GAR: Mansors recruits former Baker disputes head in Moscow
02 August 2022

Vladimir Khvalei
Months after Baker McKenzie announced its Russian operations would be spun off in response to the war in Ukraine, the firm’s head of CIS disputes Vladimir Khvalei has left to join Mansors in Moscow.

Khvalei joined Russian firm Mansors yesterday as senior partner. He will work alongside Roman Zykov, another senior partner who is also secretary general of the Russian Arbitration Association (RAA). The firm also has offices in Helsinki, Dubai and Minsk.

Contacted by GAR, Khvalei says: “Baker McKenzie was (and still is) a great law firm, however, at some point of time it is difficult to develop your practice as an arbitrator in a large multinational law firm because of the conflicts. Due to that I had to reject many potential appointments in the past. Joining the boutique will allow me to avoid such kind of problems and expand my practice as an arbitrator.”

A Russian citizen, Khvalei serves as chair of the RAA and vice president of the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR.
He founded a Belarussian firm where he was managing partner for six years before joining Baker McKenzie in Moscow in 1998. He led the firm’s CIS disputes practice from 2001. His casework included acting for a Kazakh state entity in a treaty claim against Georgia; and a private equity group in a claim against Kyrgyzstan.

More recently, he was advising Gazprom in a price review arbitration with Polish state utility PGNiG, before Baker McKenzie announced in March that it would cease to act for entities linked to the Russian state in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Baker, which has operated in Russia for 33 years, said at the time that its Moscow and St Petersburg offices would become an independent law firm. However, the firm has made no further announcements about the spin-off. The firm was contacted for comment.

The Baker website continues to list Moscow-based arbitration practitioners including partners Edward Bekeschenko, Eugene Arievich, Anton Maltsev, Pavel Novikov and of counsel Dmitry Lysenko.