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The individual legal practice was prohibited, the material relations between the lawyer and the client were to the large extent disrupted and distorted, the advocacy was controlled by the departmental judiciary. Cruel repressions led to disappearance from defense speeches of criticism concerning unfairness of the social conditions as the cause of crimes; the volume of functions traditionally performed by lawyers was essentially constricted. Nevertheless, the state failed to impose the conditions of direct administrative subordination on the advocacy. Besides, the advocacy was preserved in the form of self-regulating corporation, the bars established in 1922 independently solve all problems connected with proceedings, finances and discipline including call to the bar and expulsion from it. The very nature of advocacy consisting of representation of individual interest creates obstacles to governmentalization of the advocacy. The communist soviet totalitarian regime strived to create the image of a civilized, fair and legal system for the world community. Transfer of lawyers to the status of public employees might straightforwardly discredit the socialist legality. Moscow lawyers managed to preserve and maintain the traditions of their profession. The demagogic idea relating to subordination of personal interests to public interests did not work in the advocacy. Participation of the leading Moscow lawyers in the tragic farces of Stalin public justice of 1930s when they essentially changed into prosecutors is undoubtedly shameful but nevertheless turned over page of the history of the national advocacy. The tie between the generations of Russian lawyers has not been broken mainly due to social structure of the bars. In 1922, the new bars could be formed only from the so called bourgeois specialists former before the revolution lawyers. In 1932-1937, more than a half of Moscow layers had worked as lawyers as long ago as the tsarist days and even in 1939, after horrible Stalin combings-outs, the number of such persons exceeded one-third. A great deal of the lawyers which got the legal education before revolution practiced after the Great Patriotic War up to the end of 1960s and beginning of 1970s. It were they who created the professional and ethical climate in the Moscow Urban Bar, maintained the spirit of corporate lawyers solidarity, trained young specialists and conveyed traditions of the Russian certified advocacy to them. Moscow lawyers such as Sofia Kallistratova, Dina Kaminskaya, Semen Ariya, Boris Zolotukhin reminded the whole world that these traditions are living by their speeches in favor of human rights campaigners-dissidents during political proceedings which took place in 1960s-1970s. The democratic reforms laid the foundation for the new stage of the Russian advocacy. The functions of lawyers extended. The lawyer became a lawful participant in pretrial investigation now he assists his defendant from the moment of his being under arrest or brining the accusation. Lawyers began to participate in the Constitutional Court, jury trials, arbitration courts, the legal assistance is rendered to clients when conducting investigations connected with tax and customs matters. The traditional principle of material relations between the lawyer and the client has been restored: the amount of payment is determined by mutual agreement. Transfer to the market economy, springing up of entrepreneurial structures pressed for changes in organization of Russian advocacy. The response to the challenge of the time has been appearance within the framework of the bars of collectives of lawyers - bureaus (firms, agencies) organized after the same pattern as western ones. The advantage of law bureaus includes the possibility to work as solid teams, to service in package large commercial projects, which requires special knowledge in various branches of the law: constitutional, international, civil, economic, tax, customs, etc. The lawyers of the bureau are able to render alternative types of legal assistance to the clients along with representation of their interests in courts and control authorities, that is: conduct of legal expertise, elaboration of economic and legal projects, participation in its implementation, training of the personnel working in commercial structures and public organizations, etc. The law bureaus, unlike legal consultation offices are legal entities. They independently plan their professional and financial activities, engage personnel, prepare the list of confidential information, they have the right to engage Russian and foreign lawyers, other necessary specialists and may develop correspondent relations with foreign law firms. The law bureaus are noncommercial organizations and do not set the goal to derive profit. The lawyers of the bureau renders legal assistance in the case provide for by the legislation of the Russian Federation and incur the obligation to conduct cases by appointment at the stage of preliminary investigation and in court. More and more Moscow lawyers establish law bureaus. After passing the Law on Advocacy individual legal practice will be undoubtedly fixed by law. Lawyers must be assured free choice of the form of work but compulsory within the framework of the single professional corporation based on venerable traditional ethic principles and norms.

Genry Reznik


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Copyright Law bureau, 2007.
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