April 12, 2006 newspaper Vedomosti held the second annual conference Legal Business in Russia (the first conference took place in April 2005 and attracted much attention from the legal society).
The conference was opened by Mikhail Barshevsky, the government representative in Constitutional, Supreme and Arbitrage Courts with an overview of the situation with the legal business in Russia. Speaking on the problems and weak points of the Russian court system, Mr.Barshevsky however pointed out that the number of cases on contestation of regulations of the state bodies as well as unlawful acts (inaction) of state officials increases every year. And it should be noted that not a few of these appeals are satisfied. Thus the fight against bureaucratic tyranny is not merely an important task of the legal society but also a task that is feasible.
Analyzing the situation with the Russian legal business, Mikhail Barshevsky drew the public attention to the business development trend that is typical of the Russian market, i.e. merger of small companies into larger ones. Mikhail Barshevsky noted that this, to his concern, does not refer to the legal services market, while consolidation of the legal market may ensure higher quality of service, greater responsibility of companies, a more complex approach to service provision, etc.
Vassily Rudomino, senior partner of ALRUD law firm also pointed out the necessity of consolidation. Presenting the subject Practical Matters of Preserving Confidential Information Received from the Client, Mr.Rudomino noted, that consolidation will help the legal society to secure adoption of a number of highly important decisions, e.g. legislative recognition of the lawyer’s right not to disclose confidential information received from the client also on demand of law enforcement authorities. Confidentiality is one of the major rights of the client and the responsibility of his legal counsel. The lawyer’s duty to disclose information to state bodies prevents the client from trusting the full scope of information to his legal counsel, while this information is required for a comprehensive consideration of his enquiry and provision of efficient and unbiased advice. This problem concerns not only the client, but the entire legal society.
The conference speakers included partners of the leading Russian and international law firms, i.a. from Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Alexandra Nesterenko, President of the Russian Corporate Counsel Association, Business Legal Support Director, British American Tobacco conducted panel discussion on Relations of Outside Law Firms and Corporate Counsel.
The conference Legal Business in Russia is a very important initiative of Vedomosti, that gives tribune to the legal society to discuss and solve the most acute problems of the legal business.