Schoenherr is the latest international firm to feel the pull of Turkeys vibrant economy. Though the countrys GDP growth slowed to its lowest rate in two years during the third quarter of 2012, a recent OECD report predicted that it would continue to expand almost 3 percent annually over the next 50 years. At that pace, Turkey would boast the worlds seventh-fastest growing economy.
White & Case was the first international law firm to enter the Turkish market, having opened offices in both Istanbul and Ankara, the countrys capital, in 1983. It was joined in 2008 by Paris-based firms Salans and Gide Loyrette Nouel, while DLA Piper and Linklaters spin-off Kinstellar opened in Istanbul in 2010. Clifford Chance followed by dispatching London finance partner Simon Williams to Istanbul to establish a new practice alongside 10-lawyer affiliate firm Yegin Legal Consultancy in April 2011, while Chadbourne & Parke launched a greenfield base in the country later that year. Chadbournes office is headed by corporate partner Ayse Yuksel, who previously headed the firm's Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa corporate practice in London, New York, and Dubai, and was named among The American Lawyers 45 Under 45 list of top global female attorneys in 2011. (The development of the Turkish legal market was detailed in the magazine's Focus Europe supplement in 2012.)
U.K. Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy opened its own Istanbul office last spring, headed by London banking partner Charles Lindsay and focusing on M&A and English law finance work, including project finance and capital markets. In a statement announcing the move, A&O managing partner Wim Dejonghe said the firm hoped to capitalize on the significant opportunities present in the region. "Turkey is a market that we have been watching for some time," Dejonghe added. "Turkey's strong economy, extensive privatization program, pressing demand for infrastructure investment and emerging status as an energy hub, present an immense opportunity."
Most recently, Baker & McKenzie established an exclusive relationship with 40-lawyer Esin Attorney Partnership in Octobera move Baker says represents one of the first steps toward the firm opening its own office in Turkey.