Kennedys launches in Moscow with former Clyde & Co Russian insurance head
May 6, 2015
Following troubled markets in Russia across 2014, a handful of firms have signalled a renewed interest in the region, with Kennedys being the most recent to set up a Russian base.
The firm has formed an arrangement with local firm and former best friend of Clyde & Co – CIS Advocates. The launch comes with the hire of Clyde & Co’s Constantin Saranchouk, who formerly headed the firm’s Russian insurance practice, along with an associate.
The office will operate as Kennedys CIS Advocates, and will be headed by Russian-qualified Saranchouk, who subject to SRA approval, will become a Kennedys Law LLP partner in due course. Saranchouk joins Kennedys having served at Clyde & Co since April 2011. Before this, he was the founding partner of Vetta Legal from October 2004 to April 2011.
The new office, launched today (6 May), will be the firm’s first Moscow base and have an initial focus on high value insurance disputes covering international power and energy, construction and aerospace markets. This will later develop to cover a wider client base that includes international insurance groups, London Market insurers and Russian insurance companies.
Kennedys’ Moscow launch is the latest in a series of oversea developments, including a cooperation agreement in China and a Joint Law Venture in Singapore, announced this year, as well as a formal association with Chilean insurance law firm, Sateler Depolo Diemoz Abogados (SDD).
Meanwhile, US Chadbourne & Parke also recently boosted its presence in Russia with the hire of energy partner Andrei Baev from Berwin Leighton Paisner as Moscow managing partner. This came after Chadbourne closed down its Kiev operations last summer.
Contrary to Chadbourne and Kennedy’s decision to scale up in Moscow, numerous firms cut back in Russia last year as US-led economic sanctions heavily affected the debt financing capabilities of some of Russia’s largest banks. Firms known to be affected by the sanctions included Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, White & Case and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, while Clyde & Co closed its Russia office in 2013 after it found a lack of opportunity in the market.
Kennedys CIS Advocates launches in Moscow
Through an arrangement with local chambers, CIS Advocates, the operation – Kennedys CIS Advocates – will be headed by Constantin Saranchouk, Russian-qualified advocate. With an initial focus on high value insurance disputes, the office is expected to attract work from Constantin’s and our own client base of international insurance groups and London Market insurers, as well as major Russian insurance companies.
Constantin, who is joined by associate, Irina Molchanova, specialises in high value insurance claims, the resolution of insurance disputes in the Russian commercial courts and international arbitrations seated in Russia. His clients are both Russian and international insurance companies, particularly those covering the international power and energy, construction and aerospace markets.
Our presence in Moscow is the latest in a series of international developments, with a cooperation agreement in China and a Joint Law Venture in Singapore announced this year. We now have 22 offices worldwide and an active network of 13 associated offices and co-operations, the latest being a formal Association with Chilean insurance law firm, Sateler Depolo Diemoz Abogados (SDD).
Constantin Saranchouk, advocate, says:
“I have known Kennedys’ partners for the last ten years, having been jointly instructed by mutual clients on a number of occasions. The firm has an excellent reputation in the insurance market and a growing international reach that will appeal to my client base. Given the current levels of activity in the Russian energy, construction and aerospace markets, and a rise in disputes, I expect the office to attract contentious instructions from both international insurers as well as major Russian carriers.”
Nick Thomas, senior partner, says:
“We share a number of key panel clients with Constantin and this development means we are able to offer them specialist insurance advice on the ground in Russia. We anticipate a rise in contentious insurance claims work in the region. Insurance clients will want access to legal advice from trusted sources in Russia so for Kennedys, having a respected insurance specialist like Constantin presents an excellent opportunity to further assist our clients.”
The office is based at 35 bld. 1 Usacheva Str. 119048 Moscow, Russian Federation.
Having qualified in 1996, Constantin is a member of Advocates’ Chamber of the City of Moscow. He is a founding partner of the Insurance Lawyers Society (Russia) and a trustee of the Anglo-Russian Law Association. Constantin has focused on insurance law for more than ten years, establishing his own practice, CIS Advocates, in 2005. He has advised on aspects of many high profile cases, including the crash of a prototype Russian Sukhoi SuperJet-100 aircraft in Indonesia in 2012, and the disaster at the Sayano-Shushenskay hydroelectric power plant in Russia.
Kennedys was founded in 1899
After qualifying as a Barrister and Solicitor in the State of Victoria, Australia, UK-born Charles Frederick Kennedy moved to London, qualified as a Solicitor in England and became a Partner at Paddison, Chapelle & Kennedy.
Over the years, Kennedy was in several partnerships: Kennedy, Danvers & Co; C. Frederick Kennedy & Co; Kennedy Lindo & Co; and Kennedy Genese & Co.
Sadly, Kennedy was taken ill and passed away in 1942 at the age of 79.
Genese recollects Kennedy well:
“Kennedy had an Australian accent … and a keen sense of humour. He was friendly and talkative with a booming voice and a very friendly personality. He was a man of strong character and was very proud and nothing would have pleased him more to know that Kennedys had grown to its present day size.”
Genese took over the practice, keeping the name of the firm, before expanding and becoming Kennedy, Genese & Syson and later Kennedy, Genese, Syson & Lewis.
In the 1960s, Partner Eric Lewis noticed that people were getting tongue tied with the name at the time ‘Kennedy, Genese, Syson & Lewis’ and suggested that the name was shortened. At the same time John F. Kennedy had just become President of the USA and was very much “in the fashion”.
A neutral name of ‘Kennedys’ was agreed and the firm has continued to practice under this name ever since.