Russia has a population of approximately 143.5 million and 75 000 lawyers – called ‘advocates’ (in 2015). The Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers was set up in 2003 and joined the CCBE in 2013.
Key information about the profession:
- Initial training of lawyers: Law degree; Bar exam – at the end of a 1-year traineeship in a law firm (or for those who have 2 years of work experience in the legal domain).
- Continuous training: Lawyers with less than 1 year experience: 30 hours of training; lawyers with more than 1 year experience – 20 hours annually or at least 100 hours in 5 years. Training is provided by the Chamber and private bodies with yearly control. Sanctions for non-performance – disbarment or suspending the advocate’s status.
- Specialisation: no mandatory specialisation.
- Discipline: the Qualification commissions at the regional bar chambers are in charge of disciplinary proceedings.
- Legal Aid: is financed and organized by the State and the Bar and available for criminal and civil cases.
Current concerns of the Bar and main challenges in the coming years:
- Merger of the legal profession
- Achievement of high-quality measures applied at all stages of the criminal proceedings, strengthening professional guarantees for protection of lawyers’ rights
- Maintaining high professional and ethical standards for advocates. Consistent and effective application of disciplinary system against advocates who violate the Advocates’ Code of Professional Ethics
- Anti-corruption measures against so-called “pocket lawyers”, especially in outlying regions
- Reform of the legal services market
- Main challenge: reform of the Russian legal services market under the“Justice” National Programme. There are a large number of so-called “unregulated” legal professionals, non-advocates, that exist outside of the legal framework. This lack of regulation can have a negative impact on:
- professional ethical standards,
- quality of legal assistance,
- protection of trial rights,
- access to justice,
- implementation of the Rule of law principle.