Former Linklaters managing partner for CEE Jason Mogg will lead the new firm, which will have a close association with Linklaters. Mogg revealed that a branding company came up with the firm’s name, deriving Kinstellar from an anagram of Linklaters.
“We didn’t set out to have an anagram but we liked the name. We wanted an Anglo-Saxon name,” he said. “We’re the legacy of an Anglo-Saxon firm and it does define who we are and what we’re doing. At the end of the day, the brand of a firm is an empty shell that we as lawyers have to fill.”
The branding company put the name together using the word ‘kin’ to evoke a feeling of friendship, and ‘stellar’ to represent the firm’s big ambitions in the region.
Kinstellar will launch on 1 November with offices in Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest and Prague, following Linklaters’ decision to scrap its CEE presence in May this year.
The new firm will continue to hold joint pitches for work with Linklaters, as well as share training and secondment schemes.
Mogg said Linklaters had supported him in the early stages of setting up Kinstellar. “Linklaters has been extremely supportive,” he said. “Especially in things like IT and office space and really all aspects of getting us off the ground.”
It is understood that Kinstellar will continue to work with Linklaters clients in the region, which have included Axa, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and German energy company Eon in the past.
Nick Eastwell, Linklaters’ managing partner for emerging markets in Europe, said: “With a proven track record and the best lawyers in the region, I’m confident that Kinstellar will retain and build on the strong Linklaters legacy.”
Mogg said the firm would focus on the energy, telecoms and industrial sectors, and that Kinstellar’s launch would not be derailed by the turmoil in the financial markets.
“One thing I would say about Eastern Europe is that it doesn’t have the same track record on leverage. Those aggressive financial structures were mostly coming out of New York and London, but that’s not to say that this part of the world is an island and won’t be affected,” he said. “You sort of look at it and think ‘wow!’ but there’ll be a lot of opportunities created as well. There’s dynamic market growth expected in this region – around two to four times more than in the West.”