Bakers corruption lawyer joins City office following ejection from Russia

A Baker & McKenzie lawyer who was earlier this year banned from entering Russia, where he was based, has transferred to the firm’s London office. 

Tom Firestone, a former US Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutor, is a senior of counsel in Bakers’ compliance and risk group, and advises clients in high-risk and emerging markets on matters relating to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

He joined the firm last September from the DoJ, where he worked as resident legal adviser at the US Embassy in Moscow to improve US-Russian law enforcement co-operation and advise the US Government on policy issues relating to crime and corruption in Russia.

Firestone was detained and refused entry to Russia after returning to the country from a business trip in May. At the time, the Russian government did not offer Baker & McKenzie or Firestone an explanation for the decision.

He has been based in Baker’s Washington office since he was thrown out of Russia.

Prior to his work in Russia, Firestone served as an assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where he concentrated on the investigation and prosecution of white-collar and organized crime cases, including a $1bn fraud committed by the Gambino crime family.

“I couldn’t be happier; being in London is really the perfect fit for my practice,” Firestone told Legal Week. “We are between the US, where a lot of the enforcement comes from, and a number of high-risk jurisdictions, and the office here has great capacity.”

“One of our associates, Henry Garfield, has just returned from a secondment to the Serious Fraud Office, so between the two of us we will look to provide a one-stop shop. There’s not an international corruption case that doesn’t have some exposure to the FCPA and the Bribery Act.”

Firestone said that despite not being able to visit Russia, he would continue to advise clients on Russia-related matters.

“With Tom’s arrival, we will now be able to advise our London and European-based clients in ‘real time’ on compliance with the FCPA,” added Joanna Ludlam, co-chair of Bakers’ London compliance and risk group, which consists of more than 50 lawyers and 12 partners.