Lawyers often play pivotal roles in building democracies. PamelaJordan’s engaging study of the Russian bar (advokatura) providesa richly textured portrait of how, after the USSR’s collapse,practising lawyers called advocates began to assume new, self-definedroles as contributors to legal reform and defenders of rights inRussia.
Using the historical institutionalism approach as her analyticalframework and drawing from comparative literature on legal professions,Jordan argues that the post-Soviet advokatura as an institution gainedmore, although not complete, autonomy from the state as it struggled toredefine itself as a profession. Advocates formed new bar associationsand law offices and now have a broader range of ways to defendclients’ rights than they did during the Soviet era. Jordansuggests that advocates’ work is supporting the growth of civilsociety and the strengthening of human rights in Russia.
Jordan concludes that, in a measured way, advocates redistributedsocial and political power by means of their role as intermediaryactors between state and societal forces. However, she also warns thatsuch gains could be reversed if the Putin regime continues to flout dueprocess rights.
Jordan’s book represents a major contribution to the study of Russian legal institutions, as well as post-Soviet Russian politics. As such, the book should be of interest to Russian specialists as well as a broader audience interested in comparative law and the development of civil society. Her exemplary scholarship includes thorough consideration of available literature as well as numerous interviews with leading Russian advocates and jurists… Nevertheless, Jordan’s comprehensive discussion of legal hisotyr and current practices will serve as mandatory reading for scholars interested in Russian politics and understanding Russia’s uneven attempts – both past and present – at legal reform.
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.
A welcome addition to the literature on legal reform in Russia ... It will be seen as the definitive work on the development of the Russia Bar.
The scholarship is exemplary ... The book offers new and important insights and will be of interest to most students of Russian studies as well as specialists in comparative law and politics. All readers will come away from this work with a much fuller understanding of the depth of change in the legal and social fabric of Russia in the 1990s.
1. The Russian and Soviet Bars: A Historical Perspective,1864-1984
2. The Advokatura in the Gorbachev Period, 1985-91
3. Chaos in the Advokatura, 1992-2002
4. Autonomy and Dependence: State-Bar Relations in the 1990s
5. Restructuring the Advokatura from Above, 2002-3
6. Russian Criminal Defence Advocacy in the Post-Soviet Era
7. New Trends in Advocates’ Practice in the Civil Sphere
1 Surveys of Advocates’ Opinions /
2 Stages of a Russian Criminal Case /
Selected Bibliography /
Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.Subscribe to our newsletter now
Read past newsletters