Biglaw, International Law, Rankings, Vault rankings

Ukraine Law Firm Rankings Unveiled!

It’s always a little jarring when someone uses a big news event to bore down deeper into their own bizarre area of interest. Take, for instance, the Newtown massacre. While most news organizations were digging deep into the social, psychological, and political ramifications of the horror, ESPN reported on what it all meant to Jimmie Johnson. Or Rick Pitino’s stance on gun control. A White Sox relief pitcher made a trip to Newtown, and ESPN was there. Now, I don’t begrudge ESPN’s attempt to report the massacre through the prism of sports. The combination of seemingly disparate news elements sometimes yields interesting insights. But sometimes it just yields one more story about stock car racing. So it goes.

Now that all of the introductories are dispensed with, we can get to the question that’s been nagging all of you for an entire week. Or more!

What does the recent unpleasantness in Ukraine have to do with law firm rankings? And which Biglaw firms have the best presence in Ukraine? I’m glad you asked…

Ukraine may be the kindling that turns into a worldwide conflagration. Thousands of men, women, and children may be murdered by warring armies hellbent on geopolitical domination. Civil rights almost certainly will erode as multiple nations are put on a war footing.

I wonder whether DLA Piper is in the Ukrainian top 5 firms? Guys, don’t worry. It is.

According to a Kyiv Post ranking from 2012 that I found while searching for something to write about, DLA Piper was the fifth-best Ukraine law practice. They may still be! Who knows? Come now, let’s dive in. I help navigate rankings:

Ranking can help choose the right law firm

One way to decide which law firm in Ukraine to hire is to consult the Kyiv Post analysis of the most recognized and unbiased international rankings.

In the 2014 U.S. News ranking of Potential Invaders of Ukraine, Russia ranked #1 for the 23rd straight year. Even crazier was Belgium clocking in at #2.

If you’re wondering why the Kyiv Post entered the rankings racket, prepare to have your mind blown: I don’t know and didn’t really investigate the why, how, or what of these rankings. As I told you before, I was Google searching (in this case, during the Academy Awards broadcast) and came across this article. I thought it was written in semi-hilariously very-broken English and also marveled at the mere existence of a law firm ranking in Ukraine. It is clearly man’s fate to rank things. And to die.

In case you thought that law firm rankings would provide no insight into the current troubles in Ukraine, think again. This passage stands out as a peek into the kind of society angry Ukrainians recently rallied against:

The Kyiv Post took recent rankings from four respected international annual guides, meaning that no one can buy their way to the top. They are: Legal 500, Chambers Europe, Practical Law Company’s Which Lawyer and International Financial Law Review 1000.

These rankings, then, are the opposite of Viktor Yanukovych’s galleon. They cannot be bought.

Additionally, the tumult of Ukrainian society also made an appearance on the list:

A big name of Magisters, one of the oldest Ukrainian law firms with plenty of offices outside the country, disappeared from 2012 rankings since the company was raided by Ukrainian prosecutors in February 2011 and as a result in July last year merged with Russian company Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, subsequently creating the largest law firm in the former Soviet Union.

This is not Vault. I cannot stress this enough. It is a list not beholden to the vicissitudes of partner compensation and practice group movement. It is a list of firms that might just up and f**king disappear. Like some old Trotskyite in one of Stalin’s pictures. Poof! Forget about Magisters. It’s not here.

Of course, no discussion of rankings would be complete without a celebration of number one. Congratulations, Baker & McKenzie!

According to the results of all four rankings, top two law firms in 2012 remained same as last year. They are the regional office of international law firm Baker & McKenzie and a local company Sayenko Kharenko.

The firm has clearly rallied from the ignominious moment in 2008 when they failed to extend an offer of employment to the best summer associate they’ve ever had, thus leaving him no option but to scrape and grovel for whatever legal crumbs were available to him, left to live in a dark world where paying back one’s student loans is a mere pipe dream better suited to those who have real and actual legal employment on second thought f**k those guys I rescind my congratulations.

If you would like to learn more about the way in which law firms in Ukraine were ranked in 2012, I encourage you to read the whole article over at the Kyiv Post.

If you would like to learn how law firms are being affected by the current Ukraine troubles, feel free to read this American Lawyer article. It requires a subscription to read past the first page, so I couldn’t get too far into it. But it seemed interesting!

Kyiv Post reviews Ukraine’s top law practices in 2012 [Kyiv Post]
Unrest in Ukraine Ripples Through Global 100 Firms [American Lawyer]

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