LAW FIRM DIRECTORY

Practice Areas

Scale of Progress

Following several years of regression and calm, the situation in transaction practices, especially corporate and banking practices, can be described as the beginning of a recovery, although market participants themselves are still extremely cautious in their assessments. Nevertheless, projects that have not been seen for a long time have begun to appear on the market. Moreover, the personnel market has got brighter, and law firms are starting to recruit staff, apparently, for future projects and to respond to deferred demand

MARYNA BAHOLDINA

RESTRUCTURING CHALLENGE

Large, purely Ukrainian M&A have not yet appeared at the top of the list of the largest public transactions that Ukrainian lawyers accompanied last year, but there are a number of global mergers of companies that have assets in Ukraine. In general terms, the dominance of debt restructuring was diluted by infrastructure projects and corporate changes in various economic realms. The real estate industry is quite optimistic and many projects are not listed because of their long-term implementation.

Mykola Stetsenko, managing partner at AVELLUM law firm, notes that in addition to debt restructuring where law firms have been actively engaged in for the past three years, a pleasant exception was the accompaniment of the issuance of Eurobonds by three issuers, two of them representing private business. These were the issues of Kernel and MHP, as well as the state of Ukraine. "This marked the completion of the main phase of debt restructuring and the possible start of the revival of capital markets for Ukrainian companies. Even the first loan  transactions began to appear, although they mostly related to long-established reliable borrowers who had relations with their banks", Stetsenko said.

Glib Bondar, senior partner at AVELUM law firm, also gives examples of successful placement of Eurobonds by Ukrainian corporate issuers and the State of Ukraine, commenting that this year activity on international capital markets will largely depend on the readiness of Ukrainian issuers to meet the necessary requirements for such projects. "International financial organizations (EBRD) continue to be relatively active, as it is expected that there will be more loans from such organizations", the expert says.

Hlib Bondar also draws attention to increasing activities in the sector of renewable energy projects and related financing. The number of clients' requests connected with regulatory peculiarities in the financial sector also increased.

According to Mykola Stetsenko, this year will be marked by a moderate growth in lending, a cautious interest of foreign investors towards ­Ukrainian companies, and a revival of interest from private equity funds.

In the long-term, according to Mr. Stetsenko, Ukraine will inevitably face the need to drastically upgrade its infrastructure, which means that the practice of project financing, energy, real estate and tax practices will develop actively.

Oleksandr Martynenko, senior partner at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang International Law Firm, said that last year there was some increase in activity in the banking and financial practices. The past years were marked by smaller volumes of mergers and acquisitions.

I think that the M&A practice has good prospects for several years to come. This is due to general structural reforms in the economy, which are being implemented by the Government", says Mr. Martynenko.

 

ROLE OF THE STATE

While last year the state was actively engaged in the banking sector, then this one was under the sign of improving the regulation of corporate relations. Thus, the Law of Ukraine On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning the Enhancement of Corporate Governance in Joint-Stock Companies was adopted and enacted, while draft law No. 4666 on Limited Liability Companies awaits its final approval. Experts note an increase in the number of clients' appeals on corporate issues, and this trend has good growth prospects.

Mykola Stetsenko, commenting on the situation in the practice of corporate law and M&A, notes moderate activity in several economic sectors, including the agrarian sector, exemplified by a number of acquisitions by Kernel, as well as completion of a boom in banking transactions involving several sales of banks and appearance of the first signs of mergers among small players.

Speaking about the development trends of the banking and financial sector, Mr. Stetsenko draws attention to the possibility of creating an efficient and developed stock market in Ukraine: "In my opinion, it is absolutely realistic to conduct the first IPO of Ukrainian companies on Ukrainian exchanges over the next five years. It is precisely this vision of the Ukrainian regulator that is doing everything to ­implement all EU directives, to introduce best world practices in terms of transparency, accountability and corporate governance in Ukraine." This should arouse the interest of leading Ukrainian companies, as well as create tools for investment of private pension funds, which will work actively after the launch of the ­defined contributory pension system in Ukraine.

Gib Bondar emphasizes the significant unrealized potential in these areas: "I would like to see the prospect of project financing, especially in the sector of energy (renewable energy) and infrastructure projects (active work on the new law on concessions is drawing towards completion)."

We would also note that in the past year some small banks took advantage of the possibility of transformation into non-bank financial institutions. The appropriate decisions were made by annual shareholders meetings.

 

DIGITAL FUTURE

The traditionally active agricultural and energy spheres stand out in the industrial section.. We should recognize the TMT sphere as another driver of the market and the country's economy as a whole. The same practice of law firms is becoming more popular, which is not surprising in view of the penetration of digital technologies in all areas of our lives (even in the kitchen).

