Dmitry Afanasiev, Chairman of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Law Offices attended a round table related to the regulation of the legal profession at the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.
The round table was also attended by local and foreign experts, including Vladimir Pligin, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Constitutional Law, Evgeny Semenyako, President of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers, Michael Reynolds, President of the International Bar Association, Frank Engelmann, representative of the German Federal Chamber of Lawyers, Paul-Albert Iweins, representative of the French National Bar Council, Dmitry Nikiforov, Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Vasily Rudomino, Senior Partner at ALRUD, and Piter Koves, Partner at Koves es Tarsai Ugyvedi Iroda.
Dmitry Afanasiev addressed the problem of competing jurisdictions as the key point. He named the forces whose interaction, according to him, is indispensable to reforming the legal profession in Russia. He highlighted 4 stakeholders, the state, the legal profession, the business and the civil society, that have to find a national legal idea uniting the profession, and voiced his confidence in “no improvement as long as there is no consensus between the above stakeholders.”
According to Mr. Afanasiev, it’s the legal profession representatives that are to act as an engine for handling the profession reform issue. Mr Afanasiev named the key points developed by representatives of the leading legal firms as part of NCP “Advancement of the Corporate Legislation” that contribute to the improvement of the Russian jurisdiction desirability for the business community who currently tend to choose foreign law and courts abroad. “We have to improve the optionality of the Russian legislation, at least as related to the entrepreneurial relationships, to create a modern arbitration justice centre following European patterns, as well as to develop a strong national legal profession.”
Mr Afanasiev emphasised that despite the international legal firms having favourably contributed to the development of Russia’s legal market by raising the level of the legal service standards and breeding a generation of Russian lawyers capable of working in compliance with the international standards, today the country needs a unified national legal community. According to Mr Afanasiev, developing a strong legal profession in Russia is a key task that may be tackled through the establishment of an attorneys’ monopoly on all types of paying legal assistance, and compliance with a number of qualifying restrictions for profession representatives.
Mikhail Galperin, Director of the Economic Legislation Department, commented on the standpoint of the Russian Ministry of Justice with regard to the current reform saying that a task group involving a large number of legal market representatives will be created by the end of June. After the amendments are ready, the reform will be discussed by the Russian market players and experts.