A group of lawyers from Clifford Chance’s now defunct Kyiv office have launched a boutique in the city.
Everlegal handles corporate and financial work, including banking, competition and M&A, in addition to dispute resolution. It has a staff of four partners led by Yevheniy Deyneko, who was counsel at Cllifford Chance Kyiv and led the antitrust practice.
The magic circle firm closed its office in Kyiv this month. When the firm announced its intention to pull out of Ukraine earlier this year, it explained the office would be forming a new boutique, Redcliffe Partners, which it has a non-exclusive best friend’s relationship with. In Clifford Chance’s official statement about the decision, it said Deyneko would be one of three partners at Redcliffe.
Unlike Redcliffe, Everlegal made no mention of any referral relationship with Clifford Chance when it announced the firm’s opening.
Clifford Chance is one of many international firms that have decided to close in Ukraine recently. Gide exited earlier this autumn, Chadbourne & Parke withdrew last year, as did Beiten Burkhardt. In 2013, Noerr was another to depart.
Civil war in the east of Ukraine instigated by Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year has exacerbated an already challenging economic situation in the country. For commercial law firms, debt restructuring is the predominant form of work available and fees are incredibly low. Certainly not at magic circle prices.
Only two UK firms - CMS and DLA Piper - remain in Kyiv. Baker & McKenzie and Dentons are the last of the large US firms with a presence in Ukriane, and the latter has relocated several former Kyiv partners to the US.