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17 July 2019

GR Goes All Out to Become Fashionable

Source: ULF

Public law and regulation can make or break any business. Government relations and public policy practice helps clients to promote policy change, shape draft legislation and manage regulatory risk.

Rapid changes in the political environment in Ukraine and active implementation of reforms have provided a new approach for international and local businesses to deliver messages to government stakeholders in a transparent and compliant manner.

The desire to influence decision-making has always been one of the distinguishing features for a company that has reached a certain level of development. But the primary task of GR is to establish permanent contacts and a reliable relationship between the stakeholders and business at all levels.

Why does GR have a go-go trend?

GR and lobbying are not currently subject to specific regulation in Ukraine, but it has moved sharply into self- standing legal practice. Why has that happened?

— After the Euromaidan revolution of 2014 and the start of a widespread reform agenda, demand for GR experts and related expertise skyrocketed

— The moving of lawyers into government and the executive branch expanded contacts with the legal and business communities

— Starting from 2015 the increasing pace of DCFTA implementation and its impact on business, both private business and the legal community, established permanent GR practices

Although Ukrainian law firms strongly communicate their involvement in GR practice, very few of them actually report cases publicly. On a separate note, the enlisting of foreign-based corporations as clients with highest standards of provision of GR services, requires from a legal consultant active promotion and communication of their experience in this area. Subsequently, compliance with local laws and with FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UK Bribery Act is a must to reach the most reputable clients. Moreover, having certified officers in GR in law, as well as an established zero-tolerance approach

to corruption, would provide much greater chances of success in a diverging and challenging area of legal consultancy. Today, GR in Ukraine is mostly about “know-who” rather than “know-how”. However, a deep understanding of “know- how” is also a key issue for a timely and proper approval of regulations. Mitigation of contradiction between business and the state in an unstable and changing legal environment pushes each stakeholder to benefit from GR — starting from legal drafting and ending with implementation of best practices in industry regulations, which also require foreign experience. Attracting a GR expert is relevant when the regulatory framework goes against the actual state of play on the market while also contradicting basic regulatory principles. A large portion of GR work is done on updating existing legislation and implementing the Association Agreement that Ukraine signed with the EU, establishing a completely new regulatory framework in practically all segments of the economy.

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