An Interview With Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

Russia's 2020 "Law Firm of the Year" in Arbitration & Mediation Law

An Interview With Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

October 8, 2019 11:00 AM

For Evgeny Raschevsky of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners–Russia’s 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” winner in Arbitration & Mediation–the changing landscape of global trade, international arbitration, and emerging technology startups has put their extensive worldwide knowledge to the test. In an interview with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer, Raschevsky discusses how the firm’s working relationships allow them to adapt to different arbitration venues, the complexities of cross-border trade, and how dispute resolution is rapidly shifting.

Best Lawyers: Your firm's dispute resolution practice has been lauded as one of the top in Russia and in the world, including your recognition as “Law Firm of the Year” for Arbitration and Mediation by our firm, Best Lawyers. Can you discuss the challenge of maintaining the complex understanding of a variety of international arbitration rules and regulations?

Evgeny Raschevsky: First of all, we try to keep a deep expert understanding of the most popular arbitration venues and rules among Russian clients or consumers. That would be the Court of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce ), LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration) Stockholm, sometimes Swiss rules, now, more frequently, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Also, there are certainly several Russian arbitral institutions, some of them established recently, some of them working since many years ago, whose rules we do apply .

If jurisdiction where arbitration takes place using UNCITRAL model law as arbitration law, we can easily identify key issues and procedures because the Russian law is also based on the UNCITRAL trial model law. If, however, the situation is different and for instance, like in the U.K. or in India, there is a unique arbitration act, we either rely upon our own legal expertise, or on prominent local counsel. We have U.K. qualified lawyers, and we have French qualified lawyers in our team, and we have U.S. qualified lawyers.

We are unique among Russian law firms having all variety of legal cultures and specialists. We have an Austrian partner in Moscow and, of course, we have offices which help us to build up this expertise. Also, we rely upon local counsel, if it's some unique, niche expertise, in say India or Hong Kong, for example. But, of course it's a challenge and we understand that arbitration or dispute resolution lives not only in books or legal databases but in living legal practice and knowing local specialists: Knowing who are local adjudicators, who are the most preferred and popular arbitrators, who are the judges who handle Russia-related disputes most frequently and then closely follow the judgment, the decisions, and the developments of legal practice to be up to the top and to the speed of various developments.

Expanding upon that, how does your firm stay agile against competitors such as lawyers in the U.K., U.S. and, France?

ER: I think we hold quite a unique position because we have started building out of the firm more than 25 years ago. We started to build it up from the beginning, focusing on international legal services standards and best practices in the U.K. and U.S., and this helps us to compete successfully against international law firms who are our main competitors in international dispute resolution and who are all present in Moscow. We do invest in people—we invest quite a lot. We bring up our own people and most of our partners, counsels, and senior lawyers, including those who have dual qualifications in Russian and foreign jurisdictions. They were grown up in our firm and some of them leave sometimes or move to different positions, which helps us to keep up a network of people, former alumni, who are all around and who we can cooperate with in different areas.

Also, we rely upon long-term cooperation with our best friends. We don't have any exclusive partnership or cooperation in any jurisdiction. We normally rely upon the best people in their practice areas in each country, whether it be dispute resolution or corporate. Through the years, we handled many successful contentious matters with the best representatives of dispute resolution teams all over the world, in Europe, in U.K., in Asia, and in the U.S., of course. This is the philosophy of the firm, picking out best people. If our cooperation proves to be fruitful, we recommend them for future projects. In this case, I would say we are quite conservative in good sense, meaning that, if our cooperation brings good results for the clients, we try to stick to it and develop it and develop expertise with our best friends in various countries.

Cross-border trade continues to grow and expand becoming more complex every year. Can you talk about the increased importance international arbitration takes on with this expansion?

ER: Cross-border disputes wouldn't be able to survive without arbitration, because arbitration is neutral. We made a study last fall among our clients, among Russian general counsels, and law firm practitioners on their preferences of dispute resolution. We found that there is a growing tendency and popularity of Singapore and classical arbitration forums like LCIA and Stockholm that are still very popular. There is a slight decline of popularity of the ICC, but overall, arbitration is the preferred method of Russian producers or traders when they have to sign an international transaction with foreign counterparties, and I don't see any alternatives.

There are few examples when international disputes are sent to the High Court of Justice in London for adjudication, but I would say that mostly this concerns shareholder disputes governed by English law where there is a long, long running relationship which needs to be changed or transformed. But, we need to keep in mind that a High Court of Justice through the last, I would say, 20 years, played quite a unique role as adjudicator of Russia related commercial disputes, on parallel with the arbitration institutions, which I mentioned.

