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Lawyers see M&A surge coming: CMS Poland hires 5 PE lawyers from Clifford Chance

Team due to start in August in anticipation of M&A surge held back by coronavirus outbreak.

CMS Poland has hired a group of private equity lawyers from Clifford Chance to bolster its transactions practice ahead of a hoped-for revival in M&A deals later in the year once the Covid-19 pandemic has receded.

The team are slated to start at the beginning of August, with Slawomir Czerwinski and Mateusz Stepien joining as partners, Jaroslaw Gajda as counsel, Antoni Wandzilak as senior associate and Dominika Pietkun as associate. Their arrival will increase CMS Poland’s M&A lawyer count to 26.

Andrzej Posniak, managing partner at CMS Poland, said: “In the past three years our corporate transactions lawyers have worked on the largest number of mergers and acquisitions in the Polish market, which is why we offer our clients unique expertise and comprehensive transactional experience.”

He added: “We have decided to strengthen our corporate transactions group by [hiring] an absolutely fantastic team of lawyers with vast experience in the private equity market. By combining the knowledge of the two teams we are creating a very strong offer for funds that are planning transactions in Poland and CEE.”

Czerwinski has clocked up 15 years of experience advising private equity and venture capital funds on M&A deals, portfolio company exits and joint ventures, with a particular focus on the healthcare, financial services, consumer goods and infrastructure sectors. He spent 13 years at Clifford Chance—six as counsel—and two years at Baker McKenzie before that.

Stepien brings with him 12 years of experience working with financial sponsors on M&A, restructuring and joint venture deals, focusing on similar sectors to Czerwinski, as well real estate. He joined Clifford Chance in 2008.

Gajda is also a long-time Clifford Chance lawyer, having spent 13 years at the firm. His experience spans transactional, corporate and contractual advisory services, working with private equity funds and other strategic investors. Wandzilak and Pietkun both specialise in M&A transactions and corporate restructuring.

Rafal Zwierz, who heads CMS Poland’s M&A team, said: “Once Covid-19 eases, the transactional processes are going to speed up. In Poland one can find very interesting assets, also in industries that are less dependent on economic fluctuations and thus giving an opportunity for the expected return on investment even in periods of greater uncertainty.”

Clifford Chance lists nine partners and 54 other lawyers in its Warsaw office. It also has Eastern European offices in the Czech Republic, Romania and Ukraine.

Last month, Allen & Overy ended its longstanding alliance with its Romanian ally in a move that sees six-partner Radu Taracila Padurari Retevoescu (RTPR) relaunch as a standalone practice.

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