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With every lawyer in Russia now required to take 20 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) each year, there is an emphasis on developing that nation’s capacity to conduct CLE training and on spreading the word about CLE to remote areas such as Siberia. Along with the Krasnoyarsk Regional Chamber of Advocates and the Federal Chamber, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) Moscow office continues its work to improve Russian lawyers’ practical skills training. Together, the partners established the CLE Center for Attorneys in January 2008.
Since that time, the center in Krasnoyarsk has been the home of two pilot programs, the Bar Development Program and the Criminal Reform Program. The first of three training sessions was held in January, with a focus on recruiting quality trainers. Follow-up, multi-day sessions in April and June featured substantive and rigorous training. Ethics and presentation skills training were the subjects of the April seminar, which allowed trainers to gain experience in preparing their own presentations while receiving feedback from various experts. The final June session featured intensive training on case strategy and tactics, legal position in criminal cases, analysis of evidence, direct and cross examination, and the art of opening and closing statements. Each of these new skills was rigorously tested, both in the classroom and in a moot court competition. All work was evaluated by prominent professionals, including faculty from the Saint Petersburg Institute of Law and the Federal Siberian University and ABA ROLI legal specialists—all of whom praised the pilot programs and the performance of the trainers-in-training.
As a testament to the programs’ success, ABA ROLI and the Krasnoyarsk Regional Chamber of Advocates are pleased to announce a 15-attorney strong contingent of trainers. Previously armed with excellent experience gained from representing clients in criminal and civil cases, these attorneys are now also prepared to develop their own curriculum for continuing education, allowing them to promote the idea of CLE throughout the Russian legal community.