Government Personnel Reserve
One of the year’s most remarkable trends in the legal market was the active migration of practicing lawyers into government offices, mainly into the ex-ecutive power vertical. It can be said that law firms served as one of the main sources of the government personnel reserve. However, traditional career moves by lawyers have been also plentiful this year.
Over the last year, the legal market has managed to send around 50 representatives to the government. More than ten partners of law firms, lawyers and legal counsels at the end of 2014 became people’s deputies of Ukraine. The year 2015 is best remembered for appointments to the executive branch. In the judicial system, election of the Chairman of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine Serhiy Koziakov — the former Managing Partner with Serhiy Koziakov & Partners Law Firm – is undoubtedly worth noticing.
The legal market puts great hopes on Serhiy Shklyar, the Deputy Minister of Justice. He took up this post in April 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was the Founding Partner at Arzinger Law Office. Mr. Shklyar supervises the work of the Bailiff Department and reforms in this sphere, including the introduction of the Institute of Private Bailiffs.
Nataliya Mykolska was appointed the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine — the Trade Representative of Ukraine. Previously, she headed the International Trade Practice Group at Sayenko Kharenko Law Firm, and before that Ms. Mykolska was an Associate with Vasyl Kisil & Partners Law Firm.
Oleksiy Honcharuk, Managing Partner at Constructive Lawyers Law Firm, was appointed to the post of Head of the Deregulation Office — the Department responsible for inspections of small and medium-sized businesses, agribusiness, construction, export and import regulation.
The position of the Chairman of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine had been vacant for over a year. On May 19, 2015 this post was taken by a famous representative of the legal profession — Yuriy Terentiev, who at the time of his appointment occupied the position of the Deputy Director General for Legal Affairs at PJSC ArselorMittal Kryvyi Rih. Soon afterwards, the Committee’s composition underwent a complete change. Mariya Nizhnik (Partner at Aequo Law Firm) and Nina Sydorenko (Managing Partner of PETERKA & Partners LLC) were appointed as State Commissioners of the Antimonopoly Committee. Mykola Barash, the first Deputy Chairman in the previous composition of the ACU, became a counselor at Serhiy Koziakov & Partners Law Firm.
However, the stay in office of some representatives of the legal profession was neither particularly successful nor long-lasting. Thus, Konstiantyn Likarchuk (ex-partner at Avellum Partners) occupied the post of the Deputy Head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine for about four months. Leonid Antonenko, who once held the position of the Director of the NBU Registration and Licensing Department, justified his dismissal by disagreement with the position held by senior leaders. Within the scope of his authority, in particular, there were issues of improved corporate governance in banks. Prior to joining the NBU, Mr. Antonenko had worked at Sayenko Kharenko Law Firm.
Oleksandra Pavlenko still holds the post of First Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine. In terms of the announced government reshuffle, everything might be changed. The activities of the Ministry in general and Ms. Pavlenko in particular have been repeatedly criticized. It is worth recalling that Oleksanda Pavlenko used to work at Pravis Law Firm and Pravis: Reznikov, Vlasenko & Partners LF, was Counselor at Magister & Partners LF, and in 2008 she founded her own law firm specializing in litigation.
Such migration of lawyers to government has both positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, the market expects from its “delegates” some specific results, for which they, as a matter of fact, came to political power. As practice demonstrates, these expectations are sometimes baseless, due to, but not limited to, the resistance shown by the existing system. On the other hand, such migration can be regarded as a temporary weakening of the legal market, since rather prominent representatives of the legal profession, partners of law firms and heads of legal practices left to take up government posts. The situation, however, tends to undergo positive changes: a chance to prove themselves was given to mid-level lawyers and unless there is a massive comeback of current government employees, the market may experience a wave of appointments of young partners.
International Law Firm Integrites should be recognized as the most noteworthy player in the personnel market for 2015. Besides active expansion into foreign markets — China, the Netherlands and Germany, the company significantly strengthened its partnership structure at its Kyiv office. The company was joined by Olena Perepelynska, a recognized expert in the field of international commercial arbitration and Counsel with Sayenko Kharenko Law Firm, a criminal defense lawyer, Denis Statnikov, with his own law firm, and three partners (Julian Ries, Oleksiy Feliv and Oleg Zagnitko) together with the team of 13 lawyers from the closed Kyiv office of the International Law Firm Gide Loyrette Nouel. The firm also promoted its Counsel Denis Kitsenko to pPartner status.
Two new young partners appeared at Asters Law Firm — at the beginning of the year there was an announcement of the corresponding promotion of Oleksiy Demyanenko and Oleksiy Khomyakov. Among representative promotions of this year, one must also note the appointment of Olexander Lukyanenko to the position of Partner at VB PARTNERS Law Firm and Ivan Shynkarenko – to Partner at WTS Consulting. In addition, Gleb Bialyi was promoted to Partner status at Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners Law Office (Ukraine).
Sayenko Kharenko Law Firm consolidated its tax practice due to new Partner Serhiy Verlanov, who once occupied a position with the Big Four. Dmytro Marchukov from Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners (EPAP) became a Partner at Avellum Partners Law Firm. The practice of Dispute Resolution at Radcliffe Partners was headed by Serhiy Hryshko, Partner of the firm, who was previously a senior lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.
Another milestone event for the legal market was the change of Managing Partner at Vasyl Kisil & Partners LF. Andriy Stelmashchuk took up the post of Oleg Makarov. This decision was part of the company’s massive reorganization.