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LEGAL PROFESSIONS IN RUSSIA

Lawyers in private practice in Russia work mostly within colleges of advocates - self-managed cooperative type organization. The highest body of advocates’ self management is the general meeting of a college. The presidium headed by the chairpersonis the executive boardof each college. The presidium is elected by the general meeting for a term of three years. There are colleges of advocates in the cities, regions, republics or autonomous entities. 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.

Many lawyers are employed by the law offices of enterprises, ministries and agencies as in-house counsel (jurisconsult). These lawyers have all powers of an attorney, but they represent their single and permanent “client” – their organization. They support and counsel it, provide expertise in administrative, employment, tax, insurance,contract, international and other legal issues, draft documents and contracts, act in negotiations,deals and lawsuits.

Some lawyers may work as notaries. A notary is a public officer who certifies the document or its copy’s authenticity and witnesses official acts: wills, commercial papers, etc. Lawyers may serve as judges or prosecutors. A prosecutor usually initiates a criminal case and conducts criminal proceedings, presents the evidenceof the committed crime. A judge presides in courtroom and administers justice, resolves disputes between the parties, decides the case during the trial, directs the jury and gives the judgment.

Legal careers also include teaching law and academic research work. In Russia there are 40 institutions of higher education in law (either a law school attached to a university or a separate entity called a “juridical institute”). There are also separate research centres 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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