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Bar at War: Fighting on Two Fronts  

When war comes, everyone can take up arms and become a warrior at their own professional front.

The Ukrainian Bar Association interviewed lawyers from different parts of Ukraine who decided to take up arms and join the army, lawyers who have a thirst for volunteering and defending the country in all possible ways.

Petro Polyak, Head of the UBA Branch in Chernivtsi Region, Senior Partner of “Polyak & Partners” Attorneys-at-Law, Chernivtsi

Organized a  volunteer hub

Petro co-organized a volunteer center that helps throughout Ukraine. This center processed more than 1,000 tons of food and hygiene products, things, and clothes from Europe.

We are still providing legal assistance. The first task is to save the company and keep jobs and salaries for employees, and the second is to serve clients and pay taxes.

I do not have a military profession, I am not an artilleryman or a tank operator, but I decided to do what I can and start with the organization of processes. I have never had a volunteering experience and never thought about it. Actually, the concept of a “volunteer” is a foreign one, the Ukrainian definition is “dobrovolets” (people of good will). We are true people of good will at the call of the heart! When I see in the photo reports the emotions of the people who received our help, it is so inspiring!

I do not want to live backwards, I want to live tomorrow. For this, you have to work, keep your spirits high, and do even more than what you did in everyday life. This mobilization must be both physical and spiritual.

Roman Tytykalo, Attorney, Partner at MORIS

An ordinary soldier, a volunteer of territorial defense, serves in the volunteer formation No 1 of the territorial community of Vasylkiv SKIF at the military unit A7301 (Kyiv region)

For me, the decision to go to the military registration and enlistment office and ask for weapons was obvious, and I didn’t think much about it, so I decided for myself that I would take my family to a safe place and return to Kyiv immediately. I had no military experience, did not serve in the army, and realized that I was not in the first or second mobilization reserve. I contacted my friends and learned that they were organizing the SKIF Territorial Defense Battalion, so I decided to join its work immediately. Since 2014, I have volunteered a lot and traveled to the East, so I know what war is.

As the fighting has shifted to the east and south, I am now working more on humanitarian issues for the affected regions and helping to equip our fighters who are joining the Armed Forces and going to the front. We work with volunteers from different countries and doctors.

Prior to that, I did not serve in the army nor was I trained any military profession. The only motivation is to defend the Motherland because it is obvious to me that this is an attack not only to eliminate the President of Ukraine but to destroy Ukraine as a state and Ukrainians as a nation.

Yaroslav Petrov, Partner at Asters

Volunteer, led a volunteer group for migrants at Asters

From the very beginning of the war, I contacted a large number of clients and colleagues from other countries with requests for donations to the Armed Forces, humanitarian aid, as well as opportunities for resettlement of our colleagues, their relatives, and clients abroad. Many foreign colleagues have expressed a desire to help with housing. They accommodated or helped with the search for free housing. In addition to working in the volunteer group at Asters, I coordinate the humanitarian initiative “Business Support” within the Lviv Regional Military Administration (LOVA). This group includes business representatives from various fields, and we process urgent requests from LOVA. Thanks to a large number of contacts abroad, I have the opportunity to spread these inquiries among clients and lawyers in other countries. And it is very nice that many colleagues abroad respond and help.

Oleksandr Kadiyevskyi, Head of the UBA Branch in Donetsk Region (2020-2021), Attorney, Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast

Volunteer in Donbas

Today I am at a place where I can be really useful and this is really important.

For me, the war has been going on for eight years, and my volunteer work started back in 2014 when I focused my work on protecting the rights of IDPs and combatants. All these years the main direction of my work has been the protection of the rights of migrants, servicemen of the Armed Forces, and welfare. However, the bombings of February 24, 2022, changed the lives of each of us, and now my work is focused on humanitarian aid to the military – ammunition, hygiene products, essentials, and food. Why is that? Because while our fighters cover our peace on the front line, we have to cover their needs in the rear. Over the last eight years, my life has brought me together with hundreds of servicemen who are still defending our Ukraine. Many of them have shifted from the category of “defenders” to friends, so I know firsthand about their urgent needs.

Thanks to the fact that I have colleagues and friends all over Ukraine, it was easy to build logistics with the cities of Western Ukraine and even easier to find like-minded people who are ready today to help those who need it. I am collecting needs and delivering humanitarian aid, organizing the evacuation of civilians to safer regions.

And, of course, I continue my primary work and provide legal assistance to those who were driven to a dead-end by the war. For the most part, this is legal aid for IDPs coming to Kramatorsk from other cities and residents of the Donetsk region.

Roman Chumak, Member of the Board of the UBA Branch in Kharkiv Region, Managing Partner at ARES

Volunteer in the charity organization DOLONKI-UA

The war radically changed my way of life, like most Ukrainians, I think. I am currently coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid from neighboring countries and the western regions of Ukraine and its distribution in Kharkiv and the region. For the most part, we provide medicines and medical equipment.

In the first days, I knew for sure that I would stay in Kharkiv. The desire to do something useful and help those who can not cope at this time alone became the main motivation. In the first days, my supervisor and I loaded sand and strengthened the regional state administration. Then I helped people get to the evacuation point. The desire to act was enormous, so I applied to the Red Cross. I did not receive any answers from them, so I soon joined the charity organization organized by my clients. Currently, I work with them in parallel and ensure the delivery of goods through personal contacts.

I see how community leaders and influencers now actively leading certain volunteer areas, and this is inspiring. Therefore, I am convinced that the Ukrainian Bar Association, with significant leadership potential, including in the regions, should also set a similar example for our community. I think that such stories should be highlighted because leadership is especially relevant at a critical time for the country. I am convinced that personal stories can inspire people around, help them not to panic, and find their own opportunities to be useful from the unlimited list of those available.

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