Legal Market Overview
Ukraine has had a turbulent time in recent years, particularly following the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Political and economic stability have greatly improved, however, though there is still some conflict in the heavily industrial eastern regions. Elections in 2019 saw actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy become president and saw his party achieve a majority in parliament without the need for a coalition, so the potential for a more unified approach to economic policy has encouraged foreign investors to seek opportunities.
With expected GDP growth of around 4% for 2019, the country is on a stable footing for further reforms. Privatisation is expected to gather momentum, with the sale of state assets expected to attract foreign investment. The liberalisation of the currency and foreign investment regime under the new parliament has created a positive environment for ambitious projects, among which is a plan to make the country a European transport hub that can exploit its road, rail and air connections to the CEE region and CIS states.
Legislative changes are on the way, with the government opening up real estate to overseas investors and planning further tax reforms and a shake-up of the judicial system. This creates potential work streams for the domestic firms that are increasingly vying with international law firms in Kiev for roles in high-profile cross-border transactions.
The largest domestic firm is Asters, but there are many strong full-service firms, such as Aequo, Avellum, Ilyashev & Partners, Sayenko Kharenko and Vasil Kisil & Partners. Others stand out in specific practice areas, such as ARBITRADE, EnGarde Attorneys at Law, LCF Law Group and Lexwell & Partners in dispute resolution.
International law firms abound in Kiev, with Baker McKenzie, Kyiv Office, DLA Piper, CMS and Dentons all highly visible, while regional firms such as Kinstellar and Integrites increasingly have a seat at the top table in domestic and cross-border matters.