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  • By Dima Gadomsky

Feedback, threats, and greetings from smart people in response to The Four Generations of Ukrainian


Part 2.

Aminat Suleymanova, AGA Partners

Screw it!

“Great Job! It’s just that I don’t really believe in mergers. Look, law firms have started to focus on certain areas and position themselves as boutique law firms. I mean, it’s you, AGA Partners, and some others. We’re making it clear that we’re experts in what we do. Clients are sick and tired of law firms offering a little bit of everything. I don’t believe in mergers in Ukraine because any merger is actually a takeover. To grab a big bite, one should have a big stomach. However, our market is way too small. We had to tighten our belts. Mergers were on the rise when money was falling from the sky, so people could expand their businesses and buy companies.”

Nazar Chernyavsky, Sayenko Kharenko newlaw firm

Hey, Dima, do you think this pic will do?)))

It seems to me that you’re absolutely right about the main trend. During a crisis, which we are currently going through, existing businesses have to change not only to stay afloat but simply to survive. At the same time, new companies, platforms, technologies, and phenomena have been emerging. Therefore, the legal services market has to change. I am not going to focus on those who are getting money from the public budget since if you’ve got the biggest client in the entire country, you don’t feel like you need to change anything. The only thing that can change for them is the identity of the inner circle. We are currently witnessing some really sweeping changes and exciting transformations in the global legal services market. At Sayenko Kharenko we believe that every crisis is, in fact, an opportunity, i.e. the opportunity to see things in a new light, to start doing something new, to change your work style after all. That’s how our newlaw concept appeared. That’s how we are going to face the challenges of the new economy. I believe that the new generation law firms should be more like tech companies, and they should develop their business processes in a similar way. What will soon become ancient history is bar associations and think tanks, where lawyers are simply trying to sell their hours using their reputation and cases won, where neither common goals nor values would bring them together. Instead, we are moving towards consumer culture, where people pay for specific products they really do need. Those who will be able to create marketable products are going to succeed, perhaps even in the global market (i.e. the digital world), while those who do not have the time or are not able to change, will go on selling their hours (just like illusionists that work at private parties).”

Vladislav Belotsky, Berylstone

“It seems that all that’s left of our founding fathers, is the names of their law firms. Their brand names still work for them. The question is, what will you get in the end? Being a part of a vanity fair that sells awards for a song? Well, it doesn’t work anymore. In my opinion, it’s GOLAW and Vasyl Kisil & Partners that have been leading the way throughout 2017. All the rest do not seem to fit in the top lists they’ve been put in. Third-generation law firms are a pleasure to work with. No matter what, they try to do their best. They don’t need to invent anything extraordinary to stay afloat during a market decline. All they have to do is continue working really hard.”

Serhii Sviriba, EPAP Ukraine

Initially, Vlad sent a nice photo featuring him and a birch-tree. Unfortunately, he changed his mind and asked to replace it with this boring pic.

Serhii Sviriba, EPAP Ukraine

“I do agree that we’ve been going through a crisis. It’s been ongoing not just for a couple of years. It’s been four generations in a row that we’ve been facing a crisis. The legal services market has already hit the bottom. With all those countless top lists, rankings, awards, and vanity fairs, people are unable to tell what’s really important. Do you happen to know any lawyers from abroad? How often do they post their pics from award ceremonies for lawyers? It’s our parochial mentality and cheap (or maybe not so cheap at all) vanity. High demand for all this stuff generates supply.

Me: Hi there) Hey, I need your funny pic. Serhii: Okay, here we go. When you say funny you mean no suit, right?

The thing is, we have a system-wide crisis as the legal profession is seriously ill. We’ve got numerous chronic diseases, such as moral degradation and extensive corruption. I imagine many of you are going to wonder what makes me think that I stand out from this rogues’ gallery. I don’t, unless I speak out against all those diseases. Let us side with the forces of good. There’s at least one reason why we should to it. There’s more money there! Recently, we carried out simple research and studied nearly 10,500 court cases from the times when the old guard was in charge of the system of justice. We tried to estimate the corruption element in 10,500 cases, 99% of these cases were “taken care of” in exchange for bribes. With the legal services market amounting to $200 million, the bribery market size would be the usual 10%, which is essentially $235 million (10% of those 99% cases) put in the pockets of corrupt judges every year. There’s no point in wasting so much money. Just think about it!. Our market could have increased by $235 million! If I were you, I’d give serious thought to siding with the forces of good. Take your cue from Marchenko Danevych, who were the first to speak out for the honest legal services market.”

