Legal Market

Management cult

The views of the majority of legal service market players are directed towards the future; 2016 passes without any special disturbances, law firms consolidate resources, particularly the human one, in reliance on market recovery. At the same time, law firms, which optimized management approaches at the right time, have spent the year being sufficiently active, as evidenced by their high indicators in the research Fifty Leading Law Firms of Ukraine


The year that has passed was not a totally bad one for the legal market. There was no explosive growth and nobody actually expected it. There appeared to be more accompanying projects, but the increase in their number is ahead of financial progress — budget indicators of law firms have improved in general terms compared to the previous year (quite substantially for some players), but the market has not yet achieved its pre-crisis level. As a whole, 2016 became a year of resource deployment in the hope of business growth taking place in the very near future. Without any doubt, a significant grandstanding factor for the legal community is the carrying out of key reforms, primarily judicial reform, whose impact on the market has yet to be assessed.

If we analyze the current situation in the legal business, then the "system law firms" continue to retain the leading positions. In separate practice segments they compete not only between each other, but with top-level boutique law firms. Furthermore, the latter, especially those that specialize in dispute settlement, demonstrate quite dynamic development, which is so noticeable against the background of a stagnating market. Moreover, the number of law firms striving to declare their success in public is growing, including within the annual research Fifty Leading Law Firms of Ukraine.

Despite clients cutting budget for legal services and striving to solve the maximum possible number of issues through corporate counsels, external lawyers were involved in accompanying quite a large number of projects. The dispute settlement practice has become the most popular and profitable, as expected. The Deposit Insurance Fund shall be acknowledged a recognizable employer in the legal market. Corporate law and taxation practice results have become quite good taking into account the existing market situation. The main cash flows are generated in these practices. The commitment of Government authorities has once again spurred  demand for services in criminal and legal protection of business. But this practice is only strategic for several law firms. It is substantially more common that legal support of criminal proceedings is of an auxiliary nature and connected to strong tax, judicial, bankruptcy practices and even to intellectual property practice. Separate trends can be observed in the popularity of some niche practices. For example, the positions of South Ukrainian law firms are strong impartially in transport law practice. Boutique law firms are commonly involved in customs law issues, and in the vast majority of cases also provide services in the area of taxation and/or intellectual property. Bankruptcy practice is more popular among Ukrainian law firms and restructuring practice is more popular among international ones.

New brands

The appearance of a new international brand, Kinstellar, has become evident in the structure of the Ukrainian legal market. This law firm is represented in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Konstantin Likarchuk heads the Kinstellar office in Kyiv and its regional dispute settlement practice. The former partner of the Ukrainian law firm Avellum Partners switched over to state service in May 2015 and worked as a deputy chairman of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine for several months and after his return to legal practice worked as head of Likarchuk's Law Office. The results of incomplete year of this team's work allowed it to be included in the 50 leading law firms of Ukraine.

One more trend that influenced the allocation of law firms in the Top 50 was the active entry of the "Big Four" companies on the legal market; three such companies are represented in the Top 50 in the form of separate structural divisions.

Personal record

2016 has turned out to be generous enough with news about the  transfer and promotions of lawyers; along with announcements on partnership expansion through promotion of in-house lawyers, active reinforcement of law firm teams with externally involved players can be heard. A fair amount of changes have been observed at the pre-partnership level of advisors and senior counsels.

Juscutum PJSC has become an active newsmaker in the area of team reinforcement and development of new practices. The firm supplemented its tax practice headed by a partner, Nataliya Radchenko, who joined Juscutum together with the team of law firm Legal House consisting of tax advisors (specializing in national and international tax law), advisors for migration, labor law and international business activity issues. Yuriy Kotlyarov, a specialist with 19 years experience of law, who was head of the law department of JSC Ukrtelecom for eight years, has become head of a newly-created telecommunication practice at Juscutum. Moreover, Juscutum has opened an audit section. Sergey Polishchuk, an auditor with 20 years of experience, heads it But at the same time, the IT practice group of lawyers has left Juscutum and led by Dmitriy Gadomskiy founded a new IT boutique called Axon Partners.

PJSC Spenser and Kauffmann should be acknowledged as one of the most active players on the brain market. The firm has actually doubled the number of partners and advisors (advisor status is considered as temporary: according to Valentin Zagariy, the firm's Managing Partner, "a lawyer has the status of advisor for a year and then becomes a partner or falls into oblivion"). Following the arrival of Nikolay Likhachyov, a banking and financial law advisor, at the end of the previous year, Igor Stepanov, a criminal law advisor, and Tatyana Kharebava, an intellectual property, IT and antitrust law advisor, have become members of the Spenser and Kauffmann team; Vladimir Yaremko has become head of the cross-border litigation & arbitration practice, Tatyana Ivanovich has become head of the private client practice and Marina Tomash is now responsible for the taxation practice.

