LAW FIRM DIRECTORY

Legal Market

Expert Committee

Expert Committee

Denys BUGAY,

Partner at VB PARTNERS

Tatyana GAVRYSH,

Managing Partner at ILF

Ernest GRAMATSKIY,

President of Gramatskiy & Partners

Oleksiy DIDKOVSKIY,

Managing Partner at Asters Law Firm

Valentyn ZAGARIYA,

Managing Partner at Spensers Law Firm

Mikhail ILYASHEV,

Managing Partner at Ilyashev & Partners

Alexey KOT,

Managing Partner at Antika Law Firm

Evgen KUBKO,

President of Salkom Law Firm

Maksym LAVRYNOVYCH,

Managing Partner at Lavrynovych & Partners Law Firm

Denis LYSENKO,

Managing Partner at Aequo Law Firm

Oleg MAKAROV,

Partner at Vasil Kisil & Partners

Oeksandr MARTYNENKO,

Senior Partner at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

Denis MYRGORODSKIY,

President of Dynasty Law Firm

Sergiy OBERKOVYCH,

Senior Partner at GOLAW

Olha PROSYANYUK,

Managing Partner at AVER LEX Attorneys at law

Vladimir SAYENKO,

Partner at Sayenko Kharenko

Mykola STETSENKO,

Managing Partner at AVELLUM Law Firm

Oleksiy FELIV,

Managing partner at Integrites International Law Firm

Serhiy CHORNY,

Managing Partner at Kyiv Office of Baker McKenzie International Law Firm

Expert comments

Market overwiev

Oleg MAKAROV

Partner at Vasil Kisil & Partners Law Firm

Market participants expect recovery and growth. The legal services market is becoming progressively dependent on economic trends: growth in the economy of 2% gives 15%-20 % benefit for the legal market. Correspondingly, a decline of 3%-5% brings the legal services market down, sometimes by 50%. Lawyers are waiting for an increase of interest in the country, growth in the economy and, correspondingly, development of the market and practices.

In addition, the year was notable for the broad participation of market participants in the processes of implementation of judicial reform. We hope that the reform will work and dramatically change the rules on holding competitions in the practice of dispute settlement. And, as a result, the tools of competitive struggle, alien to the civilized country, will vanish.

On the other hand, there is a certain thaw in relations between law firms and a rise in mutual interest. After three to five years of a chill in relations, the market is beginning to make friends and cooperate, understanding that the wellbeing of practices in each particular law firm cannot exist independently from the general market and economics conditions. Therefore, we notice a trend of strategic cooperation between law firms for the purposes of market growth.

Denis MYRGORODSKIY

President of Dynasty Law Firm

The year 2017 was very turbulent due to changes in the legal and judicial systems. Judicial practice experienced an additional burden due to staffing problems in Ukrainian courts. Delays in the appointment of posts without a time limit of approximately fifteen hundred judges, massive statements of superannuation and reform of the system of superior specialized courts overloaded separate parts of the judicial system. Lawyers had to deal not only with opponents, but also with the low operational efficiency of case consideration and, sometimes, with limitations of access to justice. However, the sense of insecurity in the future among judiciary personnel and stressful working conditions have had an adverse effect on the quality in all instances.

The strong contribution to judicial practice has stirred up arguments related to the withdrawal of troubled banks from the market and recovery of past due amounts. At the same time, the number of arguments with the tax authorities fell, which is evidence of less pressure on business on their part.

A similar situation has arisen in the criminal practice: the surge of activity in the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine in PR proceedings was compensated by the deplorable level of investigation of ordinary economic and property crimes. It was not infrequent that investigation departments did not have enough investigators able to investigate cases for several months in a row and annual staff turnover reached 50%.

Positive trends were outlined in a number of transactions on business acquisition, especially in the second half of the year. We can also welcome the activities of the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine and reforms by the Ministry of Justice on establishing the institution of private court bailiffs and improvements in registration of property rights to real estate. In general terms there has been serious movement on the market connected with economic growth and increasing interest on the part of international investors and transnational corporations since the third quarter.

Serhiy CHORNY

Managing Partner at Kyiv Office of Baker McKenzie International Law Firm

In 2017, there was a certain movement on the legal market. Today, in the top market segment there are no idle law firms. Quite the contrary, it seems as if there is a lack of resources. And this is a positive sign for the market. Last year did not see such diversity in both legal practices and branches of the economy. It also indicates a rise in activity of business. On the other hand, it is uncertain whether all projects will be successful: their implementation could grind to a halt at any moment, since the traditional country-related risks of Ukraine still exist.

