Chinese Investors Looking to Russia
Westside Law are one of the few Russian law firm providing services in business law at the highest international level. Sergey V. Vodolagin, Managing Partner, talks us through how Westside Law has managed to fulfil clients wishes in more than forty jurisdictions.
Westside Law Firm has a basic area of focus in corporate and entrepreneurial law, legal support for foreign investment in Russia, M&A and real estate transactions, support for project financing and provision of legal services in the area of corporate finance. Sergey V. Vodolagin gives us an outline of the law firm, which has gone on to achieve international status.
“Our lawyers have accumulated vast experience in resolving commercial disputes. We look after our clients’ interests in court or at international arbitration tribunals in Russia, as well as overseas. Our team have witnessed all the changes Russian legislation has undergone throughout the years. Westside Advisors have extensive experience in the international M&A market and give legal advice to clients in various sectors of the economy including construction and development, high-end electronics manufacturing, chemical industry, R&D originating from all parts of the world: China, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Hong Kong etc.
“Throughout the years Westside Law have been working as a boutique-type law firm. The major strength for our clients is that we cover all necessities of the foreign investor, including legal services, corporate finance and intellectual property issues. In this regard, Westside Law Firm is a one-stop shop for a foreign investor. Taking into account the development of relations between Russia and China, our ongoing strategy is to develop the cooperation with investors from the Eastern region. Westside Law Firm has all the necessary experience for this including partnership relations with large Chinese companies.”
Asked about what attributes the law firm has that make them award winning, Sergey says it’s the special attention they give to every client, the vast experience in many areas of law and the direct contact they have in the international market.
“Our main feature is an individual approach and special care to each client. Our understanding of the whole range of issues faced by the investor in Russia is a firm guarantee that our advice will be multi-fold and taking into account all possible aspects of an investment. Our approach in legal services can be compared to private banking in finance.
“Westside Law Firm is a member of The Law Firm Network (LFN) which is a collection of law firms with irreproachable reputations, specialising in the provision of legal services to the business. We have established direct contact with service providers in favourable tax jurisdictions and can consequently provide practical implementation and qualified support for the client’s international business framework with respect to tax optimisation. Our firm’s multiple years of experience in many different areas of law, highly qualified lawyers and upholding of professional and ethical standards guarantee reliable legal protection for our clients.”
Whilst discussing the changes to the legal industry, Sergey explains that in Russia there have been amendments in legislation which have affected the way law firms operate. Moreover, the economic crisis and the interference of international law firms have presented Westside Law with challenges.
“The changes in the work of legal advisors are mostly connected with the amendments of legislation. Amongst the recent changes are the replacement of import and localization of production in Russia. These tendencies caused the majority of Russian suppliers to restructure their facilities so that they avoid the use of offshore and low-tax jurisdictions. Secondly, recent and on-going changes in corporate legislation relating to the status of corporations, shareholders’ agreements, etc. In addition, changes in the structure of commercial legislation, some of them fundamentals of civil legislation.
“The financial crisis in Russia caused by the decrease of the price of oil in its turn, led to the dropdown of the rate of Russian Rouble. Currently, the situation is highly favourable for foreign investments into Russia. Westside Law Firm will assist in proper structuring and protection of investments.
“At present, the legal services market is heavily influenced by international law firms. This situation is unfavourable both for Russian-based legal firms and investors. When it comes to investments into Russia, Russian-based advisors knowing the specifics of the market and all the possible pitfalls would be a better choice.”
As a final thought, Sergey has some advice for Chinese, and other potential investors that could learn from Westside Law’s past experiences.
“Prior to making an investment one should take all possible care of the pre-investment check of the target, including legal and financial due diligence, and further structure the transaction in the best possible way. In the course of pre-investment negotiations on the structure of the transaction an investor can decrease the price as well as mitigate the risks of the investment.
“We look forward to assisting Eastern region businesses in line with the development of trade relations between Russian and Eastern countries.”
Company: Westside Law Firm
Name: Sergey V. Vodolagin
Web Address: www.w-a.ru
Address: “The Yard” Business Centre, Office 303 at No.11, bld.1, 1st Magistralnyi tupik, Moscow 123290, Russia
Telephone: +7(499)608 06 01