Denys Bugay is an attorney-at-law, co-founder of VB PARTNERS. His core specializations are as follows: White-Collar Crime, GR and dispute resolution. But first of all, he is known to the legal market as the President of Ukrainian Bar Association, an all-Ukrainian public organization that brings together over seven thousand lawyers and for his social activism. Today, Denys Bugay shares his rules of life with the readers of Ukrainian Lawyer Magazine.

Studying at military lyceum taught me, first and foremost, to the discipline, subordination, system of execution of instructions. A specific skill is management. I was a sergeant and supervised peers, which is a lot more complicated than managing subordinates at work.

Legal market reputation is a guaranteed 20% increase in your fees. These are the victories at tenders and ability to hire the best team members. Reputation is a key argument to move upwards in rankings. Its absence is a loss of value added.

If I were President of Ukraine, I would not have signed Bill No. 1008, which actually destroys the Supreme Court. I would not listen to the security officials who say that in order to combat corruption and crime, the right to defense should be restricted.

Sometimes, to move things forward it is enough to do something. To write a letter, read a book, make a phone call… The main thing is to act. It is not enough to just dream and plan.

For me, the Bar Association is a big part of my life, both professional and personal. Association provides an opportunity for your professional growth and realization of your potential and at the same time promotes a great number of personal acquaintances. We started out as a legal business organization. Today we are an institution, a community that influences key legal processes in the country.

Among contemporary Ukrainian writers, I was struck by Serhii Plohii with his book “The Gate of Europe.” Serhii Plohii is a renowned Ukrainian professor at Harvard. His book is more than about the history of the country, it is about what we are, what our values ​​are, where our political culture is from, what our “national code” is. I bought a dozen of these books and I give to every acquaintance.

I always considered martial arts the best sport. Sport is an important part of my life. I was professionally involved in wrestling, when I attended military lyceum and university. Now I am happy to do boxing.

All will be well, if you do not run away from life’s circumstances. Meet the difficulties with an open helmet. You will always find the truth in struggle.

Civil society has changed. It has become more professional, structured and systematic. Society has learned to press on government authorities and create professional associations. It is kind of cool that the Office of the President of Ukraine has become a worthy and significant element of the country’s civil movement.

To build a successful legal business, you need to answer three simple yet complex questions. First, who are you and what is your uniqueness? Second, what is your product? What do you offer to the market and potential customer? Last – who is your client, who is your target audience? Who is the consumer of your product? The answers should be very clear and straightforward. Lack of focus is an obstacle to success.

My biggest problem with the world today is that the discussions, including related to important ethical issues, prevail over real things and achievements. Liberalism and democracy are in crisis. They are being replaced by populism. We need to get back to the Thatcher and Reagan level strategy.

We, as the Ukrainian lawyers, should struggle to have an independent court. Judge independence is more important than his/her professionalism. The second front of the fight is the right to defense in the broad sense of the word. The mentality of law enforcement and justice still lives in post-Soviet society.

I learned a lesson well from childhood – I have to defend my positions and interests, even if sometimes I have to fight.

Try to avoid the actions, which go beyond the point of no return. One wrong step – and you will lose a friend or partner for life.

I wanted more time in my life for family, friends, sports and hobbies.