Business conditions are improving due to the change in regulation. Legislation is being improved, many barriers are being dismantled and it is easier for business to operate. However, changes in the judicial field are still not being noticed: the effectiveness of court proceedings remains at the same low level. The decisions adopted by the courts are still insufficiently justified and call for objective appeals in courts of appeal and courts of cassation. On the other hand, the prospects for both judicial and arbitration practices are very good. The updating of procedural law paves the way for this.

 

Mikhail ILYASHEV

Managing Partner at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm

In my opinion, major changes on the market should not be expected. Hardly one or another major world legal market player is likely to enter the Ukrainian market. Some small legal companies with a foreign background will perhaps withdraw from the market. Although such probability is also low, given the tiny size of their offices in Ukraine and, as a result, small maintenance costs.

The market is not growing and competition will keep getting tougher. The legal market is still not structured. A big client is not always served by a large law firm and, consequently, any small legal company, which has such a client, should be prepared for at least the top five if not top twenty largest law firms will fight for it.

The structure of legal services is also hardly likely to change. Representation in courts will continue to be a locomotive of the legal business, and companies feeling confident in this area will be in a better position.

Neither can we expect extra movement on the M&A and IPO markets.

Competition field

Alexey KOT,

Managing Partner at Antika Law Firm

Traditionally, the legal services market remains highly competitive. In today's economic context, real sector companies try to do most of their work using the efforts of internal lawyers, using external consultants only in emergencies or when businesses need expertise in a certain highly- specialized industry.

Another factor that ensures high competition on the legal services market is the emergence of young and ambitious players. They quite actively, and sometimes even aggressively, join the competition for clients, not yielding to any business "old-timers", and so force the latter to seek new ways of maintaining their positions on the market. In this context, I believe that innovativeness, producibility, the quality of services provided and a client-oriented focus are now on the forefront of the list of tools that make it possible to win the competition.

Sergiy OBERKOVYCH

Senior Partner at GOLAW

The economic situation in Ukraine undoubtedly gave an incentive to increase the level of innovativeness and performance of legal services and also caused logical and objective rotation among market leaders. Leading law firms have learned to achieve more at lower costs. However, reductions have not touched the size of wages, which are still very high. The main competitive advantage is still the retention of existing personnel and the attraction of new talent to provide high-quality services to clients. Law firms that managed to create a proper sales system did not in general feel the negative impact of the crisis. The important strategy was the creation of a comprehensive package of services that is convenient for clients and beyond the boundaries of traditional branches of law, including relationships with Government agencies and business protection services. With regard to trends in fee policy, they correspond to world trends: the market dictates its conditions, and successful firms increasingly have to depart from traditional hourly rates, demonstrate flexibility, offer customers various types of alternative fee arrangements, including task or unit-based billing, a retrospective fee based on value, flat fee, success fee, and other hybrid fee arrangements.

 

Oleg MAKAROV

Partner at Vasil Kisil & Partners

This year I did not see any particular changes in the fee policy. The evaluation of the scope and cost of projects is traditionally carried out according to hourly rates. In this case, law firms are ready to draw up a fixed budget while observing of certain presumptions. The level of discount, which is used almost everywhere, largely depends on the client's understanding of the project’s value. There has been an attempt to come to a common understanding with the client on the balance within the scope of labor, the project’s value for the client and fair payment.

 

Mykola STETSENKO

Managing Partner at AVELLUM Law Firm

There is no doubt that competition on the market is growing, as is the number of legal firms, though their size is decreasing. This is not a very good thing for clients, since nobody wants to manage a large number of contractors. As a result, the competition is won by firms with real experience in a particular sphere, and those who are able to offer unorthodox solutions. Clients have become sophisticated customers of legal services, and many of them have worked with leading international firms from London and New York. This forces Ukrainian players to improve the quality of their services. This involves such elementary things as excellent command of English, the ability to provide written advice in a clear and structured way, quickly respond to client requests and the availability of partners. In my opinion, this is the competitive advantage held by market leaders.

 

 

Personnel issue

Olha PROSYANYUK,

Managing Partner at AVER LEX Attorneys at law

 

The legal market lacks qualified specialists. It’s certain that the specifics of each practice manage their expectations regarding personnel. In conditions of rapid development of the criminal practice, the criminal lawyer, in addition to his/her professional knowledge, should be sharp-tongued with his opponents and, at the same time, act like a delicate psychologist with clients. Classical universities do not teach this and do not give the opportunity to experience it in practice. That is why it’s important for market leaders to demonstrate an active approach, to introduce internal training programs and to support quality educational initiatives.

