About the firm
ART DE LEX is a national law firm providing legal advice and consultation to Russian and foreign companies. We offer a wide range of legal services to business, state-related entities, and private individuals. Working across the Russian Federation and around the world, we take an individual approach to each client and matter, with strict confidentiality, to deliver the optimal methods to address the most challenging legal issues. Moreover, we always stand by the quality of the services that we deliver.
We’ve assembled a firm of top-tier specialists, united by the ideals of our long-term collaboration in the consistent delivery of high-caliber professional services. We’re a strong, stable team of professional jurists and specialists in the field of economics and finance, formed over the course of the last 17 years. All of our partners and practice-area heads have recognized professional expertise and successful experience working in fields such as litigation and arbitration, restructuring and bankruptcy, antimonopoly regulation, international economic compliance, real estate and construction, business criminal law, distressed asset management, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, natural resources and energy, and banking law and finance.
The firm’s expertise and practical approach have been recognized and recommended by the leading foreign and Russian law-firm rankings directories: The Legal 500, Chambers Europe, Pravo-300, Best Lawyers, IFLR1000, Kommersant.
A broad network of foreign partners – including the leading law firms in the jurisdictions that are most relevant to Russian business interests – makes it possible to represent our clients’ diverse interests in multiple countries. The firm operates a specialized section offering legal support for South Korean investors doing business in Russia and Russian investors doing business in South Korea – the South Korea Desk. We’re also developing another international section – the Turkish Desk – to focus on the legal needs of the growing number of Turkish companies doing business in Russia and Russian companies doing business in Turkey.
Legal support for cultural and socially significant initiatives occupies an important place in the firm’s practice. In 2012, ART DE LEX helped to prevent the threatened loss of 20 cultural heritage sites of federal and local significance, including those recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. We provided legal support within the scope of a state program for the development and reconstruction of the Solovetsky Islands and the creation of the Solovetsky Monastery Foundation.
Areas of expertise
In Russia and around the worldAgainst the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the ruble is falling, oil prices are sliding, stock markets are crumbling, a global economic crisis has begun to unfold, and bad debt has started to grow at an alarming rate.
ART DE LEXHelping business to weather the crisis, the firm is developing new areas for the management of distressed assets. The new practice’s team is assisting clients in the preventive identification of risks, implementation of fraud-prevention systems, investigation of infractions, location and recovery of assets, and the corporate governance of troubled businesses. We also have developed a special model for the management of distressed assets, including the use of external financing.
In Russia and around the worldAfter eight years of construction, China opened the world’s longest bridge over the sea. The Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao bridge consists of a series of bridges and underwater tunnels crossing the Pearl River Delta. In Saudi Arabia, work wrapped up on construction of the largest infrastructure project in the Kingdom’s history, the Riyadh metro, encompassing 85 stations along 6 lines stretching a total distance of 176 km. The Russian government approved infrastructure projects at a total cost of RUB 6.3 trln, including the “Europe – Western China” and “Northern Sea Route” programs and the construction of airports and railways.
ART DE LEXThe Russian president opened the Kaliningrad Energy Hub, which included a regasification terminal on the Baltic Sea and underwater gas pipeline. ART DE LEX attorneys were the legal consultants to the general contractor for the construction of the facilities. That same year, Vladimir Putin launched the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, and the firm’s attorneys once again served as legal consultants in the construction of individual pipeline sections and related social infrastructure.
In Russia and around the worldOn 14 June through 15 July, Russia hosted the FIFA World Cup. Matches were held in 11 cities around the country. The title of world champion was claimed by the French national team, outplaying Croatia in the final. For the first time in its history, the Russian national team made it to the quarterfinals in the world championship.
ART DE LEXThe firm defended the interests of Global Ports, the largest container-terminal operator working in the Russian market. The case, alleging the setting of monopolistically-high prices for stevedore services, concluded with an amicable settlement being struck with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia and a 500-fold reduction in the originally-imposed fine: from RUB 7 bln to RUB 14 mln. That same year, the firm defended Korea’s leading producer of aviation equipment, Korea Aerospace Industries, against the collection of a steep monetary fine and a full ban on the sale of its aircraft on the external markets.
In Russia and around the worldAt the regularly-scheduled convention of the bar association in Moscow, amendments were approved to the Code of Professional Ethics, envisioning disciplinary responsibility for damage caused to the authority of the legal profession as embodied by the bar, including that arising outside the scope of professional activities. At the same time, attorneys were promised a monopoly on representation in the courts. In May, the Ministry of Justice unveiled a retooled draft Concept for the Regulation of the Legal Services Market.
ART DE LEXRussia passed the one-year mark under a new system of rules for passing the bar exam to earn the status of attorney. Under the innovations, testing was conducted in two phases. The first involved answering 70 test questions over the course of an hour. The second part of the exam was oral. Most of the jurists at ART DE LEX earned the status of attorney. Handling projects in the field of bankruptcy, ART DE LEX jurists formulated a practice envisioning the voiding of transactions concluded in the run up to bankruptcy.
