On December 8, 2005, the Law Resource Center of the Library for Foreign Literature hosted “Relations Between Internal and External Counsel,” a seminar organized by the Russian Corporate Counsel Association and the International Bar Association (IBA).
The Law Resource Center is part of one of the largest libraries in Russia. Lawyers from Basic Element, British-American Tobacco, Unilever, RAO UES of Russia, KMB Bank, Brunswick Rail Management, Denton Wilde Sapte, Marks & Sokolov, and other high-profile companies gathered amidst tomes of rare legal texts.
Alexandra Nesterenko, President of the the Russian Corporate Counsel Association and Compliance and Business Support Director British American Tobacco Russia, commenced the meeting.
A speech from Steven Galbraith, partner at Slaughter and May, one of the best-known English law firms, was of great interest to those in attendance. Galbraith’s presentation analyzed the relations between corporate lawyers and lawyers who work in law firms. He outlined the chief reasons for misunderstandings between them and gave some practical recommendations for establishing proper relations.
Chair of the Legal Practice Division of the IBA and partner at Allen & Overy Michael Reynolds gave his audience an overview of the work of the IBA, which boasts a membership of 20,000 lawyers from 125 countries. He spoke on the advantages that professional associations provide: new opportunities for business development, new skills, exchanging experience, and avenues for career growth.
Two more IBA members, partner Tomasz Wardyński of the Polish firm Wardyński & Partners and partner Borislav Boyanov of the Bulgarian Borislav Boyanov & Co, provided examples from their personal experience working with IBA members.
IBA member Vassily Rudomino, senior partner from ALRUD, closed the seminar. Rudomino noted that the growing integration of Russian companies and business as a whole into the worldwide economic community that has come about recently must be accompanied by a parallel integration of Russian lawyers, including corporate lawyers, into the international legal community. Rudomino discussed the new doors that this process will open up for Russian lawyers. He called for lawyers to take a more active position. He brought up the English publication Law Department Profile 2005 (printed by Practical Law Company) as an example. The section dedicated to Russian corporate lawyers contains information collected several years ago on companies now defunct or bankrupt, and information on existing organizations is incomplete or incorrect. This is despite the fact that the publication is printed annually based on surveys for Russian corporate counsels, and listing information is entirely free.
In conclusion, participants in the seminar thanked those who had given presentations and all expressed a desire to take a more active role in establishing relations with foreign partners.