Denys BUGAYI,

Partner at VB PARTNERS

 

Incomplete correspondence of labor potential development level of graduates of higher educational institutions to the criteria of modern competition, poor preparation for self-survival in new conditions reduce their level of competitiveness in the labor market.

Young inexperienced professionals often have inflated ambitions and expectations for the future employer. They want everything at once, but they are not ready to work for this twenty-four hours a day.

However, law firms, including ours, do not cherish illusions about this and are ready to invest in the training and development of junior staff. We practice training and discussions, the moderators of which are the partners: they share their knowledge, professional experience and useful information. There is also an opportunity to attend external training sessions, but the initiative must come from the employee himself. The company will support and partially pay for such events.

We believe that a successful lawyer is not only a specialist with profound professional knowledge and skills, but also a versatile personality, not indifferent to culture and sport.

Oleksiy DIDKOVSKIY

Managing Partner at Asters Law Firm

Training programs for teaching lawyers in Ukrainian universities are mainly theoretical and do not correspond to the real needs of the legal services business. Therefore, Asters considers it basic and applies the principle of growing personnel from scratch, as they say. For example, we have founded, together with the European Business Association, the Law School for EBA members, and we welcome and encourage our employees to attend classes. Although this path requires a lot of time and resources, it proves worthwhile.

In our country there are many gifted young people with healthy ambitions, who after graduation from Ukrainian universities receive LL.M abroad, know foreign languages perfectly and already have experience of internships or work in law firms. The truth is that the competition between law firms to attract such top graduates to their staff is very stiff.

As for experienced specialists, on the one hand, a new generation of qualified law specialists has already been formed in Ukraine during the years of the country’s independence. On the other hand, in some practices, there is still a shortage of professional personnel (for example, forensics with a high level of English).

In my opinion, next year's main trends are the focus of law firms on professional development and retention of their own employees and further tightening of competition for attracting the most talented and successful young professionals.

 

Practices in demand

Serhiy CHORNY

Managing Partner at Kyiv Office of Baker McKenzie International Law Firm

There has been a lot of work done in the corporate practice (including improvement of corporate management), and new real estate projects have appeared. There have been many appeals in energy sector, although they are primarily related to regulatory issues. Transactional operations are still rare. Practices in agricultural sphere and pharmaceuticals, as well as intellectual property practice are traditionally active. It is expected that activities in this sphere will get a boost. As soon as new legislation is adopted, there will be a lot of work. The latter half of 2018 and 2019 will be very interesting and rich for lawyers working in this field.

Banking and financial practices are active, and the nature of appeals varies. The relative importance of debt restructuring is declining. However, new issues in capital markets are being prepared, and requests have appeared for securitization of financial assets, which for years were hardly in evidence. Work on troubled loans and troubled banks is in progress. This year there has been more so-called new money from both international financial institutions and foreign commercial banks. This is indicative of a real economic revival. This trend must remain, as clients see more prospects of attracting financing in foreign markets on reasonable terms.

Maksym LAVRYNOVYCH

Managing Partner at Lavrynovych & Partners Law Firm

In 2017, there were some changes in the sharing of work scope and profit among practices. Our firm draw attention to increase in demand for services in dispute resolution, financial and banking sectors, as well as in the corporate law. The practice of working with international investment projects has also got a boost, which is caused by still unstable economic situation in the country and business attempts to protect its assets. We believe that in the next two or three years the judicial practice, especially when it comes to issues of protecting rights of miners in Ukraine, will become more active. The prerequisite for such a growth of the legal services market is the absence of legal response to issues related to mining and cryptocurrency. The growing number of promising startups in Ukraine will give impetus to the development of business protection and corporate law practices, as both the startups and investors have become more aware of a need for clear settlement of relations, which will help to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Valentyn ZAGARIYA

Managing Partner at Spensers Law Firm

Unfortunately, the judicial practice, debt restructuring, tax disputes, business protection and White Collar Crimes remain practices prevalent. This is all due to the challenging economic and banking situation, including Government pressure on business and lack of promised reforms in the sphere of simplification of the business environment for domestic and foreign investors.

There is still not much work in the sphere of M&A, Investments, Banking Finance, which is triggered by Government policy and the geopolitical situation in the country.

