A sell-out conference at the Law Society this week is proof positive of the continued interest that UK legal practitioners have in the development of the legal market in Russia. Billed as an opportunity for Russian and UK lawyers to promote legal links and businesses between the two countries, Russian Law Week is supported by the British-Russian Law Association and the Anglo-Russian Law Association.
It comes, of course, at the end of a year where the biggest cases in London have involved a succession of billionaire Russian oligarchs. Thanks to the clear message sent by Justice Gloster to future litigants about the use of the English High Court to settle old, unwritten, scores, it seems unlikely that there will be many more trials on the scale of those we enjoyed in the Rolls Building earlier this year.
But there is still an awful lot of Russian and CIS legal work going on, from Ukraine, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Belarus, as well as Russia. The fact is that it is going on just beneath the radar of the broadsheets and by smaller firms who specialise in financial transactions and fraud investigations rather than big-ticket litigation. These cases have also provided work for a new business – Russian Paralegals – which celebrated its first birthday at Pushkin House last week. Though still in its infancy, it has already claimed a foothold in the Russian and CIS legal market in London providing Russian-language legal and business support services to law firms, chambers, financial institutions and corporates. I suspect it will be kept busy in the months to come!