K&L Gates has announced that it is closing its Warsaw office, the firm's last in CEE. The entire Warsaw team will be joining London's DWF Group, which acquired the former K&L Gates Jamka sp.k for an estimated net asset value of GBP 3 million.
This morning K&L Gates issued the following brief statement. "After a careful and thorough assessment of our clients’ needs against the backdrop of economic and related trends, current and future opportunities and factors in the market, and the great strength of the firm’s other offerings in Europe in particular and elsewhere, K&L Gates previously determined that it was in the best interest of the firm to separate from the practice based in Warsaw. The Warsaw-based lawyers are now in the process of joining with another firm and we are working with them on an amicable termination of our remaining relationship. We wish them the best in their new affiliation."
According to an article on the DWF Group website, "the acquisition will result in the opening of a new office for DWF in Poland, its first since its IPO, with 11 partners, 45 lawyers, and a further 31 support staff joining DWF. The deal is expected to be completed later this month." The firm reports that "K&L Gates Jamka is anticipated to generate revenue of approximately GBP 7 million in the financial year ending 30 April 2020."
The DWF Group reported that, "the acquisition is the first since DWF became the first Main Market Premium Listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019 and is evidence of the Group’s strategy to grow its Complex, Managed, and Connected Services capabilities, while attracting and retaining the best talent, investing in technology and carrying out targeted M&A."
DWF Managing Partner and CEO Andrew Leaitherland said that: “We look forward to welcoming [K&L Gates Jamka Managing Partner] Michal Pawlowski and his colleagues to DWF. This move will strengthen DWF's capabilities in our global sectors of financial services and real estate, among others, and provides further opportunities in technology and energy where our businesses have strong alignment. It is the next step towards achieving our strategy of delivering Complex, Managed and Connected Services on a truly global scale. It also fulfills on one of the international expansion opportunities we highlighted in our Prospectus. Poland has a strong and dynamic economy and is an important gateway to Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe as a whole. Having a presence there delivers on our international strategy to be where our clients need us to be.”
For his part, Pawlowski commented that: “Becoming part of DWF provides the opportunity to continue our growth and development plans within both the legal services and connected services markets of Poland. Our values and culture, as well as our strongly aligned sector focus provide a platform for our future success." Pawlowski told CEE Legal Matters that the integration into DWF is expected to be complete by the end of May, and "until completion no changes are implemented and we continue operating as a law firm in cooperative arrangement with K&L Gates LLP. Post-integration we will become part of DWF, but the local legal entity will remain the same, which, together with other factors will ensure seamless continuation of pending projects, irrespective of their nature."
The Warsaw office will be DWF's 7th continental European office, alongside Brussels, Paris, Milan, and three in Germany. The firm reports that, "on completion, DWF will have more than 3,200 people across 28 key commercial centers in the UK and internationally, across four continents."
In withdrawing from Poland, K&L Gates concludes its on-the-ground presence in Central and Eastern Europe. The firm closed its Moscow office at the end of 2015 (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on January 7, 2016).