Squire Sanders spins off Kiev base

US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey has transferred its Ukraine practice to an independent local firm.

The deal saw eight Kiev-based fee earners transfer to The Silecky Firm from 1 September. The move will also result in Silecky forming an exclusive alliance agreement with Squire Sanders, with the local firm being “open to a merger downstream”.

Helen Kryshtalowych, who will remain a Squire Sanders partner operating from Silecky’s office, will continue to head the US firm’s local practice.

Name partner Markian Silecky told Legal Week Global: “This allows us to service our clients internationally and gives Squire Sanders the local coverage they needed.”

The decision of Squire Sanders to transfer its office comes despite the US firm’s strong commitment to the Central and Eastern European region.

However, the difficulty of integrating Eastern European lawyers into foreign firms’ partnership pay structures, local lawyers are typically paid far less, has led many international firms to rely on loose alliances.

Kryshtalowych, the chair of the local legal committee of the American Chamber of Commerce, has helped Squire Sanders carve out its local reputation, advising clients such as Lafarge, Union Fenosa International and the Ukrainian Government.

Other firms to branch into the Ukrainian market include Baker & McKenzie and Salans, with others expected to enter in the future.

Ukraine is the third European country in which Cleveland-based Squire Sanders has forged an alliance following deals with Irish firm Brian O’Donnell & Partners and Voicu & Filipescu of Romania.