Insight

Olga Prosyanyuk of Aver Lex on Her Criminal Defense Practice

Aver Lex won the 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for Criminal Defense in Ukraine.

Meet Viktor Yanukovych's Lawyer
BL

Best Lawyers

November 14, 2018 10:06 AM

Olga Prosyanyuk and her colleagues were among the only lawyers in Ukraine to interrogate its high-ranking politicians, in their defense of Viktor Yanukovych. Now, the attorney with the 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” winning Ukranian firm Aver Lex discusses her criminal defense practice with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer.

What inspired you to focus your expertise in criminal defense?

Our company was established as a legal boutique with a focus on criminal law in 2012. The choice of specialization was based on several factors. Firstly, the firm’s partners had an established track record of protection in criminal cases, along with a vision of the development of this practice within the company. And, notably, we already had a really strong team of criminal defense attorneys on board. At the time there was a lack of competition in this area on the market. Finally, I had an internal feeling about the upcoming growth of the criminal law practice and its formation into a separate fully-fledged service, independent of judicial practice. Not to mention, we had a strong will to be the best in this new field.

Did you have any mentors who helped shaped your career early on?

At the university, one of my mentors was a professor in the civil law department: Elena Kokhanovskaya. She was among those who instilled in me a burning interest in competing in the trial with worthy opponents. And you know what? During the defense of my thesis to obtain the degree of candidate of juridical sciences, there were also opponents—leading academic lawyers. And it was Elena who has acted as my opponent.

I'm always inspired by reaching the level of achievements of Natalia Kuznetsova. She’s one of the most respected scientists and prominent representative of the Ukrainian legal community. For me, she is an example of a professional, deeply in love with her work.

What is the story behind the founding of Aver Lex?

We established our firm together with my partner Vitaliy Serdyuk. This decision was conscious and carefully thought through. I remember how we chose our first office, designed it, but the company’s name still was not there. The whole team came up with ideas for the name. It’s popular to use the surnames of founders in a company’s name, but we wanted something very special, which reflected our values and goals. That’s how the name Aver Lex appeared: "The Law Is Above All!”

What achievements are you most proud of from this past year that led to Aver Lex being named a "Law Firm of the Year" for Criminal Defense?

Our main achievement is the realization of the goal set for the fifth anniversary of the company to become the leading highly specialized defense firm in Ukraine. As you may know, our team became a point of choice by many high ranked officials, politicians and businessmen. No wonder, these cases are usually very sensitive and often politically motivated. We are proud to lead cases which have no analogies in Ukraine.

Our team sustained absolutely unprecedented pressure during the defense of Viktor Yanukovych, ex-president of Ukraine. This is the most resonant case in the history of the Ukrainian judiciary. We are the only lawyers on the territory of Ukraine and other CIS countries who immediately interrogated several state officials straight on the air: three presidents of Ukraine, including the current president; two Prime Ministers; the current speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine; and a number of others.

Consequently, our professional rights were violated. This situation has been widely covered in Ukrainian and foreign media and initiated a professional discussion regarding the rights of attorneys in Ukraine. Responding to the strong support of the legal community, and professional and human rights organizations, we collected evidence of systematic violations of the professional rights of attorneys in Ukraine. We prepared a special report that was presented in September. During the preparation of the report I conducted several meetings, including with the deputies of the European Parliament, international human rights defenders and the representative of the special procedures section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who were notified of significant cases of pressure on Ukrainian lawyers and violations of their rights.

Overall, I think that our public position to defend our profession and to change the rules of the game in the country is the most important achievement of this past year.

Are there any other attorneys at your firm whom you would like to recognize who greatly assisted the firm in winning your major decisions?

Of course, our high achievements are the result of the dedicated work of the entire team. The team of lawyers in the sphere of politically motivated cases is headed by the senior partner Vitaliy Serdyuk and partner Igor Fedorenko. The Business Defense team is led by partner Artem Drozdov.

Is there anything else about this practice area or other groups that the firm is particularly proud of?

