Ukrainian firm Sayenko Kharenko is launching a representative office in London at the same time as developing a standalone government relations practice.
The London office will be headed by Ukrainian-qualified lawyer Iryna Nagayets, who has joined Sayenko Kharenko as a counsel from Baker & McKenzie, where she was a senior associate.
Nagayets specialises in capital markets, debt restructuring and M&A work and was at Baker & McKenzie for 15 years.
Meanwhile the new standalone government relations practice will be headed by non-lawyer Andy Hunder. Hunder previously headed up the international business development team at Russian firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners and legacy firm Magisters, but has also worked in senior government relations roles at GlaxoSmithKline and Ukrainian Mobile Communications.
Sayenko Kharenko has advised clients on government relations for some time, on matters such as regulatory issues, drafting of legislation and other topics.
Hunder said the practice would be supported by lawyers in Kiev and would be expanding.
“There’s a genuine need for understanding of government relations, especially with anti-corruption legislation,” he said. “Having a good government relations strategy in place is really important.”
Managing partner Vladimir Sayenko added that the London office would bring the firm closer to clients’ decision-making centres.