Stay safety, client concerns, cyber attacks and the threat to the rule of law. One leading local lawyer offers a view from inside Ukraine.
Sayenko Kharenko is one of Ukraine’s most reputable corporate law firms. Today, as the threat of a Russian military siege looms, it finds itself addressing client and staff safety concerns, as well as some of the lesser known perils facing Ukrainian professionals, such as state-backed cyber attacks.
Law.com International spoke to Sayenko Kharenko partner Vladimir Sayenko, a leading corporate lawyer in Kyiv, who offered his take on the likelihood of invasion, how his firm is preparing, and what it all means for both the industry and the rule of law.
How is Ukraine’s legal community responding to the threat of invasion?
The Ukrainian Bar Association made a public statement emphasizing that the current escalation of the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine violates a number of international treaties. The legal community in Ukraine is united around the idea that in the 21st century the rule of law should prevail over “the law of the jungle” and military force should not be the only thing preventing one country from wolfing down another.
Do you think an invasion is likely?
We all hope that joint international efforts will secure peaceful resolution of the current dispute and stable security framework for the European continent. It would be unfortunate if all European countries will have to divert vital resources that are needed elsewhere to increase military spending in order to resist the restoration of the Soviet empire.
How are you dealing with the security threat?
Sayenko Kharenko has an affiliated intelligence and security firm, SK Security, that advises major multinationals on security risks, develops contingency plans and helps clients in the event of an emergency. Therefore, we are fortunate to have professional assistance in preparing our law firm for various threats that are being discussed in the press and even those that are not widely known.
While political experts continue to speculate on the chances of full-blown Russian military invasion, it is obvious that state-backed terrorism will be an issue, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure will continue, and the safety of people will be a core priority. Outside assistance allows us to avoid distracting our lawyers from helping clients with various legal issues that arise during these uncertain times.
How are clients responding?
Demand for legal services remains high at the beginning of 2022. While some international clients decided to put new investment plans on hold, existing businesses continue to deal with day-to-day matters. They are used to operating in a country that has been facing the threat of invasion since 2014.
Most of our clients continue to pursue existing projects and even seek new opportunities. Thus, we hope that everything that does not kill us will make us stronger!