Eastern European Markets
October 5, 2006

Hannes Snellman expands to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev

Hannes Snellman Attorneys at Law Ltd is expanding its international services to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. Hannes Snellman’s Russian operations will employ some 30 lawyers in Russia and the Ukraine as well as 7 lawyers at the Russian desk in Helsinki.

Hannes Snellman’s expansion to Russia and the Ukraine is being executed by way of a transaction. The firm is combining its resources with ETL Law Offices, which has a strong foothold on the Russian market.

Hannes Snellman focuses on transactions and conflict management. The offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev will improve the firm’s international service capabilities within its focal area. Hannes Snellman already has Chinese operations in Beijing.

As a result of the transaction Hannes Snellman will become the biggest Nordic law firm in Russia.

"Thanks to our practical northern European approach and our experience we are in an excellent position compared with our Anglo-Saxon competitors in Russia. We know our northern European clients and Hannes Snellman is the only Nordic law firm with the resources required to handle major assignments in Russia," explains Johan Aalto, Hannes Snellman’s Managing Partner.

"I am convinced that we can offer added value services to northern European clients in Russia, Russian clients on their domestic market as well as to Russian companies with northern European interests," continues Aalto.

Russia on its way to becoming a normal market economy

"The market for legal services is growing rapidly in Russia, the Ukraine and the rest of the CIS area. The growth in Russia is based on the second wave of establishment – i.e. direct acquisitions and green field production projects. The first wave mainly constituted the establishment of marketing and bridgehead companies. We have now passed that stage. The second wave requires substantial local experience – a beginner cannot offer a client efficient service at this stage," says Olli Pohjanvirta who is in charge of Hannes Snellman’s Russian operations. He has more than 10 years experience of the Russian market and is becoming a partner at Hannes Snellman as a result of the transaction.

"The volume of transactions will increase rapidly in Russia in the near future. The demand for legal services which combine a Nordic approach with solid local experience of Russian conditions and Russian ways of operating is growing continuously on this demanding market," says Seppo Remes who is one of the board members at RAO UES, the world’s biggest electricity company.

"The Russian real estate market is growing fast. A law firm with a practical Nordic approach to providing services is welcome – it’s hard to find that type of service on the Russian market," says Thomas Lindeborg who is in charge of London & Regional Properties’ operations in northern Europe and Russia. London & Regional Properties is one of Europe’s biggest real estate investors.

"It is not just the demand for services related to the real estate sector and corporate and financing transactions that is increasing. The demand for services related to conflict management is growing too, as economic interests in Russia increase," explains Olli Pohjanvirta.

The legal services market in Russia is developing quickly. In Moscow there are local law firms as well as big international law firms. Hannes Snellman will now become the biggest Nordic law firm on the Russian market.

About Hannes Snellman:
Hannes Snellman focuses on transactions and conflict management. The firm has 230 employees and has operations in Beijing, Helsinki, Kiev, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

For further information
Johan Aalto, Managing Partner, tel. +358 9 2288 4239,
Olli Pohjanvirta, Head of Russian operations, tel. + 358 40 900 6977
Markus Engberg, Head of Russian integration, tel. +358 9 2288 4283

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