In Russia and around the worldThe Central Bank revoked the licenses of 97 lending institutions, a record-breaking number. The next closest were the figures for 2015, when 93 such institutions lost the right to operate in the Russian banking market. In 2014, even fewer – 86 – and in 2013 just 32 banks had been stricken from the list of the “living” institutions. Each license revocation was accompanied by the appearance of different-sized “holes” (i.e., negative differences between the actual value of assets and the amount of liabilities to creditors and depositors) on the balance sheets of troubled banks. The Central Bank developed and introduced a new bailout mechanism.
ART DE LEXAccumulated experience and expertise made it possible to form two new practice areas: banking & finance, and bankruptcy. The firm became the main legal consultant in the bailout of the country’s largest retail bank, Investtorgbank. The volume of state-assistance funds exceeded RUB 72 bln, and the bailout was characterized by banking experts as one of the most effective procedures of its kind.
In Russia and around the worldThe qualms of investors and business in the outgoing year were associated with the latest round of sanctions against Russia. As Western governments ramped up the pressure, Russia made a historic pivot to the East. Russia and China proceeded the with building the Power of Siberia trans-Asiatic pipeline, to support plans for industrializing the economy and exports of the Russian Far East.
ART DE LEXThe firm consulted to the Russian Federal Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East concerning the drafting and adoption of the federal law “On Areas of Priority Economic Development.” We advised a major player in the wholesale electricity market about the conclusion of a deal with VTB. We also worked successfully against longstanding collusion in the market for deicing agents, which led to an exponential growth in their availability on the streets of Moscow. The firm advocated for the interests of Rosatom veterans organizations, assisted in restoration of the benefits rights of tens of thousands of people (such as to the receipt of pension increases and labor-veteran benefits). The firm’s attorneys participated in the drafting of the federal law “On the Free Port of Vladivostok.”
In Russia and around the worldThe USA, opposed to Russia’s actions in response to the Ukrainian crisis, imposed sanctions against prominent Russian politicians. Among other things, the restrictions banned their entry to the USA and froze their assets and property. The sanctions regime against Russia was subsequently supported by the EU. Throughout 2014, freezing sanctions were imposed against Russian citizens and companies, sectoral sanctions were introduced against the oil-and-gas, financial, and defense sectors, and more sanctions were levied against the export/import of goods from Crimea.
ART DE LEXART DE LEX formed its international economic compliance practice, headed by managing partner Dmitry Magonya. The practice posted its first results, concluding the precedent-setting sanctions-themed case of “TKB v. notary Kuznetsov.” That same year, the firm participated in preparations for the inaugural Eastern Economic Forum and joined the Korea International Trade Association in publishing the book Doing Business in Russia in English and Korean. The firm consulted to Daelim Corporation about the structuring of a joint venture with OMZ for the implementation of EPC-projects in the field of oil-and-gas refining.
In Russia and around the worldSeoul was the host city of the Russia-South Korea bilateral summit, during which an agreement was signed on the introduction of a visa-waiver program between the countries. Vladimir Putin brought a series of proposals with him to South Korea for a number of sweeping economic projects, such as the resurrection of the Trans-Korean Railway, support for the development of the Russian Far East, and the development of the Northern Sea Route.
ART DE LEXART DE LEX, acting in the interests of Sberbank, handled dozens of lawsuits and ultimately wrested control over the largest retailer in Siberia. The firm opened its natural resources and energy practice in response to emerging conflicts among the main players in the wholesale electricity market. The South Korea Desk was formed and launched. The firm represented the interests of Samsung Construction, the general contractor in the construction of the Gazprom headquarters (Lakhta Center). The firm’s earnings topped RUB 250 mln.
In Russia and around the worldCorporate social responsibility emerged as one of the priority thrusts of many companies throughout the world. VimpelCom PJSC launched a new project, entitled “Getting Lost But Not Saying Lost,” designed to raise awareness of the importance of the volunteer social mission “Liza Alert,” an organization dedicated to finding the lost. Severstal developed and launched a number of charitable programs: “Children and the Future,” “Education,” and “Culture and Art.” Nornikel supported the charitable program “World of New Possibilities.”
ART DE LEXThe firm continued to develop its corporate culture: building trusting and respectful relationships inside the firm; valuing professional skills; and tending to the personal growth of each and every associate. The firm actively embraced and performed the role of a socially responsible business, participating, for example, in the recovery of population centers in the Nizhny Novgorod Region that were scorched by the summer fires. The recovery efforts bore swift results – in just three months! The firm assumed the legal management of the fire-related restoration work. That same year, ART DE LEX won the “Best Social Projects” award, in the category of “Support for Education and Culture,” organized by Legal Success magazine.
