What made you want to become an attorney?
My dad is a judge who spent 30 years on the bench and introduced me to the legal profession. I knew the challenges of this job and the efforts it takes to be a lawyer. From him, I learned that while it is a demanding profession, you work with smart people, face challenges and resolve problems, which I enjoy.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?
A good lawyer should be both a lawyer and a psychologist. The ability to listen to people and address their concerns is necessary in the legal profession. I am a transactional attorney and I help clients sell and buy businesses. Very often, clients are selling what they built from the ground up and invested most of their life in, which can be very emotional. For example, there was a time when a client (a doctor selling his practice) came to the office the day after closing, as he had done every day for 40 years. He found all the locks had been changed by the buyer, whom he had trained over years and had promised that the door to the office would always be open for the seller.
In another circumstance, the opposing counsel demanded very extensive due diligence requests and the seller took these demands very personally thinking that the buyer did not trust him, which potentially could have ended the deal. It is imperative to remain on your client’s side, listen, explain, and answer every question or concern the client may have while walking them through the process.
What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?
Education has always been a passion of mine. Prior to starting my law practice, I obtained a degree in early education. I then started my law practice in the Ukraine after graduating from the top-ranked law school, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. In 2006, I moved to Ohio. In order to practice law in Ohio, I enrolled in Cleveland Marshall’s LL.M program and after graduating, passed the Ohio bar exam. I now have law degrees and can practice in two countries. I’m very proud of that!
What is the most valuable thing a lawyer can do for their clients?
Always think a step ahead. A lawyer should not just answer a question or resolve a problem, but also think and explain the consequences of such decision. A lot of legal problems can be avoided if addressed timely. A client may ask you to draft a simple operating agreement for two partners with equal ownership and rights. It can be simple until you start asking “what if” questions. What if the partners can’t agree on the management? What if one of the partners wants to retire first? What if one works more? Addressing such questions at the drafting stage helps to prevent a lot of issues in the future.
What is an interesting trend happening right now related to your field of practice?
I see a lot of acquisitions of smaller businesses (and often, professional practices) by big, sometimes multi-state players. COVID-19 accelerated this process but what is interesting is that the selling prices haven’t dropped substantially.
What is something that a lot of people don't know about you?
My first degree is in elementary education and I worked as a teacher for a few years.
What do you think your profession would be if you weren't a lawyer?
I would have probably continued to work with children or opened an animal shelter.
What is on your bucket list?
Obtain a tax LL.M. degree and run a half marathon.