It’s very important for our team and me personally to contribute to the development of the legal profession in our country. Most recently I headed the advocacy group of attorneys’ rights protection. Together with the Ukrainian section of the International Society of Human Rights, we prepared a special report on the violation of attorneys’ rights in Ukraine. Its presentation took place in September.

I hope that we can attract attention to this problem and encourage attorneys not only to report on violations but also to use all existing instruments to preserve their rights on advocacy. In my opinion, attorneys play an exceptionally important role in our country on its path to reforms. The rights and guarantees for legal professionals are the fundamental principles in establishing access to justice.

Last year our company turned five years old. During these years we have managed to implement a ten-year development plan. For the future period, we set ourselves the main task—to maximize the criminal practice internationally.

Related Articles

The Company They Keep


by Best Lawyers

Thomas Richter discusses the idea of corporate criminal liability.

An Interview With HammPartner

How This Firm Is Shaping the Economic Future of Ukraine


by Best Lawyers

Denis Lysenko discusses how AEQUO has helped build a new business environment.

An Interview With AEQUO

An Interview With Bougartchev Moyne Associés


by Best Lawyers

France’s 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” honoree in Criminal Defense Law

An Interview With Bougartchev Moyne Associés

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

How Preventative Counsel Is Changing Criminal Defense


by Best Lawyers

Ayala Gómez discusses Oliva-Ayala's 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for criminal defense law in Spain.

Oliva-Ayala Spanish Interview

How AEQUO Is Embracing Legal Tech


by Best Lawyers

Anna Babych discusses AEQUO's 2019 Ukranian "Law Firm of the Year" award in Mergers & Acquisitions Law with Best Lawyers.

AEQUO "Law Firm of the Year" Interview

Staying Competitive in Competitions and Antitrust Law


by Best Lawyers

Igor Svechkar of Asters talks with Best lawyers about his firm's 2019 Antitrust "Law Firm of the Year" award for Ukraine.

Asters Q&A Law Firm of the Year

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

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Switzerland™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

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

Red flag with white cross

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Austria™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

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

Red and white stripes

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Italy™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

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

Green, white and red stripes

A Message From Best Lawyers Regarding Ukraine and Russia Listings


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is pausing all research efforts in Ukraine and Russia for 2023.

Ukraine and Russian Research Update

Breaking Down Criminal Conviction in Canada


by Best Lawyers

Statistics Canada’s annual breakdown of adult criminal court data provides an eye-opening review of how the country’s court system resolves its hundreds of thousands of cases annually.

Canada's Criminal Court Patterns Are Changing

Patrick A. Mullin, Esq. - Annual Report


by Patrick A. Mullin, Esq.

Veteran federal criminal defense attorney Patrick A. Mullin, Esq. provides an annual report of his victories in high-stakes criminal and tax matters.

Patrick A. Mullen Annual Report of Defense

Southern California “Lawyer of the Year”


by Best Lawyers

Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr. is honored as 2022 "Lawyer of the Year" in Criminal Defense: General Practice in Los Angeles.

 Southern California “Lawyer of the Year”

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™


by Best Lawyers

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

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™

Trending Articles

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Announcing The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from the United Kingdom.

The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom 2023

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Best Lawyers Honorees Behind the Litigation


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers takes a look at the recognized legal talent representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their ongoing defamation trial.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Announcing The Best Lawyers in France™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

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

Blue, white and red strips

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

Education by Trial: Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom


by Margo Pierce

The intricacies of complex lawsuits require extensive knowledge of the legal precedent. But they also demand a high level of skill in every discipline needed to succeed at trial, such as analyzing technical reports and deposing expert witnesses.

Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Belgium™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

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

Black, yellow and red stripes

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 2022 Best Lawyers™ in France


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in France

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

We Are Women, We Are Fearless


by Deborah S. Chang and Justin Smulison

Athea Trial Lawyers is a female owned and operated law firm specializing in civil litigation, catastrophic energy, wrongful death and product liability.

Athea Trial Law Female Leadership and Success

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany

U.K. Introduces Revisions to Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules


by Gregory Sirico

Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules in

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

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?

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?