Canadian IP Firm Gowling Quit Russia

The Canadian lawyer

The first Canadian law firm to open an office in Moscow, Gowling WLG, has decided to shut its Russian operations.

It is just the latest international law firm to clarify what it is doing in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are shocked and deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” the firm posted on its LinkedIn site. “Gowling WLG stands united with the Ukrainian people.”

The firm, which on its website says it has 29 lawyers working in Russia, says its departure “will be orderly” as it transitions its business out of the country.

“This decision is grounded in our values and our deep sense of what is right,” the message says, adding that it will “no longer accept new instructions from Russian clients, sanctioned or not, and we will end relationships with Russian clients in a manner that complies with our professional obligations.”

As well, the firm says it is working closely with its charitable partners – including the Red Cross and the UN Refugee Agency – “to help deliver humanitarian aid to those who need it most in Ukraine and the surrounding region.”

One Canadian lawyer commenting on the law firm’s LinkedIn post wrote: “This is massive news given that Gowlings was the first Canadian law firm to open an office is Moscow.”

The Moscow office of Gowling WLG mainly revolves around intellectual property law, with lawyers with expertise in patent and trademark law, as well as counterfeiting. The firm’s website states: “For three decades, Gowling WLG has been a recognized leader in the protection of intellectual property rights in Russia and the CIS region.”