Greenberg takes 11-strong Hogan Lovells real estate team in boost for Warsaw office

Greenberg Traurig has significantly bolstered its Warsaw office with the hire of an 11-lawyer real estate team from Hogan Lovells, including local practice head Jolanta Nowakowska-Zimoch.

The group also comprises partners Agata Jurek-Zbrojska, Malgorzata Madej-Balcerowska and Justyna Szwech.

Nowakowska-Zimoch will take charge of Greenberg’s Polish real estate practice, which now comprises more than 40 lawyers. In a statement, she described the move as “tremendously exciting.”

Greenberg Traurig Warsaw senior partner Lejb Fogelman said the hires represent a “tremendous win” for the firm.

Hogan Lovells did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Greenberg and Hogan Lovells were both ranked in the top tier for Polish real estate and construction work in the latest edition of The Legal 500.

International law firms flocked to Poland during the 1990s and early 2000s, seeking to tap into a glut of large-scale privatisation work. US-based law firms collectively have more lawyers in Warsaw than in Moscow, Munich or Milan, according to ALM data. Dentons and CMS are the largest two international firms in Poland, with more than 100 lawyers each.

But as the government’s privatisation drive came to an end, the big-ticket M&A and IPO deals have all but dried up. And with the market having become overlawyered, international law firms now face a double whammy of intense competition and severe pricing pressure from clients.

White & Case is among the firms that have downsized their local presence, while the Warsaw office of legacy Chadbourne & Parke (now Norton Rose Fulbrightspun off last year to form a standalone practice – Radzikowski Szubielska i Wspolnicy.

Greenberg Traurig, on the other hand, has continued to invest in the country, and last year launched a standalone disputes practice with the hire of White & Case’s former Polish managing partner, Pawel Pietkiewicz.