Odessa Legal Business Forum: How to Compete with the Best?


ODESA - March 1, 2019. The first day of spring and the first large-scale event of the Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) this year - the Odessa Legal Business Forum welcomed guests from all over Ukraine.

The UBA expresses its gratitude to General Partner - AS Legal, Odesa Regional Bar Association, the EU PRAVO-Justice Project; Event Partners - Juris Ferrum, Legal Partner, as well as Session Partners - DE-Jure and Legrant.

The members of the UBA Board Denys Bugay and Igor Svechkar, as well as Oleksandr Baiderin, Head of the UBA Branch in Odessa region addressed with welcoming remarks at the event opening.

There was a place for celebrations as well. During the event, the UBA Award "For Honor and Professional Dignity was handed over to Joseph Bronz, the Honored Lawyer of Ukraine, the Chair of the Bars Council of Odessa region, and the Vice-President of the new International Union of (commonwealth) of lawyers.

The first session was devoted to legal trends. The moderator of this session was Tetyana Titarenko, managing partner at Legrant. Anastasiya Pozova, Director of Marketing and PR at EVRIS, told about the main trends in marketing and promotion of legal services:

"The main thing to keep in mind is that each of your activities online or offline shall contribute to the development of your brand. Experiment, create and you will succeed!"

Anna Gnizdovska, Head of Yurys Ferrum, touched upon a very sensible topic: "How to make the legal text understandable and interesting for the client". The expert assured that in order to prepare a fine piece of material, one should go through the following points:

-       take care of the stylistics;

-       write in plane and understandable language;

-       formulate the text correctly;

-       to tell stories and apply a so-called juridical storytelling;

-       include call for action.

Anna Rodyuk, deputy editor-in-chief of "Yurydychna Gazeta" Weekly, told about approaches and methods of preparing legal ratings.

Denis Bugay and Igor Svechkar presented the "Advantages of boutique and Full service law firms". Together, they tried to find out which companies prevail on the legal market: niche, focusing on individual specializations or universal. Which marketing tools are best suited for promoting boutiques? And how to be a strong player on the market and provide a wide range of services?

"I cannot but emphasize four main responsibilities that a boutique law firm must be ready to cover do. First, this is a deep knowledge and experience, understanding trends, active participation in the professional community. Remember that combining knowledge and expertise and speaking with clients their language is your way to success!", - noted Denys Bugay.      

"I would like to talk about the pros and cons of big law firms. As for the minuses: the lumpiness of quality standards because it is impossible to preserve all internal practices at one high level; a variety of interests; the disparity in income and the need for subsidies (you cannot do without subsidies in order to maintain a full cycle of services). The last point could also be regarded as positive, because there are bad times for everyone, and partners always support each other. Among the pluses, besides the last one, is cross-selling (if you have access to a client, then you try to sell more practices of your colleagues); multiservice (clients from among large firms tend to form panels of law firms, that cover a large number of areas of law)," - said Igor Svechkar.

After a short break, the forum participants gathered for a panel discussion on the inner workings of law firms. The moderator of this section was Grigory Trypulsky, managing partner at "De-Yure".

Artem Volkov, head of the practice of maritime and transport law of the ANK Law Firm, raised issues related to the reimbursement of legal fees by Ukrainian courts, taking into account the latest changes in procedural law (the new CPC of Ukraine, which came into force on 15.12.2017), as well as judicial practice.

Mykola Melnykov, partner of Interlegal, Roksolana Kostur, partner of Matviyiv & Partners, together with Roman Chumak, managing partner of Ares, discussed the peculiarities of pricing, financial distribution, attraction of regional partners, billing.

"One of the present needs, faced by each regional law firm, is the need for close interaction with colleagues from other regions. Subcontracting is an important component of communication. It is noteworthy that the Ukrainian Bar Association allows for the establishment of fruitful professional connections and creates a powerful network of the legal community throughout the country," - Roman Chumak quoted as saying.

Dovydas Viskauskas, Head of the EU PRAVO-Justice Project, made a special report on the protection of property rights and professional legal ethics as a guarantee of the company's success.

Under the moderation of Tetyana Benko, partner at Legal Marketing Solutions, a researcher and ideologist of LegalTalents.Report, held the third session devoted to the peculiarities of HR policy.

"In the modern world, it is impossible to motivate people simply with good words and promises. Every employee wants to feel valued and cared for and you need to create the most comfortable working conditions. For this end, we use such things as corporate holiday in Egypt and free working schedule. There is also a psychologist in our office who helps the employees to be properly adjusted so that their personal problems do not show up in functional duties," - shared his experience Oleksandr Ryabets, managing partner at Legal Partner Law Firm.

Yevhen Riyako, Managing Partner of RIYAKO & PARTNERS, Maksym Andreyev, Managing Partner at Uk AS Legal, and Igor Markevich, founder of Amigo Partners, told how they managed to find good stuff from the launch of their legal practice.

"Our company is still young. We are only 2 years old. When we created Amigo Partners, we immediately posted a vacancy to social networks without a requirement for higher education. The main thing for us was the knowledge of the foreign language and the desire to develop. In a very short time, we received about 400 resumes. Our team now consists of 18 lawyers. We employ students as well, because we work with foreign companies, while foreign law is not taught in our educational institutions. Therefore, they are gaining knowledge and experience with us, studying English law, the legislation of Singapore, etc." - Ihor Markevych shared his way to success.

In conclusion, Maksiy Andreev, Managing Partner of AS Legal, told about his life-hacks of attracting lawyers to join their team. In his words, success comes when your people are inspired and eager to move in the same direction as you do.

After the formal part of the event, lawyers had a perfect networking opportunity with a glass of wine.