The agro-industrial sector has a chance of growing this year provided, of course, that promised land reform is implemented. It is thought that asset search and forensic practices, which are new for the Ukrainian market, will develop, though not significantly. Unfortunately, we do not spot a trend for significant changes in the market situation in the global sense, and the list of practices that brought the lion's share of income to law firms is unlikely to change.

Ernest GRAMATSKIY

President of Gramatskiy & Partners

A man, like the law he embodies, is a private and public measure. In this sense the legal profession is anthropomorphic. Therefore, the volumes of different legal practice sectors have a human measure: what disturbs the client today, what is happening in society and the economy proportionally forms the structure of our activities. The Ukrainian economy is being slowly revived with its assets and liabilities being redistributed at all levels. This is small in importance, but it feeds transactional practices, as well as litigation and public practices. The market generates many more assignments related to business protection than would be permissible in normal economic terms and a state governed by law. Similarly, from year to year, the practices of dispute resolution, taxation and financial restructuring are developing. Along with the key real estate practice, the above practices constituted the lion's share of work and, therefore, revenues.

Intensive competition observed in recent years will inevitably lead to a decrease in return on capital. Profit is guaranteed by a strong brand, cost saving and adequate specialization. Taxes and courts will remain firm-constituent practices in systemic attorney firms. Little by little and within their full right, they will be joined by criminal defense, financial law and bankruptcy. In such transitional societies as ours, reforms adopted by the state are the main driver of structural changes in legal practice. It's easy to see that all these practices are in the focus on reform  now: the fiscal system changes every year, judicial reform has barely begun, the criminal process, insolvency and the financial services market are also in constant flux. Among trends that are not obvious, there are high hopes for growth of assignments in intellectual property and international trade.

 

Mikhail ILYASHEV

Managing Partner at Ilyashev & Partners

The legal market remains to be driven by judicial practice. Representation in courts is the very service for which clients often turn to law firms. Let me assume that this is one of the last items of expenses on legal services, which customers will refuse.

In recent years, there has been a clear trend towards a reduction in the number of litigations. This is hardly due to the fact that companies and individuals have become more law-abiding or they have lost confidence in the courts. The market reaps both the results of the economic recession in recent years and the loss of Ukraine's sovereignty over a fairly large territory, including enterprises and citizens, which undoubtedly led to a reduction in the number of transactions and disputes. Suffice to mention the withdrawal from the market of more than 80 banks! Their operations were usually accompanied by external legal advisors. Nobody can object to the fact that this process itself created a great workload for law firms. It is essential, however, to realize that the processes connected with this (bankruptcy, restructuring, criminal prosecution etc.) are issues of today, not tomorrow. Sooner or later they will end, and what then?

Although the number of court cases handled by Ilyashev and Partners rose in 2017 and, according to statistics in 2017, the trend towards a decrease in the numbers of court cases has generally slowed down, and even a little growth is occasionally observed, it is hardly possible to talk about the beginning of positive dynamics. The number of market transactions is falling and, as a consequence, the number of possible court cases is also decreasing. This trend will be preserved until the economy in Ukraine begins to grow. The inertial recession will remain even upon growth of the economy.

Development forecast

Alexey KOT

Managing Partner at Antika Law Firm

We expect real activation of the legal market in some areas this year, since all the necessary prerequisites have already been created for this.

As for other practices that, in our opinion, look rather promising both in 2018 and in the longer term, we believe this will be legal consulting in IT and FinTech. Considering the level of business digitalization and its development rates, today we can call this area one of the most prospective business areas, including for lawyers.

The agricultural business will be a popular practice. We are putting rather big expectations on projects in energy and energy efficiency.

Moreover, development and improvement of legislation in the corporate sphere, especially in regulation of activities of joint-stock companies, enables us to speak with optimism about development of this direction in the legal business. Introduction of procedures such as squeeze-out and sale-out into economic circulation, can become quite a good prerequisite for increasing demand for services of external lawyers in corporate management.

Tatyana GAVRYSH

Managing Partner at ILF Law Firm

The legal market will change in the next three years, and we will see a qualitatively new review of players and products.

First of all, the following global trends will affect the market: visa-free regime, transparency, deoffshorization and anti-corruption policy (these are requirements of international donors). Control over financial transactions of business owners and public figures is tightening; Ukraine is gradually joining BEPS plan and automatic exchange of information, as well as introduction of a tax on the withdrawn capital in one form or another is coming up. Tuition fee for the child in a foreign college, purchase of the apartment on the seashore – all this will be not the same as it used to be. This will change the structure of Ukrainian companies and structure of their transactions in the next two years; we will hear about trusts more often, the practices of corporate, tax and marriage and family law, as well as anti-corruption compliance will develop. We can already observe this from the clients' requests and news on the market.

