Before February 24, 2022, Redcliffe Partners' busiest practice was corporate and M&A, however, the war changed it all, according to Founder and Partner Dmytro Fedoruk.
"For the first several months, almost all of our existing projects were put on hold and there were no new requests from clients," Fedoruk explains. "However, it was a time of complete chaos so we were not very concerned with the absence of work. On the first day of the war, we advanced 3-months’ salary to all our employees and advised them to treat their personal safety as a priority."
"It is only several months later when international businesses realized that Russia was unlikely to occupy the entire Ukrainian territory, and some projects were restarted and clients started coming back," Fedoruk adds.
Among the resumed projects, Fedoruk highlights a few, noting that some of the work is a result of the war. "IT projects stand out," he says, adding that "many clients relocated their offices from Kyiv to Lviv, as it was apparent that the war was unlikely to affect the Western part of the country." Additionally, he says, "the firm also did some pro bono work for volunteer organizations."
"Since our clients suffered as a result of the Russian invasion, there is a drive to bring claims in arbitration and get compensation from Russia for the damages it caused," Fedoruk points out. "In terms of damages, considering what has been destroyed, getting awards will be relatively easy, but it may be harder to enforce them. At the moment, we are working to see ways to make these claims enforceable, as well as looking to litigation funding providers to invest in the proceedings," Fedoruk adds. "We are also looking at asset tracing companies to assist us at the enforcement stage."
"As a result of the war, we stopped working with clients who were connected with the Russian government, including Western businesses with Russian ownership," Fedoruk notes. "In general, we stopped working with all Russian and Belorussian unless they publicly condemn the Russian aggression."
"We started relocating some of our lawyers abroad for secondments since we did not have enough work to keep our entire team busy," Fedoruk notes, adding that some of them moved to Warsaw, Paris, Frankfurt, and London. "Finally, some of our people are in the army, on the frontlines, including one of our Partners and one Associate," he says. "We are trying to help them as much as possible."
As for the future, Fedoruk believes that there is going to be a lot of work in terms of rebuilding the country once the war stops. "However, right now it’s hard to predict any increase in client activity," he notes. "We should hope that Ukraine’s quicker victory is better for everyone, including Russia."