Nikita Podgainiy, Bot&Partners

“Please send me your funny pic.” — “Oh man! That’s the funniest one.”

“2017 was a year of contrasts in the legal industry. While some companies and teams are seeking to automate their business processes, most law firms haven’t yet managed to get the digital signatures and/or are still using counterfeit software, or haven’t got any convenient document management software.

This won’t do in 2018 because your more efficient competitors are going to be hard on your heels. If you’re determined to set a course for automation, here’s what you should do:

  • Step 1: Find a lawyer who’s really into modern technologies and law. It will be a real challenge, since such people are worth their weight in gold.

  • Step 2: Get your ducks in a row: 1) you either shoot the breeze, or 2) you keep your mouth shut. The advantage of the first approach is that you can talk nonsense and pass for smart guys. The second approach is not that simple. However, using it, you can really change your company.

  • Step 3: Use your resources. Human capital, first of all. Chances are, there will a top list of successful CIOs from the legal industry.

So, we’ve got so much work to do. Those companies that are unable to adapt, they should become extinct. Season’s Greetings!”

Borys Danevych, MarchenkoDanevych

Sorry if I’m being dramatic:)))

“They say that in every society, some are fighting to survive, while others are striving to develop. The same goes for the legal services market. You are driven by a survival instinct not only when you have nothing to eat, but also when you constantly lack for something (even being a multimillionaire). When you think only about your own well-being and want to get things here and now. When there’s no time to think about the common good. You seize the day since tomorrow may never come. But it’s a part of human nature. While development is not only about education, personal growth, and need for change. It’s whether you are ready to work for the common good, including for those with a surviving mindset. Development means that there’s something more than instincts, when values and ethics play the key role in decision-making.

In Ukraine, lawyers love to talk about compliance and fighting corruption. It’s one of the latest trends in Ukraine. However, most of them are involved in corrupt practices. Loose talks about charity and helping out good causes are another trend, while declaring income and paying taxes are not so popular. Partners keep talking about business ethics, but they are not ready to admit that offering kickbacks to legal counsels is absolutely wrong and unacceptable.

However, things are getting better. Technological advances give a boost to transparency and intellectual competition. Way to go! Eventually, technological advancements will encourage development of the legal market. The number of development-oriented players will be growing, too. More and more young lawyers don’t want to be associated with corrupt legal market players. Eventually, people are going to realize that getting paid under the table is something totally humiliating. More and more lawyers won’t be taking any pleasure in winning court cases that have been “taken care of” (through bribery). This is a really cool article, and its main message is that tolerance to something that’s disgusting is actually disgusting. It seems to me, that’s exactly what Dima means. Sure enough, the ability to tell right from wrong is a great asset.

So, support those who want to change and those who are actually changing. Follow your heart, even if it’s not very good for your P&L, at least in the immediate term. You see, those driven only by survival instinct are currently going through hard times as well due to economic crisis. The share of development-oriented market, where business ethics are treated with respect, is definitely going to grow.”

Disclaimer

Before you beat the shit out of me, check this out. If I messed up, misinterpreted facts, offended you, or missed some key point, please feel free to contact me. No censorship. I’m going to read it, I promise.

If you’ve managed to get here, you either have a lot of free time or you really liked it. Either way, many thanks and remember that making predictions or commenting competitors may sound like this:

Ballmer Laughs at iPhone

About the Author

Dima Gadomsky is a TEDx speaker, Lecturer in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Head of legal committee of Lviv IT Cluster, co-head of IT committee of Ukrainian Bar Association.

Ranked in the TOP 5 of Best Lawyers in IT according to the annual study Ukrainian Law Firms 2014, 2015, 2016 and TOP 100 Lawyers in Ukraine according to all-Ukrainian study the Choice of the Clients 2014/2015.

Named as an excellent, forward-thinking lawyer in Intellectual Property by Legal 500 2016. but above all Cinema fan and jazz listener, he eats after 6 p.m. and plays football.

#KnowledgeUpdates #DimaGadomsky

Endorsing Legal Business World Television ®

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