March 2023 – The Russian invasion is still ongoing, affecting all areas of life in Ukraine, but there are slivers of hope and reasons to stay positive and optimistic, according to Kinstellar Partner Alla Kozachenko.
“Russia’s full-scale invasion continues with heavy shelling of infrastructure – aiming to cut off connectivity, water, and electricity,” Kozachenko begins. “Lawyers had to adapt in order to ensure the continuity of services to their clients. With power outages for more than ten hours a day, we had to work from 'points of unbreakability,' gas stations, bomb shelters, and other locations, and we had to distribute work to colleagues outside of Ukraine as well. Our offices are now fully equipped with power generators – which allows us to continue working even during power outages.” Through it all, she says that Ukrainian lawyers demonstrated “incredible resilience, managed to persevere, and are now ready for anything.”
Legal work, according to Kozachenko, centered primarily around “support to NGOs in their charitable endeavors around the country, working on corporate, regulatory, commercial, tax, and other issues. Many NGOs came to Ukraine to provide war-related assistance, and they require help with structuring their operations, registering international technical assistance projects, and general tax and legal support,” she explains.
Moreover, lawyers have been heavily engaged in advising clients on sanctions-related legislation. “As the Russian aggression continues, so does the sanctions framework evolve and expand, meaning that we have to stay on top of it at all times in order to be able to fully support our clients in their needs,” Kozachenko says. Furthermore, she reports that transactions are “back on track. While there has been a slowdown at the beginning of the war, transaction pace has resumed and more and more M&A deals are taking place,” she says. Additionally, matters of “workforce relocation, layoffs, and conscription to military service” are also keeping everybody busy.
On a positive note, Kozachenko reports that the Ukrainian tech sector hasn’t skipped a beat and has continued to grow despite the war.
“We have seen a number of mandates of structuring tech companies’ operations in Ukraine,” she reports. “The interest of foreign and local investors was preserved, seeing as how this sector was affected by the war the least, due to the possibility of remote work and relocation to safer areas,” she explains.
Finally, she remains optimistic, looking ahead. “We’re sure we’ll win the war, and we very much hope that will happen soon. Once the war is over, businesses will be rebuilt and things will go back to normal,” she says, adding that she expects real estate and dispute resolution to be the busiest areas once the rebuilding starts. In conclusion, Kozachenko says: “We are witnessing investments into the country and, even with this disastrous war ongoing, have managed to work decently. And we will continue to work just as hard on our path to victory.”
This article was originally published by CEE Legal Matters Magazine.