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Personal constitution of Yuliy Tay

10 January 2018
Author: Yuliy Tay
Mass media: Corporate lawyer

Our law firm is MSU’s own flesh and blood. It was created before me, by three my comrades — also graduates of Moscow State University, who studied a year older — Dmitry Provodin, Ilya Peregudov and Alexey Basistov. In 2001, I joined as a managing partner. I was the only attorney; they all worked in the real sector.

No one sets up firms the way we did with Bartolius anymore. Now there is a lot of competition, one needs to be brainy, experienced. And then there was a scorched field and nothing else. Old lawyers did not know  new legislation, were not ready for quick changes. A new generation was just forming. We were young, smart, ambitious and handled cases that amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars. It was about bankruptcies and corporate conflicts.

I can’t explain now the level of insanity our clients had when they entrusted such cases to twenty-year-old kiddos. It is weird, but that’s the way it was. We knew the new Civil Code, the new law on JSCs. We had a very flexible mind and, most importantly, we were completely fearless.

We were not afraid of either physical violence or defeat in court. We were driven in armored vehicles, guarded by people with machine guns, we were constantly threatened. But we had absolutely nothing to lose. We had no wives, no children. At that time, we had nothing at all, so we were ready for anything. We worked without insurance. Moved throughout Russia. It was 7-10 flights a week. It was work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Everyone who decided to create something of their own worked like that back then.

A good lawyer studies case law, and the best one creates it. I came up with this phrase for our site. So at that time we set precedents, gained experience. We were young, but experienced, were attracted to the writing of some laws, to the formation of legal positions.

Our unique product is victory. Our strong point is bankruptcy and corporate practices. Bankruptcy covers all sectors; this requires a wide range of knowledge.
But, of course, there are specializations, professional interests: criminal law, real estate. We had a large tax litigation block. This was before tax liberalism turned into tax genocide. It is clear that the purpose of taxes is to fill the state budget, but then this was achieved not by any means. In the early 2000s there was real tax law, when if you are really right, you won the case in the court. This good period is over, tax cases became more time-consuming, clients are less likely to apply to the court, and as a result, the practice has automatically became smaller, but remains strong.
We have 40-60 court hearings per week. These are thousands of hearings a year. We are not doing anything else. Usually people come to us when they lost all instances, or dozens of our colleagues refused, saying that there are no options. We are looking for «out of the box» solutions, we come up with something that others have not thought of, we use evidence in a way that no one imagined to use. We take on dead-end roads and find ways out.

As far as I know, no other law office has such an extensive practice in the Supreme Court. During the three years the Chamber for Commercial Disputes exists, we already had 16 cases.
All partners make every possible effort so as not to grow in number. But anyway, we are still growing. Now we have more than 40 lawyers and an office of more than 70 people. New projects are constantly appearing that you can’t help but tackle.

We never searched for new lawyers. We just met people we wanted to work with and invited them. It could be an opponent in court, a tough lawyer in the region, or just a talented student.
I am talking about practices, but we do not have a hard division. All lawyers are subordinate to all partners, we form teams for the project. They have already worked out naturally, and I can tell you exactly who is comfortable working together. I always want to achieve synergy: one is good at writing texts, the other performs in court well, the third is creative.

Lawyers are smart, ambitious people. They are difficult to manage. But I have a favorite phrase from Bulgakov: “How did you, Philip Filippovich, manage to lure such a nervous dog? “Caress, Caress.” To paraphrase, I can say that one can work with charismatics only with sympathy, respect, recognition of their work, thoughts, and advice.
I sincerely appreciate those who I work with. Truly, without these manager lotions. And they respect me in return.

I have a habit of having dinner or lunch with colleagues. Or just have a cup of coffee or take a walk. I do not do this to find out something about their personal life. It is important for me to understand how they feel, how they live, what worries them. I know when my employees are in pain, when they have trouble, or, conversely, joy.
We protect employees from many problems. Confrontation with the state, some domestic difficulties, financial affairs. Fortunately, partners have an extended range of social opportunities. We can do with one call what nobody can do. And these calls are made if they are for the sake of our person.

Our lawyers never bring clients. But we motivate them financially so that they are satisfied. All bonuses are projectable. If we have success under the project, all lawyers get their share. When there are specified percentages in rigid structures, confrontations may arise. Many may be underperform, thinking that I have 3 percent while he has 20, so let him work. A person begins to think not about the result, but about the numbers, and we form a team.

Allegorically, all types of companies are divided into two types: coconut and peach. A classic example of peach are realtors. Outwardly, tenderness itself, and closer to their essence become solid. A peach has a seed inside. Between themselves they try to outwit, take away the client. Our bureau at the front is at war with everyone, we are in constant confrontation, our life is a conflict. And then with our clients we are softer, with our friends and colleagues even softer, and inside the bureau, our milk is simple. Nougat and tenderness.

I am not a manager. I am a professional in attorney. Only life teaches me how to manage. I act intuitively. Therefore, I am not offended if someone says that I am a bad manager. It is much worse if someone says that I am a bad person.

We fire people when they lose motivation. But in almost 20 years – only few people were fired. And almost all of them were hired in other places with my help. We did not say goodbye because they are unprofessional. They just lost energy, drive to work in Bartolius. Everything is tough, constant war, mixfight. Here you need to have some special energy. It’s not bad, not good, it’s just supercharged.

We have the concept of mortal sins. It is not to come to the process, fail to take a power of attorney with you, which, in essence, is the same thing, and betray the interests of the client. Not literally go to the other side, but let him down. Everything else may be cured.

I still live in the courts, and all of our partners do, too. I know that in many other firms the partners have not been in court for ages. When colleagues see that I’m in the field with them, we are sitting in the same trench and shooting back, it inspires respect. And at the same time, I see the strong suits of each employee, and their weaknesses. No one is strong in everything. We do not have a marketing strategy. Our spokesperson has appeared recently. We are constantly suing, we do not have time to advertise ourselves. If a person came to us, then he reliably knows who we are and what we can do. We use this only in terms of price: we deal with fewer cases for a large amount of money.


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