's very persuasive." Another client reports that "he's willing to stay late, to work hard. I know he can sort things out."

Andrey Nikonov assists with general tax issues and also acts on contentious cases. He has particular expertise in representing oil and gas companies. He also assists with challenging tax audit reports. 

Valentina Akimova is known for her contentious tax practice, particularly in relation to VAT disputes. "She is client and result-oriented," a source reports. 

Head of the St Petersburg tax practice Sergey Sosnovsky assists clients based in the North-West region and is well respected for his track record in tax disputes. He also advises on general taxation matters, including tax structuring.

Ranked Lawyers  

Sergey Pepeliaev (Eminent Practitioner)

Rustem Ahmetshin (Band 2)

Andrey Nikonov (Band 2)

Valentina Akimova (Band 3)

Sergey Sosnovsky (Band 3)


TMT (Recognised Practitioner)

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.


St. Petersburg

Dispute Resolution (Band 2)

Basic facts about the department

  • Head of department: Sergey Spasennov 
  • 1 partner 
  • 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

St Petersburg branch of a strong domestic firm with a stellar reputation for tax disputes. Also represents clients in a broad range of corporate conflicts, including contractual, debt recovery, bankruptcy and regulatory disputes. Labour-related disputes are a recent area of activity. Acts for a client base of international corporates with a regional presence. 

Strengths

Interviewees appreciate the client-oriented approach of the team. "We love their practical and confident approach to solving cases, combined with being open, friendly and ready for negotiations."

Another source notes the availability of the team. "They're very fast to respond to any question."

Work highlights 

Acted for an oil and gas company on a dispute concerning the results of a tax audit.

Represented a foreign car manufacturer in a dispute with a construction company it had terminated a contract with.

Significant clients 

Citibank, EurasTech Corporation, IKEA, Heineken, Smurfit Kappa.

Notable practitioners

Managing partner Sergey Spasennov assists clients with contractual and commercial disputes, including bankruptcy cases. "He is a wonderful negotiator; we appreciate his invariably constructive approach to solving any issue and ability to propose options that satisfy both parties," a client says.

Ranked Lawyers

Sergey Spasennov (Band 3)


General Business Law (Band 3)

Basic facts about the department

  • Head of department: Sergey Spasennov 
  • 1 partner 
  • 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

St Petersburg-based outfit of a highly regarded domestic firm. Advises on corporate structuring and governance matters as well as tax issues. Also provides M&A and transactional support. Newly ranked real estate team advises on real estate disputes as well as general construction matters. Clients include both European and domestic corporates.

Strengths 

Clients note the team's pragmatic attitude, highlighting the "practical and realistic advice," and also praise the lawyers for working well under time pressure. 

Work highlights 

Assisted a foreign building materials manufacturer with a sale of participatory interest in a Russian company.

Significant clients 

Heineken, Lenta, Maersk, Palfinger, BAT.

Ranked Lawyers

Sergey Sosnovsky heads the tax practice in St Petersburg. He is well regarded for his tax compliance advice and support in the related disputes. A client describes him as "a skilful" lawyer.

Managing partner Sergey Spasennov oversees the corporate practice, assisting clients with structuring and transaction. "He manages things very well," a client reports.

Ranked Lawyers

Sergey Sosnovsky (Band 3)

Sergey Spasennov (Band 3)


General Business Law: Real Estate (Band 3)

Basic facts about the department

  • Head of department: Sergey Spasennov 
  • 1 partner 
  • 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for 

St Petersburg-based outfit of a highly regarded domestic firm. Advises on corporate structuring and governance matters as well as tax issues. Also provides M&A and transactional support. Newly ranked real estate team advises on real estate disputes as well as general construction matters. Clients include both European and domestic corporates.

Strengths 

Clients note the team's pragmatic attitude, highlighting the "practical and realistic advice," and also praise the lawyers for working well under time pressure. 

Work highlights 

Assisted a foreign building materials manufacturer with a sale of participatory interest in a Russian company.

Significant clients 

Heineken, Lenta, Maersk, Palfinger, BAT.

Ranked Lawyers

Sergey Sosnovsky heads the tax practice in St Petersburg. He is well regarded for his tax compliance advice and support in the related disputes. A client describes him as "a skilful" lawyer.

Managing partner Sergey Spasennov oversees the corporate practice, assisting clients with structuring and transaction. "He manages things very well," a client reports.

Ranked Lawyers

Sergey Sosnovsky (Band 3)

Sergey Spasennov (Band 3)


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