As compared to the previous year, Integrites International Law Firm has somewhat cut activities on the personnel market; there are only two high-level additions to the Kyiv office: Svyatoslav Sheremeta had earlier occupied the position of partner and head of corporate law and M&A practice and Sergey Shershun was an antitrust law practice advisor. We should note that Mr. Sheremeta used to be co-head of the law department of the largest Ukrainian investment company, Dragon Capital, was head of the judicial department at PJSC Mironovskiy khliboproduct, and worked in Kyiv representative offices of international law firms Squire Sanders and Baker & McKenzie. Up till June 2015, Sergey Shershun occupied the position of an authorized government official of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. At the same time, significant changes have occurred at Integrites International Law Firm concerning its management team: Doctor of Law Aleksey Feliv has been appointed to the post of Managing Partner at its Kyiv office and Nika Avayan now occupies the post of Chief Executive Officer. It should also be noted that Aleksandr Alekseyenko has moved from Integrites to Marchenko Danevych law firm, where he occupied a partner position, and head of the antitrust and intellectual property law practices.

Arzinger PJSC has attracted three new partners; this status has been provided to company advisors Ekaterina Gupalo, Andrey Selyutin and Aleksandr Plotnikov. Mr. Selyutin has 15 years worth of professional experience in the world of law, and was head of the South Ukrainian branch office of Arzinger from 2012. Aleksandr Plotnikov is head of the banking and financial law practice and specialized in issues related to banking and corporate funding, debt restructuring, currency regulation and foreign investments. Ekaterina Gupalo will, in her new status, continue development of the criminal case defense practice in the sphere of entrepreneurship and abuse of office at work, as well as the tax and customs dispute practice.

The partnership of EPAP Law Office (Ukraine) expanded at the beginning of 2016; Oleg Boychuk and Sergey Grebenyuk are now partners. Oleg Boychuk joined the office in 2004; he is a specialist in transactions on mergers and acquisitions, real estate issues, as well as various regulatory issues, including antitrust regulation. Sergey Grebenyuk has worked with EPAP since 2006 and specializes in legal aspects in the sphere of dispute settlement and criminal law.

Key staff appointments at Sayenko Kharenko were mainly at the level of advisors; five lawyers were promoted to this position at once. These are: Andrey Zablotskiy (international trade practice), Maksim Nazarenko (antitrust law), Aleksandr Drug (international arbitration and debt restructuring), Anzhela Makhinova (international trade) and Sergey Smirnov (dispute settlement). Yevgeniya Rebotunova also joined the firm's team as a senior counsel located permanently in Great Britain. At the same time, Dmitriy Taranik has become competition law practice advisor at Sayenko Kharenko.

The segment of international law firms working on the Ukrainian market is represented by the following staff news: Galina Zagorodnyuk has become an equity partner at DLA Piper International LLP international law firm and Olga Belyakova has been promoted to a partner of CMS Cameron McKenna ILF. The professional experience of Ms. Zagorodnyuk consists of corporate law, M&A, as well as antitrust and labour law issues. Olga Belyakova provides clients with legal consultations on corporate, commercial and competition law issues, possessing  specialization in the technologies, media and telecommunication (TMT) sector. One of the noticeable partner transfers is connected with these law firms - Olga Vorozhbit has joined the Ukrainian representative office of DLA Piper from the Kyiv office of CMS Cameron McKenna.

Among noticeable promotions in the first half of 2016, the appointment of Aleksandr Voznyuk as a partner of law firm Asters in the group of competition and antitrust law, stands out. Asters law firm also announced the promotion of Tatyana Vovk to the position of firm advisor in the group of competition and antitrust law. Artem Naumov has become a partner of ILF law firm. He specializes in IT and the agricultural business. A new partner has joined Ario PJSC – Yevgeniy Grushovets now heads the firm's criminal practice. LCF has also reinforced their practice: at the beginning of the year, two new advisors, Yuliya Atamanova and Aeksandr Biryukov, as well as senior counsel Yuliya Lukoshkina, joined the firm.

The return of Aleksandra Pavlenko to legal practice should be noted, who occupied the position of First Deputy Health Minister of Health of Ukraine for a year and a half, as well as appointment of Ivan Lishchina, previously a partner of Trusted Advisors law firm, as a government authorized representative on issues regarding the European Court of Human Rights, are among personnel moves of lawyers related to state service. Olyana Gordienko, a partner of the Kyiv office of Baker & McKenzie,  has been appointed a member of the National Securities and Stock Market Commission by a Decree of the President of Ukraine. Moreover, Taras Lukash, partner of Salkom law firm, has become a member of the Higher Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine. And Daniil Bilak, Managing Partner at the Kyiv office of CMS Cameron McKenna, has occupied the position of senior advisor on investment issues of the prime minister of Ukraine and director of the Office on attracting and supporting investments of Ukraine. This appointment will come into force from November 1 for one year. Mr. Bilak has left his obligations at CMS for this period. Graham Conlon, co-head of the international private equity practice and head of the corporate law, mergers and acquisitions practice at CMS Cameron McKenna in Ukraine, has become the acting Managing Partner of the firm's Kyiv office.


Reputational Ranking of the Law Firms