In Russia and around the worldHaving recovered from the financial crisis, Moscow finally reclaimed its honorary tile as the city with the most billionaires in the world. According to estimates by Forbes magazine, the city was home to 79 of them, while New York tallied a mere 58. The combined wealth of the richest Muscovites was estimated at USD 375 bln.
ART DE LEXThe firm made its debut in Russia’s Pravo-300 law-firm rankings, where it posted stellar results. The firm launched its antimonopoly practice, which would go on to become one of the most advanced in the Russian legal services market. The firm closed a deal involving the sale of a blocking stake in one of the country’s largest construction companies (business media estimated the deal at USD 1 bln), handled a series of investment transactions involving the construction of office centers in Berlin, and closed another deal involving the sale of the country’s largest pension fund.
In Russia and around the worldThe economic situation began to stabilize, and GDP recovered to post a 4.5% growth. Investments were up by 6%. Industrial output expanded by 8% – the best growth indicator in a decade.
ART DE LEXCorporate earnings topped RUB 100 mln for the first time. The firm successfully handled a number of complex and major transactions involving the acquisition of real estate, including the purchase of an A-class business center in Moscow from the largest foreign investment fund operating in Russia. The period also saw the implementation of projects involving the development of whole city areas, subsequently accommodating the erection of more than 1 mln m2 in residential space.
In Russia and around the worldThe closing of the legendary Cherkizovsky market, “responsible” for the high-profile bankruptcy of its owner, the ultra-wealthy businessman Telman Ismailov, could rightly be called the symbol of 2009. The year was accompanied by developer “fever”: Kirill Pisarev and Yury Zhukov gave up PIK to Suleiman Kerimov’s Nafta-Moskva for a symbolic fee; and VTB picked up Sistema-Gals from Sistema and Don-Story from Dmitry Zelenov and Maxim Blazhko. Anti-crisis programs emerged as “the light at the end of the crisis tunnel.”
ART DE LEXThe economic crisis spurred a growth in court filings, particularly in the area of bankruptcy. Helping its clients to weather the crisis, the firm developed its bankruptcy and litigation practices. At the same time, infrastructure projects remained in focus. In 2009, the firm successfully handled a number of major projects involving the construction of interchanges on the Moscow Ring Road and outbound routes, which would go on to become main transport junctions facilitating the partial decongestion of federal highways.
In Russia and around the worldThe global financial crisis reached Russia, leading to the ruble’s depreciation. The government earmarked RUB 950 bln for the capital replenishment of the banks.
ART DE LEXUnder the “emergency conditions” of October 2008, three weeks before the height of the global financial crisis, the firm successfully closed a client’s deal with the world giant Magna International, involving the acquisition of an auto part manufacturing plant in Russia for more than EUR 30 mln.
In Russia and around the world“Moscow wasn’t built in a day.” In 2007, the real estate market began to stagnate after the record-breaking price spikes of 2005-2006. The year 2007 saw the completion of some construction projects that went on to become “calling cards” for both Moscow and all of Russia: completion of the third (and tallest) Naberezhnaya Tower at the Moscow World Trade Center; and the completion of Zhivopisny (Picturesque) Bridge, one of the largest cable-stayed bridges in the world. Work wrapped up on the reconstruction of Tsarytsino, earning the title of Russia’s longest-running construction project (lasting 232 years). At the year’s end, work commenced on the construction of the Olympic Park in Sochi, which would go on to transform that resort city’s skyline.
ART DE LEXThe activity of players in a real estate market undergoing widespread simultaneous stagnation across several subsectors began to drive the construction business to legal consultants. This general trend spurred growth in the number of real estate and construction clients and led to the formation of a new practice area with special competencies to meet the sector’s needs. The practice was headed by Evgeny Arbuzov.
In Russia and around the worldThe year 2006 is remembered for the rapid development of projects in the IT field. That same year, Russian developers created and implemented two groundbreaking projects virtually at once: In March, Albert Popkov launched “Odnoklassniki,” and in October, Pavel Durov launched the social network “V Kontakte.”
ART DE LEXThe firm made its virtual debut. In 2006, the firm developed and launched its first website. Information technologies were actively integrated into all of the firm’s internal processes. These included Project Mate, which made the work of attorneys transparent and clear to the client, automatically generating reports on time spent and project status. Now, attorneys could focus solely on their professional activities. A modern back-office appeared, and a VHI program was launched.
In Russia and around the worldIn 2005, we witnessed the launch of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, which is a unique institution created to advance civil society and legal awareness. Its main areas of activity include public due diligence on draft legislation, public hearings, roundtables, and many other public events. The Civic Chamber’s Annual Report is published every December, detailing the status of civil society in the Russian Federation.
ART DE LEXDmitry Magonya was joined by likeminded colleagues to create the nonprofit partnership ART DE LEX. The firm’s workforce stood at 10 people, most of them attorneys from the corporate finance department at a leading international investment bank. The firm had two practice areas: dispute resolution and corporate law.
The professional competencies of ART DE LEX have been repeatedly confirmed by leading foreign and Russian ratings of law firms.