The Legal Profession

Lawyers in private practice in Russia work mostly within colleges of advocates--self-managed, cooperative-type organizations There are about nineteen thousand advocates in more than one hundred colleges. The highest body of advocates' self-management is the general meeting of a college. The presidium headed by the chairperson is the executive board of each college. The presidium is elected by the general meeting for a term of three years.

Colleges of advocates are formed in accordance with territorial subdivisions--in the cities, regions (oblasts), Republics or autonomous entities. In its territory any college is represented by law firms or legal aid offices, which render all regular legal assistance to citizens: advocates counsel people, draft legal documents, represent plaintiffs or defendants in civil litigation, and provide defense in criminal proceedings.

There are now more and more American-type law firms in Russia functioning separately from colleges of advocates, and especially involved in representing private businesses.

Many lawyers are employed by the law offices of enterprises, ministries and agencies as in-house counsel (juriconsult). These lawyers have all powers of an attorney, but they represent their single and permanent "client"--their respective organization. Th ere are about twenty thousand of them in Russia, and in view of the economic reform this body is growing.

Of course, many in the legal profession teach or do academic research work. In Russia there are forty institutions of higher education in law (either a law school attached to a university or a separate entity called a "juridical institute"). New private l aw schools are popping up. There are also separate research centers in law, the most prominent of which is the Institute of State and Law under the Academy of Sciences of Russia.

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