DLA Piper sells Ukraine business to Kinstellar as company leaves the country



Margarita Karpenko, former managing partner of DLA Piper in Ukraine, among 38 lawyers moving to Kinstellar

Kinstellar takes over DLA Piper Ukraine in Kiev Shutterstock

The Central and Eastern European firm Kinstellar has acquired the DLA Piper office in Kiev, marking the withdrawal of the international firm from the Ukrainian market.

The merger sees 38 lawyers join Kinstellar, bringing the firm’s workforce to 60 lawyers, including 10 partners.

The move adds to Kinstellar’s existing capabilities by expanding its practice coverage to include taxation and intellectual property, in addition to strengthening its existing practice groups, including corporate, mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, l employment, litigation and real estate.

The office will be headed by a steering committee made up of senior adviser Daniel Bilak, alongside co-directors Margarita Karpenko and Olena Kuchynska. Karpenko takes on the role of Managing Partner of DLA Piper Ukraine Operations, while Kuchynska was Managing Partner of the Kiev office prior to the Kinstellar merger.

Bilak joined the company last year after serving as chairman of the Ukrainian government’s investment promotion office. Prior to that, he spent a decade as a partner in CMS’s Kiev office advising clients in the infrastructure, agribusiness, IT and energy industries.

Karpenko, who has worked at DLA Piper in Kiev for two decades, is a specialist in mergers and acquisitions and employment, while Kuchnyska focuses her practice on energy law.

Patrik Bolf, managing partner of Kinstellar, said the move strengthens the scale of the company by adding complementary practices to its existing core offerings in the region.

He added: “This merger is a major step in our growth strategy, which at the heart of attracting and retaining the best talent to help our clients achieve their business goals in all of our jurisdictions. “

Jan Geert Meents, deputy managing director of DLA Piper in the UK and Europe, said the company decided to leave Ukraine following a review concluding that its presence in the country’s legal market was not “No longer needed” as part of its global strategy.

“Kinstellar is a very popular company and we are confident that the Kyiv team will be happy in their new home,” he said.

Founded in 1992, Kinstellar became fully independent when it separated from parent company Linklaters in 2008. It currently has offices in Kazakhstan, Serbia, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Turkey, in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Uzbekistan.

Other companies have closed European bases in recent years, including DWF, which shut down operations in Brussels last summer as part of a major cost-cutting strategy triggered by the pandemic.


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