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Advokatura: In Search of Professionalism and Pluralism in Moscow and Leningrad

Michael Burrage
Law & Social Inquiry
Vol. 15, No. 3 (Summer, 1990), pp. 433-478
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Bar Foundation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/828492
Page Count: 46
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Advokatura: In Search of Professionalism and Pluralism in Moscow and Leningrad
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Abstract

This investigation sought to discover whether, and in what respects, Soviet advocates in the wake of perestroika are comparable with legal professions in the West. Taped interviews with ten advocates and various other legal specialists in Moscow and Leningrad in the winter of 1988-89 centered on four major professional goals. The responses showed (1) that Soviet advocates felt that their colleges effectively control admission to the bar; (2) that they have little sense of occupational jurisdiction, except in relation to the newly established legal cooperatives; (3) that they behaved like members of a self-governing profession in that bar association chairmen and bureau managers were perceived as colleagues rather than bosses, while party and state intervention control was dismissed as insignificant; (4) although they feel their status has risen dramatically since Gorbachev, it is not clear that this owes much to their collective efforts or that they have developed a corporate ideology to defend their position. Overall, the evidence supports the view that professional aspirations and institutions comparable to those in the West are to be found among Soviet advocates. Whether this might be seen as the reassertion of civil society, and pluralism, in Soviet society is a much debated but currently unanswerable question. Negative and positive indications on this matter emerged during the research, the latter being rather the more persuasive.

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