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Legal Ethics in Russia

Submitted by Katerina Lewinbuk on Tue, 04-26-2011
Long title
Perestroika or Just Perfunctory? The Scope & Significance of Russia's New Legal Ethics Laws
Katerina Lewinbuk
Author(s)' contact information
Katerina Lewinbuk
South Texas College of Law
1303 San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77096
(713)721-1546 (off.)
Journal of the Legal Profession (University of Alabama)
Volume number
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United States
This article introduces into legal scholarship the discussion and analysis of rules that were laid down in Spring 2002 in a federal law – "On Work as an Attorney and the Legal Profession in the Russian Federation" and in the Code of Professional Ethics for the Attorney, that was adopted in 2003 and later amended in 2007. It analyzes this new law not by just looking purely at the newly-enacted attorney regulations, but rather by approaching it from the historic, socio-economic and moral perspective since professional ethics very much reflect the current values, state of development and moral principles of a given society and, in Russia, they are greatly a reflection of the country’s rich and fascinating history with its changing political regimes, economic structure and societal values.
This article further examines the current structure, status and regulation of the legal profession in Russia by providing a comparative analysis of selected rules and applicable provisions of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct enacted by the American Bar Association and the Code of Conduct of European Lawyers (“CCBE”) adopted at the CCBE Plenary Session. The gist of this analysis compares the purpose and affect of enforcing attorney ethics rules in Russia, Europe and the United States with a focus on looking at lawyering through the prism of either a standard business venture or an independent profession. It further addresses anticipated challenges with enforcement of these laws based on historic distrust and disrespect for the law in Russia. To conclude, it also attempts to predict upcoming steps in the development of the ethical framework for the legal profession in Russia and offers anticipated benefits and downsides to these new developments.
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