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Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies pres.

CREES Noon Lecture

The Crisis of the Legal Profession in Contemporary Russia

Mishina Mishina
Ekaterina Mishina, assistant professor of law, Vyshaya shkola ekonomiki; visiting professor of law, U-M.

The legal profession is very much sought after in modern Russia. In Soviet times there was a small number of universities and law institutes where one could get a legal education, today this is no longer a problem. There are law schools everywhere, but though their number has multiplied, the level of education has considerably decreased, and a legal profession brings with it a number of challenges. The tremendous changes of the last two decades and the Russian transition to a market economy have presented lawyers with new requirements and new problems. When it’s impossible to do legal business in Russia, when the courts have become political tools, when the accusatory bias is still one of the hottest issues on the agenda, what should the mission of a lawyer should be? Being a lawyer in today’s Russia involves many risks. More than a hundred lawyers have fled from the country, some have been incarcerated, while others have been mutilated or even killed. In her lecture, Ekaterina Mishina will analyze the reasons for the crisis of the legal profession in Russia.

Ekaterina Mishina holds a doctorate in law from the Law School of Moscow State University. She worked for the Constitutional Court of Russia, then headed the Legal Department of JSC “MOSTELECOM”. In 2002-05 she took part in the projects “Law-making” and “Club of Regional Journalism,” both of which were sponsored by the Open Russia Foundation. In 2007-10, Mishina worked on two large-scale projects for the INDEM Foundation. She participated in several World Bank, Ford Foundation, European Union, and USAID projects as general manager and legal expert. She was a visiting scholar in NYU (1990-91), had internships in the U.S. Congress and DC office of Gardner, Curton & Douglas (1993), and in 2006 took part in the U.S. Department of State Program “U.S.-Russia Experts Forum.” Since 2005 she has held an appointment as assistant professor of law at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow, where she teaches comparative constitutional law. Currently she is a research scholar at the University of Michigan.

Part of the series Pluralism in Politics and Culture, a new initiative jointly sponsored by CREES and WCED that examines the foundations of free and open societies. The project builds on the university’s rich legacy of study and support of the dissident culture in the former Soviet Union and on several existing efforts at U-M. The series focuses on multiple facets of political pluralism, including its legal, cultural, and economic dimensions, and explore them in a broader historical context.
Mishina Mishina

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