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Professor William E. Butler writes groundbreaking book on practice of law in Russia


Prior to July 11, 2011, no book existed in any language on the practice of law in Russia. A foreign attorney needing to know the difference between an advokat and a jurisconsult was out of luck—not even Wikipedia has an entry on the Russian Federal Law on the Advokatura. This week Professor William E. Butler published The Russian Legal Practitioner, a comprehensive summary of the practice of law in Russia (available in the U.S. August 4 via ISBS). The Russian Legal Practitioner is the first book in any language on the practice of law in Russia.

“This book will be of interest to anyone who needs to conduct business, hire an attorney, or participate in arbitration in Russia,” explains Butler, who is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of more than 120 books on Soviet, Russian, Ukrainian and other Commonwealth of Independent States legal systems.

The 306-page book is organized around Russia’s Federal Law on the Advokatura. The Russian Legal Practitioner explains the laws and rules governing the advokat, i.e. an attorney who has a right to an audience with the court, and the jurisconsult, who can be any attorney employed by a commercial law firm or the civil service. Butler estimates that Russia—a nation of 143 million people—has about 65,000 advokats and 500,000 jurisconsults.

In addition to his comparative international law scholarship, Professor Butler serves as an arbitrator and mediator. He is a member of the Panel of Distinguished Neutrals for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution and is in his fourth term on the Russian International Court of Commercial Arbitration.

Professor Butler, who is the John Edward Fowler Distinguished Professor of Law and International Affairs, teaches or has taught Russian Law, Foreign Investment in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, History of International Law, and Comparative Approaches to International Law.

Having added another book to his personal bookshelf, Professor Butler is moving on to his next major project: the substantive law of Ukraine. For about 20 years, Professor Butler has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences for Ukraine. “I felt that I owed them one,” he joked.

“People don’t always understand the tremendous scope and heritage of the Russian legal system,” said Butler, who has recently been called a founder of Comparative International Law by writers Boris N. Mamlyuk and Ugo Mattei in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law. “I could work on the theoretical foundations of Comparative International Law my entire life and never exhaust the subject.”

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