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IN FOCUS: DNIPRO
Denys Myrgorodskiy, Managing Partner, Dynasty Law Firm
“The region is unprecedentedly saturated with large metallurgical, coke-chemical and machine-building enterprises, which, to a large extent, set the tone for the legal services market”
What sets apart the Dnipro market from the rest of the country?
The Dnipro regional market has always been quite specific. Four business clusters belonging to different national and religious cultures coexist peacefully enough here. Apart from local Ukrainian business groups, of which about 40 are representatives of large business, and thousands more are medium and small ones, there is a significant presence of large international companies, as well as businesses of Jewish and Turkish origin. Among international companies, which chose Dnipro as the location for their head offices, are heavyweights like Danieli Heavy Machinery, LindeGaz, Primetals technologies, East Bolt, Sitecore, production sites of international groups ArcelorMittal, Procter & Gamble, Retal, Bunge, etc. are also located here.
Jewish businesses, centered around a large and well-managed Jewish community, are very diverse and deserve a separate story. The Turkish segment is represented by Limak office and a group of production enterprises of Turkish holdings — Axor, Miroplast, UDK, as well as by representative offices of Turkish traders and retailers.
Thanks to the region’s proximity to deposits of metallic ores, it is unprecedentedly saturated with large metallurgical, coke-chemical and machine-building enterprises, which to a large extent set the tone for the legal services market.
How would you comment on the situation on the regional legal market? How is it affected by its proximity to the occupied territories?
Over the last year the legal market has been demonstrating a significant shift from routine business support projects and solving challenges faced to development projects: acquisition of equipment, businesses, investment in new assets. The number of legal studies, conducted by us at the request of potential business purchasers and investors for the first quarter of 2018, exceeded the number of such projects for the whole of 2017. Unfortunately, the number of registered criminal proceedings on economic crimes is also on the rise.
The proximity of occupied territories certainly affects the market: criminal lawyers are regularly hired by clients involved in cases of offenses against the state and of military service, which were extremely rare earlier. Business advocacy has felt a significant shift in the interest of foreign investors towards opening new production facilities in Western regions of the country: from 2015, three or four production units have been unveiled by investors in the West against one in the East of the country. On the other hand, one good piece of news was the inflow of small clients and qualified personnel from the occupied territories.
Do you cooperate (on a referral basis) with other law firms? What is the role of the office in Kyiv?
Many metropolitan law firms are well aware of the strong positions of our office in Dnipro and constantly turn to us for assistance in projects related to Dnipro and Zaporizhzhya Regions. There can be 3-5 such
projects pending at the same time. We see them not as a considerable part of our orders, but rather as fraternal assistance to brothers in trade. In many cases, large Ukrainian and international law firms send the client with interests in the region directly to our office, realizing that we are well aware of regional specifics and will be able to provide more efficient assistance. Referral partners of such level are rarely interested in a referral fee, much more often they are driven by concern for the interests of the anchor client and desire to provide the most qualitative assistance.
In general, the viewpoint that regional offices and firms should be more focused on orders from metropolitan law firms, which I sometimes hear from consultants in the area of legal business development, is deeply flawed. As a rule, it comes from people who have never developed a legal business in regions.
A firm with a full range of services can successfully develop only in one case: when it builds direct relations with its client, whether with regional elites or multinational companies. Our office in Dnipro has a number of direct agreements with large multinational companies, which have other legal counsels in Kyiv. Alternatively, the Kyiv office serves clients from the eastern part of the country that are not clients of the Dnipro office. But relationships with a client remain direct in any case.
Our offices in Dnipro and Kyiv have a clear distribution of functions on a geographical basis.
The projects and instructions of clients with their place of execution in Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya, Kirovograd, Kharkiv, Poltava Regions of Ukraine are supported by the Dnipro office. The remaining projects are, as a rule, supported by the office in Kyiv. Exceptions can be made due to the special affection of the client to a professional or a group of professionals, whose opinion he or she particularly trusts and wants to see in a particular project; or because of the narrow area of expertise of the associate, which is required by the client’s instruction.