Vladimir SAYENKO

Partner at Sayenko Kharenko

 

My main forecast: everything will be fine! At least, competent lawyers will be demanded in any event, and robots will definitely not replace them in 2018. The teams of dispute resolution practices were on the move in 2017, and now we can see signs of the market’s revival in transactional spheres. We can see this on a peak in the labor market, in addition to communication with colleagues and public information analysis. Headhunters are becoming more active in their search for the best lawyers and began to entice people, offering them bigger remuneration. Conclusion: there is more work, the internal resources of a number of firms are exhausted, and they are increasing their staff in a pragmatic way. Many firms, which are good at counting money, take this path, and we remember that they were at the forefront of reductions when the market was crashing. Today, the market is obviously growing and is rejuvenated, responding to the demand of dynamically developing industries like IT and the agricultural sector. For example, there is demand for support of transactions with ICO elements and IT solutions with blockchain technologies, demand for resolution of conflicts and investigation of fraud in these spheres is on the rise. This market is still small and there is no place for everyone yet, but such a niche can be a gold mine for market leaders who already have experience from the first deals. Generally, for active lawyers ready to invest time and money in their own development, now is the best period to press the relaxed "dinosaurs" of the legal market!

Denis LYSENKO

Managing Partner at Aequo Law Firm

 

The prospect for further development of the legal market centers around digitalization and Legal Tech. In particular, we launched a number of initiatives in 2017. The most significant projects include the Aequo Friends unique outsourcing platform and competition between innovations in legal business of the Aequo Legal Tech Challenge. Both projects attracted considerable media attention; a large number of applications were received from young talented people. We also carry out a program for online services introduction— Aequo Hub, whose advantages were appreciated by our clients.

We expect continued growth of the legal market. The regular research conducted with Mergermarket shows positive dynamics of the M&A market development in Ukraine, including, due to legislative reforms and improvement of Ukrainian positions in the Ease of Doing Business rating. The demand for the Private Clients practice will increase.

As usual, we expect high demand in the dispute resolution practice in the context of cross-border legal cases and a number of significant arbitrations.

 

Oleksiy DIDKOVSKIY

Managing Partner at Asters Law Firm

Certainly, significant changes in legislation will affect the Ukrainian legal market next year. In particular, transformation of the Ukrainian judiciary structure and principles of its functioning, as well as introduction of the lawyer monopoly will have an impact on the legal market.

It is expected that the policy of deregulation in economy, as declared by the Government, will simplify doing business in the country, which from the theoretical point of view can lead to a reduction in the volume of work for lawyers. But real, frequent and not always consistent changes will in the short term only complicate the life for business agents, making them rely on external legal advisors to solve new problems and business challenges.

Regulatory practices will play an important role in 2018; we can expect further increase in the yield of support for criminal proceedings, judicial and arbitration practices. A rise in work volumes is expected for clients in the economy’s agricultural sector, since it remains one of the most attractive for foreign investors, especially if the Government does introduce long-awaited land reform in Ukraine.

 

Olha PROSYANYUK

Managing Partner at AVER LEX Attorneys at law

Certainly, it is hoped that foreign investors will begin to come back to the country with gradual stabilization of the macroeconomic situation. However, this should be supported by positive results from judicial reform.

But it is a fact of life that there is serious redistribution of property taking place, and the demand for services in the protection of businesses and individuals in criminal proceedings is growing in our country. Despite a number of positive signals for the outside world, the practice of illegal pressure on business by the authorities or law-enforcement agencies through criminal prosecution, unfortunately, continues to grow. Criminal cases are more often of a political nature and even made to special order. The objects of pressure are former or current objectionable officials and big business. Based on the working methods of the authorities, we can say that, unfortunately, it is not worth count on rapid change.

Systemic law firms will feel more competition from the Big Four companies. Many firms will continue to transform themselves into highly- specialized boutiques, turning away from unviable practices, or will increase their focus on specific industries, offering clients not only legal, but also some business solutions.

Effects of reform

Denis MYRGORODSKIY

President of Dynasty Law Firm

I have mixed impressions of the results of judicial reform. I think the main problem is the absence of a radical renewal of court staff, including the new composition of the Supreme Court of Ukraine (75% of which is composed of judges who’ve previously worked for a long time in the judiciary). It is difficult to expect that we will get a radically different result with the same people. The percentage of attorneys and researchers in the new composition of the Supreme Court is too low to speak of a radical restructuring of the system.

