James T. Hitch, 61
Few people can claim the breadth of perspective that lawyer James Hitch, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie law firm in Kyiv, has in Ukraine. Hitch first came to Ukraine in 1970 on a rare-for-the-times college exchange program.
By 1975, the Harvard Law School graduate was beginning his long career with the international firm as their specialist in Eastern Europe.
Between then and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Hitch was involved in various deals in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland and what was then known as Czechoslovakia.
Having studied the Russian language in high school and international affairs at Princeton University, he was uniquely qualified to do things such as offer advice on the first joint venture between American blue jean maker Levi Strauss and its Hungarian partner.
Hitch went on to open or assist in opening Baker & McKenzie’s offices in Russia (1989), Kyiv (1992) and other East European cities. He served as the firm’s managing partner in St. Petersburg in 1997-2002, and then in Kyiv since 2002.
When asked by the Kyiv Post about his greatest impact on Ukraine, Hitch said: “Setting a standard for high integrity and anti-corruption in the legal profession.”
I am proud to have helped Ukrainian companies take their first step toward the rule of law and corporate governance by getting them listed abroad.”
- James Hitch.
Hitch also takes pride in making Baker & McKenzie the first foreign law firm in Ukraine to do litigation full-time. Also among the St. Louis, Missouri, native’s accomplishments is taking the first Ukrainian companies to foreign markets for initial public offerings (IPOs), including agricultural giant Mironivsky Khliboprodukt and mining company Ferroexpo to London’s prestigious main exchange.
“I am proud to have helped Ukrainian companies take their first step toward the rule of law and corporate governance by getting them listed abroad,” he recalls.
He is also a longtime board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine.
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