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The Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki is committed to diverse and internationally collaborative approaches to studying various legal systems in the context of comparative law, and UHLS and the Law Faculty of the National Research University, Higher School of Economics have developed an ongoing program to undertake this effort. The original annual conference series on the Development of Russian Law was launched in 2008 as an initiative to further knowledge and critical thinking about Russian law during its period of transition and modernization. The conference is held annually and brings together legal practitioners and scholars from Russia, Finland and elsewhere to discuss important matters of Russian law, legal reform, and legal practice. Prior years’ Conference themes have included discussions of legal reforms, the justice system, the Russian legal profession, human rights, civil and business law, legal policy, rule-of-law and market economy.
This year’s program was designed to attract law faculty, scholars from different disciplines, and also practicing lawyers, to address a wide range of topics grouped around the general theme of how the phenomenon and challenges of globalization affect Russian legal system development. The call for papers included: (i) Relationships between Russian domestic and international law, (ii) The impacts of international legal institutions on the development of Russian law(s), (iii) Globalization in the field of business law, (iv) Global law & Russian legal theory, (v) Regional models of legal cooperation and Russia’s participation, (vi) Transnational legal problems in areas such as constitutionalism and rule-of-law, (vii) Theoretical and applied implications of the concept of global transplants, and (viii) A global human rights agenda, including Russia’s place in this agenda.
This was a very ambitious and multi-faceted undertaking. Through a process of careful evaluation, the Conference organizers produced a very diverse and challenging program, consisting of 8 Sessions, (7 panels and one round-table devoted to specific Session themes), along with a general Round-table discussion on the subject of Russian-Finnish legal cooperation partnering.1 The two-day Symposium, October 6–7, was preceded by a Wednesday afternoon PhD student seminar. At this seminar, there were presentations by Dr. Ari Hirvonen (University of Helsinki) on Finnish doctoral education in law and Dr. Svetlana Vasilieva (Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia) on Russian PhD education in law, followed by presentations by PhD students of their works-in-progress.2 Professor Pia Letto-Vanamo, Director of the Doctoral School at the University of Helsinki, then delivered the Keynote Lecture – Methodological Challenges of Legal Research, followed by a Reception for participants. In this lecture, she highlighted how global agenda influences national legal issues and what it is to practice good lawyering.