By Cristiano Dalla Bona 5 March 2019
German firm Noerr has snared a five-strong team of fee-earners in Prague from PwC Legal, including its local managing partner.
Bořivoj Líbal, who led PwC Legal’s Prague office for more than three years, will lead Noerr’s Czech Republic outpost alongside current managing partner Barbara Kusak, who has spent her entire career at the German firm. Kusak also heads the office’s transaction advisory practice in the Central Eastern Europe region.
Líbal will bring under his wing senior associates Petr Kobylka and Michal Jekielek and associates Ondřej Řitička and Marek Poloni. The team previously advised on cross-border and local transactions, with a focus on areas such as real estate, IT, regulation and data protection.
“Bořivoj Líbal and his team will strengthen Noerr’s service offering for both our national and international clients in the Czech Republic and will significantly reinforce our local presence,” Jörg Menzer, regional managing partner of Noerr’s outposts in Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, Warsaw and Prague, said in a statement.
The move builds on previous laterals made by Noerr to boost its operations in the region. In January 2017, Noerr added an 11-strong team of fee-earners in Warsaw, including White & Case’s former office managing partner Witold Danilowicz. Between Noerr and White & Case, Danilowicz founded independent Polish firm DJBW along with Witold Jurcewicz, another partner from White & Case. They joined Noerr alongside two other partners, bringing the firm’s Warsaw fee-earning team up to a total of 30. While Danilowicz joined as of counsel, DJBW partner Radoslaw Biedecki was appointed to head the Warsaw office.
The following year, the firm expanded its banking and finance practice with the addition of Kinstellar partner Edina Schweizer in Budapest and White & Case partner Ludek Chvosta in Prague; it targeted Kinstellar for the second time that year when Hungary-based partner Akos Mates-Lanyi joined Noerr’s office.
PwC Legal’s Prague office, which is now led by tax partner Radek Buršík, first launchedits legal operations in the Czech Republic in 2011 after raiding local firms.
Noerr, which first opened in Prague in 1990, is committing towards an area that has recently seen a change of heart on the part of international firms operating there. Weil Gotshal pulled out from its Prague office at the end of last year. The office underwent a rebranding operation as an independent law firm called Skils and is led by managing partner Karel Muzikar, along with three equity partners. Late last January, Squire Patton Boggs closed its Budapest office, with most of the office defecting to Wolf Theiss.
K&L Gates, too, is understood to be considering its steps in Warsaw, mirroring similar strategic reviews held at other US firms with outposts in the CEE region.
While the area has historically had mixed fortunes for several international firms in recent years, Eversheds Sutherland merged with CEE-based firm DHP Legal last December. Through this merger, Eversheds added 49 lawyers and gained a presence both in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, bringing the firm’s global footprint to 68 offices in 34 countries.