Scaling as an international startup is no small feat. It helps to have an ally who knows the landscape and won’t back down from a challenge.
Svetlana Kamyshanskaya, founder of Primum Law Group, is an immigrant who chased down the American dream. Her experience, personal touch, and determination are helping other international entrepreneurs do the same.
“I offer unique value to international startups,” she says. “I appreciate the cultural differences behind cross-border transactions, and I understand the decision-making process in legal systems around the world.
Practicing international law
Kamyshanskaya started her legal career 20 years ago, but she found her passion for law much earlier. As a third-generation lawyer, she proudly follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, who practiced law before her in Russia.
In 2006, Kamyshanskaya visited the United States to participate in a training program organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives in San Francisco and financed by the US State Department. She describes that experience as nothing less than life-changing. “The program introduced me to the US legal system, but it also introduced me to the concepts of diversity and equality,” she reflects. “Those ideas did not exist in Russia. For example, the law school I attended had a 10% cap on female students.”
While in San Francisco, Kamyshanskaya met her first international client, a businessman looking for legal counsel in Sochi. Soon after, Sochi was chosen as the home of the 2014 Olympic games, bringing a flood of international clients and companies to her doorstep. Her legal career expanded as she gained experience supporting both local businesses and foreign companies with projects in Russia.
Because Kamyshanskaya was involved in international business, she decided to obtain another degree in the United States. At Berkley Law School, she earned a Master’s in business law.
In the US, Kamyshanskaya took a position at a business consulting firm. As managing partner, she reviewed businesses’ potential for entering the US market and assisted with their entry strategies. She conducted risk assessments of commercial transactions, identified potential compliance vulnerabilities, and developed corrective action plans to resolve the issues that arose.
Benefits of a multicultural background
Kamyshanskaya’s education and work experience in two very different countries inform her approach to business and law. She has worked in a country where the government has almost absolute power to manipulate businesses and outcomes, as well as a country with high levels of transparency. This cultural perspective enables her to advise US companies and companies across Europe. She successfully navigates the legal and cultural differences between purpose-driven and profit-driven entities and understands their motivations.
With empathy and finesse, Kamyshanskaya brings parties together, builds trust, creates clear processes, and communicates effectively to bridge the cultural gap that so often derails international business discussions. About the benefit of a multicultural perspective, she says, “Unless you have an international background, you can only imagine the societal and cultural differences that impact both business and law.”
Launching Primum Law Group
Five years ago, Kamyshanskaya launched Primum Law Group as a boutique corporate law firm to help start-up entrepreneurs and established international companies develop US operations and take full advantage of business opportunities. “My international experience and background help me understand the pain points for international companies attempting to scale,” she says. “I have extensive experience in both business and law. I understand my clients’ day-to-day operations and speak the language of the business sector. I take on their legal challenges so that they can focus on their company’s growth.”
When international businesses can focus on what they do best without being required to learn the intricacies of various foreign legal systems, they have a major advantage. “We’re a small enough firm that we know our clients’ needs personally,” remarks Kamyshanskaya.
The force behind Primum Law Group is global perspective. As an immigrant who has grown businesses in Russia and the US, Kamyshanskaya has been where her clients are today. The team at Primum Law Group strategizes to guide owners, entrepreneurs, and executives through the full array of corporate activities, including organization, development, compliance, funding, growth, and exit.
Each client has a different goal. Primum begins by developing a thorough understanding of the founder’s vision. The firm ensures companies are ready for investors by properly structuring the business and protecting intellectual property. Primum then offers resources and makes introductions to assist in raising capital. If the company’s goal is to be acquired as soon as possible, the firm begins work on the exit strategy by raising funds, validating the product, and finding the right buyer.
“We bring more than just legal services,” Kamyshanskaya explains. “I have set up incubators in nine different countries and know what it takes to launch and scale internationally. Our approach depends on the company’s ultimate goal. It’s all about action and reaction, anticipating the move before the move.”
The boutique law firm has quickly become a thriving practice in San Francisco, thanks to the hard work of its founder and the quality work produced by the team. As entrepreneurs launch their startups and begin to delve into the realities of the corporate world, they will need a partner to lessen the burden on them and resolve any issues that arise. Here’s where Kamyshanskaya and her team step in. “I started Primum Law Group with only a handful of clients to vouch for my integrity, skills, and results,” she recalls. “I was confident in my ability and worked hard to build a solid reputation. It has been five years, and I could not be happier.”