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Legal market overview
Ukraine, often described as ‘the breadbasket of Europe’, has a strong agricultural industry and its economy is benefiting from a resurgence in sectors such as pharmaceutical, retail, outsourcing and energy – particularly renewables such as solar and wind energy. Nevertheless, its recovery from the financial crisis of 2008 is far from complete. Its once strong steel sector is struggling and many international banks are exiting the country’s financial services market.
There is widespread public support for the signing of a European Union association agreement, which could provide long-term economic stimulus, although this is complicated by the imperative of maintaining positive social, economic and political links with Russia. In November 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych decided against signing the EU trade agreement, leading to vociferous public protests, although his removal from power in February 2014 may see the issue being revisited.
Foreign investors remain shy of the risks in Ukraine and many are waiting until the next presidential elections to determine their investment strategy.
Some international law firms are prominent in the market, including Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited, Clifford Chance LLC, DLA Piper Ukraine LLC and Dentons. In addition, Gide Loyrette Nouel enhanced its team by hiring a number of partners following the closure of Beiten Burkhardt’s Kiev office. Nevertheless, the market increasingly favours high-quality domestic firms such as Sayenko Kharenko, Vasil Kisil & Partners, Arzinger and Asters. Young firm Avellum Partners has quickly found a place among the elite.
Also of note, Ulysses and Danevych Law Firm merged in December 2013 to form Marchenko Danevych.