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Kyiv Post reviews Ukraine’s top law practices in 2012

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June 28, 2012, 8:52 p.m. | Business — by Oksana Faryna

The Kyiv Post took recent rankings from four respected international annual guides, meaning that no one can buy their way to the top. They are: Legal 500, Chambers Europe, Practical Law Company’s Which Lawyer and International Financial Law Review 1000. The list includes results of two basic legal practices, such as corporate and mergers & acquisitions as well as banking and finance law.
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Oksana Lyachynska

Kyiv Post staff writer

Ranking can help choose the right law firm

One way to decide which law firm in Ukraine to hire is to consult the Kyiv Post analysis of the most recognized and unbiased international rankings.

The Kyiv Post took recent rankings from four respected international annual guides, meaning that no one can buy their way to the top. They are: Legal 500, Chambers Europe, Practical Law Company’s Which Lawyer and International Financial Law Review 1000.

The list includes results of two basic legal practices, such as corporate and mergers & acquisitions as well as banking and finance law.

All four rankings provide readers with the most recent information on the industry available. 

The Legal 500 published its list of the best law firms in Europe, Middle East & Africa in many practice areas, including corporate and M&A and banking, finance and capital markets, in March.

Chambers Europe Awards 2012 took place in May. Then the results on corporate/M&A and banking & finance were presented.

PLC Which Lawyer published its rankings on banking and finance law in January and on corporate and mergers and acquisitions in May.

IFLR 1000 announced its 2012 results on mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance in October last year.

For each place in the first band of each of these rankings, a firm was given six points by the Kyiv Post. For a place in the second band, five points were awarded and so on down to one point for the sixth band. The sum of all points across the two practices and four international rankings made up each law firm’s total points.

According to the results of all four rankings, top two law firms in 2012 remained same as last year. They are the regional office of international law firm Baker & McKenzie and a local company Sayenko Kharenko.

The rankings reflect the volume of the work that we handle and the feedback received by researchers from clients and peers on the quality of legal services— Vladimir Sayenko, partner at Sayenko Kharenko

“The rankings reflect the volume of the work that we handle and the feedback received by researchers from clients and peers on the quality of legal services,” said Vladimir Sayenko, partner at Sayenko Kharenko. 

A big name of Magisters, one of the oldest Ukrainian law firms with plenty of offices outside the country, disappeared from 2012 rankings since the company was raided by Ukrainian prosecutors in February 2011 and as a result in July last year merged with Russian company Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, subsequently creating the largest law firm in the former Soviet Union.

In the last Kyiv Post ranking, well-recognized Magisters was ranked number three. After the merger, the company with entirely new name in the local market appeared in fourth place, allowing one leading local law firm Asters to move up. 

“When a company with 500 people on staff, including 300 lawyers and 33 partners, appears on the legal market, this single fact cannot be left unnoticed,” said Serhii Sviriba, managing partner at the Kyiv office of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, explaining the quick success of the company after the merger.

“Also, despite the change in title, the core staff in our offices remained the same. The synergy of two famous brands played its role as well.”

Apart from EPA&P brand, no new names appeared in top positions of 2012 international rankings of law firms. As many years in a row the top list is almost equally shared by both international and local law firms. 

Most companies remained in approximately the same positions. The only law firms which managed to get over 10 points more this year than the last year was Avellum Partners, a boutique law firm founded in 2009 and managed by former lawyers from Baker & McKenzie.

The ranking completed by the Kyiv Post does not reflect the full picture of the legal market, though. The lawyers were busy not only in the mentioned practices, but also in other areas such as litigation and debt collection, which are not ranked here.

“Debt collection projects and associated white collar crime cases account for some 70 percent of work for Sayenko Kharenko’s litigation department, whilst corporate, tax, administrative, IP and employment disputes make up the other 30 percent,” said the company’s partner. 

To meet the demand, Sayenko Kharenko expanded its litigation, international arbitration and international trade teams.

Sayenko added that the demand for debt recovery advice hit its peak in 2011, and he would not anticipate that the trend will be on for much longer. He said the market expects a considerable increase in the number of investment disputes to arbitrate and litigate in the next two-three years.

Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Faryna can be reached at faryna@kyivpost.com

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