In the spring of last year the TMT market was the first to be encouraged by the amendments to the Law of Ukraine On Copyright and Related Rights, providing for a special mechanism on protecting copyright and related rights on the Internet. About ten years were spent on the development of these changes but, according to experts, it did not lead to a significant increase in the scope of work for lawyers. "At the moment the adopted mechanism has every chance of receiving the title of a  'dead' regulation," says Oleg Klimchuk, a senior lawyer of Sayenko Kharenko.

A better fate probably awaits the Law of Ukraine On Electronic Confidential Services, which will come into force in a year. The market is waiting for the introduction of Mobile ID with the legal power of a hand signature and recognition of electronic signatures of foreign entities, as Mykyta Polatayko, a lawyer of Sayenko Kharenko emphasizes.

According to Mr. Klimchuk, the main trend in the telecommunications market is creating the legal framework for implementation of  fourth generation communications (and even then, by converting a radio frequency resource). More global strategic changes – the approval of a map of bringing Ukraine's legislation closer to EU law in the field of telecommunication services or the introduction of the principles of technological and network neutrality – did not happen, respectively, the scope of work of lawyers in the field of telecommunications has not changed much, Oleg Klimchuk comments.

Last year' work in the telecommunications sector was more "classical": regulatory work on new technologies, investigations by the Antimonopoly Committee with respect to operators and providers, regarding the dissemination of information that is misleading, processing and transfer of various information abroad.

Oleh Klimchuk notes a new aspect in practice – clients are showing interest in consultations about the possibility of traveling to Ukraine with devices, the information on which is encrypted. This is due to the general world resonance that arose as a result of access by law-enforcement agencies to encrypted information. This issue also remains urgent for clients who come to Ukraine from Russia.

Mr. Polatayko underlines that unresolved TMT topics include the possibility of applying the provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, which have not yet been reflected in Ukrainian legislation. For example, provisions stipulating that an employer owns all property rights to the computer program as a service product.

Parliament has, for the time being, embraced a mining fever with a fiscal focus: MPs submitted three draft laws on the regulation of the turnover of cryptocurrencies and the taxation of transactions involving their use. Although the bills provide for preferential electricity tariffs for miners, exemption from taxation and clear rules for professional players, Mr. Polatayko says market participants reacted cautiously to the proposals of MPs and called on for the involvement of the professional community in the development of legislation in this sector.

"Despite the insane growth in the cost of cryptocurrencies, the taxation of transactions with their use is still over the head of both taxpayers and fiscal officials", Mr. Polatayko says summing up.

 

AIRCRAFT IN TOP SPOT

The visa-free regime with the European Union has affected the attractiveness of the aviation industry as the population has now got wings, if not in the literal sense of the word, then very close to it. But what should be done with the infrastructure? In addition, the twists and turns with the entry of low-cost airlines to the Ukrainian market is increasing public interest.

Andriy Guk, partner at Ante Law Firm, confirms that last year aviation showed significant growth in all senses, resulting in greater demand for highly specialized legal services and this growth is likely to continue. Mr. Guk draws particular attention to significant, active operations on the market and the increased interest in aviation from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. Talking of the features of legal support for air projects, he says there is strong competition between lawyers and aviation law has ceased to be a unique practice. However, acquired experience even helps. After all, a very narrow specialization requires a law firm’s team to offer legal assistance on a variety of legal issues: labor and antitrust and private international law, and GR, and specific categories of court cases, including bankruptcy. As a result, according to Andriy Guk, the team is getting much stronger, and the acquired competencies can be applied successfully for the benefit of clients in other industries.

"In the longer term, this may lead to further development of narrow specializations, and boutique law firms will grow or merge. A boutique with a narrow focus may feel cramped because services eventually cover a wide range of branches of law, and significant experience is accumulating", Mr. Guk explains. His observations suggest that the migration of clients to lawyers of narrow specialization, irrespective of the area of a law firm's activities, is another clear trend. "Large companies, including international ones, received more serious competitors in the form of local and small specialized firms than they expected," he adds by way of summary.

Practice Leaders. Restructuring

Authorities

Serhiy Chorny (Baker McKenzie)

Armen Khachaturyan (Asters)

Michael Kharenko (Sayenko Kharenko)

Leading Individuals

1

Glib Bondar (AVELLUM)

2

Olexiy Soshenko (Redcliffe Partners)

3

Nazar Chernyavsky (Sayenko Kharenko)

4

Natalia Selyakova (Dentons)

5

Yulia Kyrpa (AEQUO)

Other Notable Practitioners

Listed in alphabetical order

Anton Korobeynikov (Sayenko Kharenko)

Igor Krasovskiy (Jeantet)

Oleksandr Kurdydyk (DLA Piper Ukraine)

Andrey Nikitin (EQUITY)

Oleksandr Plotnikov (Arzinger)