Are there any other significant changes in policy you think would be important in shaping the firm's approach to international dispute resolution?

ER: I would, of course, keep my eye on the various measures of local protectionism in development like what can arise from Brexit, for example, or U.S./China trade negotiations. We have to keep our eye on developments of sanction regimes in various countries, which are a reality of our times.

On the other hand, we have these unique 21st century business startups and opportunities like cryptocurrencies, for instance, which also shape the environment of dispute resolution markets. The development of modern technology will inevitably change the dispute resolution scenery quite substantially, I think, in the near future.

Related Articles

Destiny Fulfilled

by Sara Collin

Was Angela Reddock-Wright destined to become a lawyer? It sure seems that way. Yet her path was circuitous. This accomplished employment attorney, turned mediator, arbitrator and ADR specialist nonpareil discusses her career, the role of attorneys in society, the new world of post-pandemic work and why new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson represents the future.

Interview with Lawyer Angela Reddock-Wright

Road to Somewhere

by Mark LeHocky

How can attorneys take steps to improve settlement efforts and avoid unpleasant surprises as they map out a dispute resolution? One litigator-turned-general counsel-turned mediator (with some help from a distinguished rock star) points the way forward.

Improved Dispute Resolution Settlement

It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas

by Best Lawyers

Michael Polkinghorne discusses why arbitration or mediation is a better option.

An Interview With White & Case LLP

How to Advise Clients in International Arbitration and Mediation

by Best Lawyers

Karl Pörnbacher discusses how his firm stays at the forefront of advising clients.

An Interview With Hogan Lovells

The Great Debate: Do You Arbitrate Commercial Disputes?

by David K. Taylor

In a civil case, is it wiser for a business to try to persuade the counterparty to agree from the outset to arbitration—or potentially to place its very solvency in the unpredictable hands of a judge and jury?

Hand moving multicolor blocks

Measuring Success by Results

by John Fields

Recognized Best Lawyers®* recipient Joseph F. Brophy on how his Firm determines success.

Measuring Firm Success

Racial Discrimination Suit Against NFL May End in Arbitration

by John Ettorre

A former Miami Dolphins head coach is up against the NLF in a discrimination case that is on a path to arbitration; the NFL remains focused on equality for their diverse coaching staff.

Arbitrating Discrimination Suit Against NFL

Meeting Halfway

by Julia B. Meister

To resolve family and business disputes including wills, trusts, estates and more, mediation is often a more effective, gentler and cheaper option than litigation.

Mediation to Resolve Wills, Trusts, Estates

Tales From the Crypto

by Gregory Sirico

The economic turmoil of COVID-19 has given cryptocurrency its moment in the spotlight. But are we, and more importantly our banks, ready for it?

Cryptocurrency on the Rise During COVID-19

Russian Rubles are Going Digital

by Rebecca Blackwell

Russia is moving toward the ever-expanding trend of digital currency.

Russian Rubles are Going Digital

Without Delay

by Ashish Mahendru and Darren Braun

Remote testimony? Virtual evidence presentation? Been there, done that: Why even international arbitration proceedings have, for the most part, weathered the pandemic just fine.

People talking in a conference room

An Interview With Latham & Watkins

by Best Lawyers

Germany's 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” honoree in Banking and Finance Law

An Interview With Latham & Watkins

Options for a Wrongfully Dismissed Employee

by Stacey Reginald Ball

Mediation, Negotiation, Lawsuit

Options for a Wrongfully Dismissed Employee

An Interview With Sayenko Kharenko

by Best Lawyers

Ukraine's 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” winner in Capital Markets Law

An Interview With Sayenko Kharenko

Why Stablecoins Will Be Regulated

by Mladen Milovic

In Order To See Adoption, Stablecoins Must Clear These Hurdles

Why Stablecoins Will Be Regulated

An Interview With Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

by Best Lawyers

Russia’s 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” honoree for Real Estate Law

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner–LFOTY

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees

by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

Could Reign Supreme End with the Queen?

by Sara Collin

Canada is revisiting the notion of abolishing the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, but many Canadians and lawmakers are questioning if Canada could, should and would follow through.

Teacup on saucer over image of Queen's eye


2022: Another Banner Year

by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some

by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees

by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers

by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom

by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Thirteen Years of Excellence

by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

The Upcycle Conundrum

by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect

by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests

by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes