— Why did you decide to become lawyers? How has your legal career been evolving? How and when did you start working together?
Anastasia Astashkevich: When studying in school, I decided to study foreign languages, that's why I've entered Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages. In addition to linguistic education I decided to get another one. I chose to go for a degree in either economics or in law. Despite an aptitude for mathematics, the field of law appeared closer and more interesting to me. Thus, I graduated from the institute with two diplomas — one of a interpretor and one of a lawyer with fluent English, French, Spanish, Italian and German languages. I graduated from the Law faculty with an honours degree.
On my third year a the University I already started working as a lawyer in "Pipe trading house" company, later on I had a job of a corporate lawyer in "Gaztaged" company, and on my fifth year I moved to "Pipe innovation technologies". In the course of 10 years in that company, I ran gamut from a Legal Counsel to a Director General Legal Advisor. While working for "Pipe innovation technologies", I met Olga, who was invited to represent the interests of the company as an attorney.
During my maternity leave I received LLM degree in Liverpool (I had two specialties — Money Laundering Regulations and Competition Policy, Antimonopoly Law) and MBA degree in Moscow. I've also written a Candidate's dissertation, which I plan to defend in the nearest future. I wanted to broaden my professional expertise and had plans to pass the bar exam. It was interesting and difficult time: three days a week I worked as a corporate lawyer for "Pipe innovations technologies", and two days - as a trainee attorney with Leonid Samoylovich Heifets. After I successfully passed the bar exam to the Moscow Region Chamber of Attorneys, I left "Pipe innovations technologies", and for about a year worked as the Head of International Law Practice of "Chadaev, Heifets and Partners" Attoneys at Law.
Olga Suvorova: Unlike Anastasia, I've always wanted to become an attonney. Before I became a lawyer, I had graduated from the Economics Faculty of the Institute of Economics, Management and Politology. Then for several years I worked in an auditing company, in which I started as an auditor's assistant. Later on, after studying at Moscow State Academy of Law University, I worked as a legal and financial expert. I completed an internship at an Attoneys at Law. In 2008 I passed the bar exam to the Moscow Region Chamber of Attorneys. I worked for several well-known Attoneys at Law: "Mirzoev and Partners", "Ivanichenko and Partners" and others. Later on I joined "Pipe innovation technologies", where Anastasia and I met. I went to work in that company at invitation of the Company's Director General as his personal attorney. I consulted not only on antimonopoly inspections, but also handled other private cases both in Russia and abroad.
— Why did you decide to join your efforts in the Bureau of Attorneys "Astashkevich and Partners"?
Anastasia Astashkevich: In most cases founders of legal startups start joint business because they are friends or have known each other since studentship. In our case it's the other way around: first we started as colleagues, and then we became friends. In "Pipe innovations technologies" we worked as a team for several years running many projects together. After I became an attorney, not only our cooperation continued, but also the number of our common projects increased.
I had the idea of starting my own practice for a very long time - even before I passed the bar exam. I wanted to create a dynamic, innovative project corresponding to modern trends and challenges. But of course I never set any exact timeframes back then. It's just the way the circumstances unfolded. It was never a question of whether or not we should be working together - for several years our joint efforts were yielding great results.
Olga Suvorova: It is comfortable and interesting to work together, we sincerely care about our clients and believe that every matter should be seen through. We deal with major and complex cases, which no attorney should handle on its own, as the responsibility is too big. When we work with Anastasia, the responsibility is split in half. That's why we're starting a Bureau of Attorneys and not Attorneys at Law. In the latter everybody works for himself, while the Bureau stipulates teamwork.
— How many lawyers do you have? Which areas are the main?
Anastasia Astashkevich: Currently we have five lawyers, one legal mediator, two assistants and one trainee. I run the day-to-day management, while decisions on important matters Olga and I make together. We have several areas of main focus: litigation and international arbitration, taxes, antitrust law, criminal and legal defense of business. The other important aspect of our work lies in consulting private clients on protection of honor and dignity, business reputation, inheritance and structuring of assets abroad, complex family disputes and cross-border separation of property. As for the work with foreign elements, we either handle it on our own, or engage colleagues from Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany.
Olga Suvorova:We've been dealing with matters of competition law since the foundation of FAS, we take part in working groups, strive to establish a dialogue between businesses and antimonopoly service, among other things through organizing meetings, requesting explanations and so on.
— What distinguishes you from your colleagues?
Anastasia Astashkevich: Collective experience in in-house, traditional advocacy and legal consulting, as well as experience in consulting Russian and foreign clients on managing business operations and structuring assets both in domestic and foreign jurisdictions. We often hold meetings with our principals not only in Moscow, but also in Great Britain and in Switzerland, which is convenient for principals living in Europe. We have an office in London, and in future we will likely be expanding. We plan to establish branches in Central Europe, as well as in Asia and Latin America, but these are long-term perspectives. Though for about a year I am intensely learning Chinese language. I think it will be useful for me.
Olga Suvorova: Our strong point is our ability to develop the strategy of the project and at the same time to foresee a maximum number of possible scenarios as to how the situation may unfold. How to win the dispute, without brining it to court, how to make provisions for every possible risk, how to bring projects to a logical conclusion. We are not afraid of complex and tangled cases. Thanks to our experience in a major engineering company, we are able to consult clients from highly specific industries — metallurgy, oil-and-gas industry, manufacturing, aviation. We have also worked with construction and pharmaceutical companies, banks, security companies.