Ukrainian firm Arzinger was established eight years ago by two former general counsel who became disenchanted with working in-house.
The firm occupies a niche in the Ukraine legal market, servicing German companies investing in the country.
“We understood that there was a demand for German-speaking law firms in Ukraine,” recalls senior partner Timur Bondaryev, a former head of legal at Rusal. “It was a specific service and we knew that potential clients would love to have a German-speaking law firm [in Ukraine]. There was a niche opportunity and we needed a magnet for clients.”
Bondaryev, along with managing partner Sergiy Shklyar, formerly a general counsel at TNK BP, flew to Germany to meet with firms that could provide their practice with a trusted brand – the “magnet for clients”. They visited around 10 firms that had interests in the CIS, but not Ukraine, and pitched their idea. The first to respond was Rainer Arzinger of Arzinger & Partners.
In November 2002 Bondaryev and Shklyar joined his network and launched Arzinger & Partners Ukraine. The arrangement was that of a joint venture, although in reality it was more a franchise. The firm flourished, hoovering up the best of the German-speaking market in Ukraine and, according to Bondaryev, doubling every year in revenue and staff. The firm was the first to open a second office in Lviv and today employs around 80 staff and seven partners.
2006 also a turning point for the firm when Rainer Arzinger was killed in a road accident. Arzinger was so central to Bondaryev and Shklyar’s relationship with the brand that soon after his death they began to consider independence.
In January 2009 they relaunched as Arzinger, an independent Ukrainian firm. Arzinger continues to advise on corporate law, real estate, litigation and renewable energy projects and maintains its German links, acting for Porsche and Bayer AG. It also continues to prosper domestically, with plans to open an office in Odessa and Bondaryev being retained as the personal adviser to the mayor of Lviv.
Managing partner: Sergiy Shklyar
Turnover: e4.4m (£3.73m)
Number of partners: Seven
Number of equity partners: Three
Number of lawyers: 40
Number of fee-earners: 40
Number of offices: Two Locations: Kyiv, Lviv
Main practice areas: M&A, corporate law, real estate and construction, antitrust and competition, litigation and arbitration, tax, banking and finance, PPP, public procurement, employment, administrative law, capital markets and IPOs
Clients: Porsche, Bayer AG