Iryna Pokanay (Asters)

Roman Stepanenko (Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine)

Leading Firms

1

Avellum

2

Baker McKenzie

3

Sayenko Kharenko

4

Redcliffe Partners

5

Dentons

Other established practices

Listed in alphabetical order

Aequo

Arzinger

Asters

CMS Cameron McKenna

Ilyashev & Partners

Practice Leaders. Aviation

Leading Firms

1

ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar

2

Ilyashev & Partners

3

Ante Law Firm

4

Asters

5

Baker McKenzie

Notable Practitioners

Listed in alphabetical order

 

Oleg Bondar (Ecovis Bondar & Bondar)

Oleksiy Demyanenko (Asters)

Andriy Guck (Ante Law Firm)

Roman Marchenko (Ilyashev & Partners)

Viktor Moroz (Suprema Lex)

Practice Leaders. Banking & Finance

Authorities

Serhiy Chorny (Baker McKenzie)

Armen Khachaturyan (Asters)

Michael Kharenko (Sayenko Kharenko)

Leading Individuals

1

Glib Bondar (AVELLUM)

2

Nazar Chernyavsky (Sayenko Kharenko)

3

Olexiy Soshenko (Redcliffe Partners)

4

Natalia Selyakova (Dentons)

5

Yulia Kyrpa (AEQUO)

Other Notable Practitioners

Listed in alphabetical order

Gabriel Aslanian (Asters)

Anton Korobeynikov (Sayenko Kharenko)

Igor Krasovskiy (Jeantet)

Oleksandr Kurdydyk (DLA Piper Ukraine)

Helen Lynnyk (Gryphon Legal)

Ihor Olekhov (Baker McKenzie)

Dmytro Orendarets (Baker McKenzie)

Vyacheslav Ovechkin (CMS Cameron McKenna)

Oleksandr Plotnikov (Arzinger)

Iryna Pokanay (Asters)

Nadiya Shylienkova (Dentons)

Roman Stepanenko (Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine)

Oleh Zahnitko (Integrites)

Leading Firms

1

Avellum

2

Sayenko Kharenko

3

Baker McKenzie

4

AEQUO

5

Asters

Other Established Practices

Listed in alphabetical order

 

Arzinger

CMS Cameron McKenna

Dentons

DLA Piper Ukraine

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine

Integrites

Jeantet

Redcliffe Partners

Practice Leaders. Corporate and M&A

Leading Firms

1

Baker McKenzie

2

Sayenko Kharenko

3

AVELLUM

4

AEQUO

5

DLA Piper Ukraine

6

CMS Cameron McKenna

7

Dentons

8

Asters

9

Jeantet

10

Kinstellar

Other Established Practices

Listed in alphabetical order

1

Arzinger

2

Eterna Law

3

EUCON

4

EVERLEGAL

5

EY Ukraine

6

ILF (Inyurpolis Law Firm)

7

Integrites

8

Redcliffe Partners

9

Vasil Kisil & Partners

10

Wolf Theiss

Leading INDIVIDUALS

1

Mykola Stetsenko (AVELLUM)

2

Vladimir Sayenko (Sayenko Kharenko)

3

Viacheslav Yakymchuk (Baker McKenzie)

4

Anna Babych (AEQUO)

5

Graham Conlon (CMS Cameron McKenna)

Other notable PRACTITIONERS Listed in alphabetical order

Oleg Batyuk (Dentons)

Olha Demianiuk (Baker McKenzie)

Yevheniy Deyneko (EVERLEGAL)

Oleksiy Didkovskiy (Asters)

Taras Dumych (Wolf Theiss)

Dmytro Fedoruk (Redcliffe Partners)

Ernest Gramatskiy (Gramatskiy & Partners)

Margarita Karpenko (DLA Piper Ukraine)

Armen Khachaturyan (Asters)

Andrei Kolupaev (Lexwell & Partners)

Alla Kozachenko (DLA Piper Ukraine)

Andrei Liakhov (Sayenko Kharenko)

Denis Lysenko (AEQUO)

Oleh Malskyy (Eterna Law)

Volodymyr Monastyrskyy (Dentons)

Illya Muchnyk(DLA Piper Ukraine)

Adam Mycyk (Dentons)

Yuriy Nechayev (AVELLUM)

Iryna Nikolayevska (Kinstellar)

Alina Plyushch (Sayenko Kharenko)

Vadym Samoilenko (Asters)

Svyatoslav Sheremeta (Integrites)

Anna Sisetska (Vasil Kisil & Partners)

Albert Sych (EY Ukraine)

Illya Tkachuk (Jeantet)

Valentyn Zagariya (Spenser & Kauffmann)

Galyna Zagorodniuk (DLA Piper Ukraine)

Anna Zorya (Arzinger)