Defending Rights in Russia: Lawyers, the State, and Legal Reform in the Post-Soviet Era

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Defending Rights in Russia: Lawyers, the State, and Legal Reform in the Post-Soviet Era

By Pamela A. Jordan
UBC Press, 2005
302 pp. $85.00
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The struggle for legal reform in Russia, the famous Russian political cases, and the behavior of Russian courts get a lot of attention, but Russian lawyers themselves rarely do. How their role is changing, who sets the standards for their education and admission to the guild, how they earn a living, and what their contribution has been to modernizing the Russian legal system are matters little studied -- until Jordan's efficient account. It helps that she sets the scene by providing the history of Russian lawyering from the last third of the nineteenth century through the harsh Soviet period and the Gorbachev transition to the present. The conceptual underpinning she gives the analysis highlights the weight of the institutional legacy, but the wiggling and innovation under way is impressive.