At the same time, I expect high returns from reform of the system of judgments execution and introduction of the institution of private bailiffs. The State Enforcement Service did not have enough healthy competition for a long time, and non-execution of judgments became such a systemic problem that it aroused a sharp reaction even at the European Court of Human Rights.

Oeksandr MARTYNENKO

Senior Partner at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

I have a slightly different opinion on the nature and objectives of judicial reform. I am more impressed by the North American (USA and Canada) system of organization and functioning of the judiciary.

Nevertheless, I believe that we have made quite radical progress in this direction and within the framework of the reform implemented in the state.

I am most impressed by the introduction of a professional approach to the examination of cases in courts. Whatever people say, law is both science and art at the same time. Persons participating in court hearings must speak the same language and use a single legal instrument, and use it professionally. Otherwise, our legal system will never crystallize and come to a state of consciousness.

There was sufficient amateurism in the era of the command economy. The market economy requires a professional attitude to these problems and the resolution of disputes by professionals.

Denys BUGAY

Partner at VB PARTNERS

I will name two key achievements of judicial reform.

The first one is the actual elimination of political influence on the selection of judicial manpower and career progression of judges. In this regard, I give a positive assessment to the High Qualification Commission of Judges as an institution in general and the work of its specific representatives.

The second one is competition in the Supreme Court, which, in my opinion, is a highly technocratic and effective project that has given us an opportunity to change.

Judicial reform has given the legal community the opportunity not only to gain influence over the judiciary, but to also become a part of it. For the first time ever, lawyers and legal academics were able to occupy the posts of judges of the Supreme Court.

Personally, I appreciate this innovation highly. The entry of lawyers with diametrically opposite practice and experience into the system can multiply the effect of the reform.

The expectations from judicial reform and the activities of the new Supreme Court are very high. We hope that we will see a really new court soon that is consistent with the principles of the rule of law and justice. A court that will introduce modern technologies into its work and become a model of justice for the whole country.

The bar is also a very important element of the reform. I hope that it will be the next reform stage for the council on judicial reform.

Tatyana GAVRYSH

Managing Partner at ILF

Many people expect unity of enforcement from the new Supreme Court. At the same time, we see how the competition and the appointment were delayed, and this shows the active opposition of the two systems: the post-Soviet system of corruption and the European democratic system. Such global changes do not happen for any particular reason, and we will have a hard time. The counter-movement in support of judicial reform is anti-corruption policy. This is a request of Ukrainian society and a demand of the IMF, and the screws are already being tightened: criminal proceedings are opened, investigations are begun, judges are dismissed. On the other hand, judicial reform will simplify access to justice and speed up proceedings. In the next two years we will see tactical changes for the better associated to the flow of electronic documents and participation of parties at hearings through video conferences. When the length of the period of the examination of the case in court is reduced from 6-12 months to two weeks, as in Poland, this will be a sufficiently fair and tangible result for Ukrainians.

Vladimir SAYENKO

Partner at Sayenko Kharenko

The judicial reform being implemented before our very eyes is perhaps one of the most significant events for the legal community in the past year. We all closely watched the formation of the new composition of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and very high expectations are associated with the start of its work. Society requires priority protection of human rights, zero tolerance towards corruption, an effective decision-making system, professionalism of judges, uniformity of judicial practice and maximum transparency in all processes. Despite partially grounded criticism of some individuals who became judges of the Supreme Court, on the whole, I generally believe that this composition of the court will be able to demonstrate its professionalism and compliance with high standards of ethics and integrity.

One cannot help but touch on the fundamental changes in procedural legislation that completely change the philosophy of judicial processes. For example, the economic procedural code was adopted back in 1991 and has not reflected the needs of our time for a long time now. Based on the draft procedural codes, it is already possible to talk about their progressiveness, the focus on combating abuses, details of the actions of participants in proceedings. It will take some time for judges and lawyers to get accustomed to such changes.

The attitude towards the introduction of the monopoly of the bar in terms of participation in trials is still ambiguous at a time when the world is moving towards liberalization of the legal profession. This reduces the level of competition on the market, and complicates and increases the opportunity for businesses to defend their interests in court through the efforts of in-house lawyers who may be more competent than many attorneys. I believe that clients will quickly adapt to the new realities and will feel the benefits of working with professional attorneys, and competent lawyers will join the ranks of attorneys and so will contribute to the reform of the bar.

I generally support the changes and look forward to their practical implementation.