On September 12, 2019 Anna Babych, Aequo’s partner, won the Legal Innovator of the year award at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Europe 2019. The ceremony was held at the Natural History Museum in London.
Anna was named among the leaders of legal practice revolutions, along with representatives of such firms as Ashurst, Latham & Watkins, Mishcon de Reya, Pinsent Masons, Taylor Vinters and others. The judges recognized her work as a co-author and advocate of important legislation modernising Ukraine’s main corporate entity — limited liability companies. Moreover, they mentioned her initiative – Aequo Legal Tech Challenge, a competition for innovations in legal business, and her intention to bring best practice to the Ukrainian legal and legal education systems.
According to the research, “Anna Babych has been on a mission to improve corporate governance in Ukraine. Seen as a leading specialist in mergers and acquisitions, she was instrumental in overhauling outdated laws hastily adopted in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. She helped draft a new law on limited and additional liability companies, which was adopted by parliament in February 2018. Welcomed by investors, the new legislation brings Ukraine into line with international standards for corporate governance and shareholder protections.”
“This award recognizes Anna’s and AEQUO team’s commitment to innovations and upgrade of legal profession so to meet the wow-standard, exceeding all expectations. Moreover, it is a big achievement for Ukrainian legal community being named among top international law firms pioneering innovations in Europe. Anna was named as a joint winner along with Alastair Morrison, Head of client strategy from Pinsent Masons. We are very proud or Anna and the team that worked on the projects led by her,” comments Denis Lysenko, managing partner, Aequo.
Being noted by the ranking for the 5th consecutive year, Aequo has been named among the Top 20 most innovative law firms in Europe, being honoured to compete with such giants as Arthur Cox, Cuatrecasas, Garrigues and others.
Even further, Aequo made it to the Top 10 shortlist of the most innovative law firms in Europe (outside the UK) for this year award.
Aequo was also commended in categories:
- Highly Commended in Dispute resolution for assisting NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, the largest oil and gas company in Ukraine, and its subsidiaries in prevailing on jurisdiction and liability issues at the first phase of international arbitration against the Russian Federation in a dispute over breach of the Ukraine-Russia bilateral investment treaty by expropriating the Naftogaz group’s assets in Crimea. Covington & Burling LLP acted as lead counsel for the Naftogaz group of companies on the matter. Naftogaz experts estimate the value of Naftogaz group’s assets as expropriated by Russia in Crimea at more than USD 5 billion plus interest. The litigation is ongoing due to appeals. The project was led by Pavlo Byelousov, Aequo’s partner, and Denis Lysenko, managing partner.
- Commended in Dispute Resolution for successful representation of Darnitsa pharmaceutical firm in Citramon trademark dispute. Supreme Court fully satisfied all claims of Darnitsa and prohibited manufacturing and sale of Citramon-Zdorovya medicine drug. The project was led by Oleksandr Mamunya, Aequo’s partner.
- Commended in Accessing New Markets and Capital for advising KfW and EBRD in connection with extension to OTP Leasing LLC, the leading Ukrainian leasing company, of the first subordinated loan to a non-banking institution in the amount equal to USD 17 million, and the first UAH-denominated loan in the amount equal to USD 20 million ever disbursed by EBRD. The financial solutions enabled OTPL to expand its leasing portfolio without taking foreign currency risks to develop the country’s agribusiness sector through making funding affordable for Ukraine’s smaller companies. The project was led by Yulia Kyrpa, Aequo’s partner.
- Commended in Strategy and Changing Behaviours for the 3-layer internal “Reinvent Yourself” programme, aiming at transformation from a new company on the market to one of TOP 5 established law firms in Ukraine. Different layers of the programme include, among other things, rethinking of brand philosophy and market positioning, client care review, organizational development and strengthening of innovation culture, and also launch of OKR (Objectives & Key Results) appraisal system, knowledge management system (KMS), AEQUO Friends outsourcing platform, Aequo Academy, introducing a Client Care Manual, Office Guide & Style Guide, and incorporating the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) principles into strategies, policies and procedures of the firm. The project was led by Anna Babych, Aequo’s partner.
Now in its fourteenth year of publication, the FT Innovative Lawyers Report has become one of the top legal rankings in Europe and the accompanying awards are widely regarded as the best researched in the market. It represents a unique analysis of the legal industry, assessing lawyers on their innovation both for clients and in their own businesses. Over the past decade, it has assessed legal innovation in over 50 different countries from over 500 unique law firms and over 550 company in-house legal departments.