The development of legal professionalism in Russia: an institutional perspective Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: The rule of law and an efficient legal system are the core factors that ensure growth in BRIC economies. Weak institutions and failures with respect to the rule of law in Russia call into question its position as one of the BRIC countries. The purpose of this paper is to propose that the legitimization of newly created formal legal institutions in Russia is impossible without a new set of values that reflect the ideals of professionalism. It aims to explore the role institutional stakeholders play in establishment of the new set of professional values. Design/methodology/approach: A survey of existing legislation and academic research on professionalism and the development of the legal profession in Russia was undertaken to determine the state of the development of its formal and informal legal institutions. The role of stakeholders in the development of new professional institutions was also examined. Findings: The paper finds that the creation of formal institutions supporting the rule of law in Russia is largely completed. Yet, in some cases the institutions lack legitimacy and public trust. Professionalism - a vital informal institution that promotes trust in legal systems and legitimizes its formal institutions is in the process of development. The agents of professional socialization such as the state, educational institutions, professional bodies and organizations play different roles in development of professionalism. Potential avenues for enhancing legal professionalism by the agents of socialization are identified. Research limitations/implications: The current study contributes to the literature on institutional change in transition economies and suggests a complicated relationship between various formal and informal institutions in the Russian legal sector. Future empirical research should focus on the investigation of the newly forming informal institutions and the impact of old informal institutions on this process. Practical implications: Companies doing business in Russia should be aware of the fact that the legal systems in the country are still in the process of development. Even though major formal legal institutions have already been created, some informal institutions still represent a serious challenge to safe and efficient business in the country. Originality/value: The paper contains ideas for the future development of legal professionalism in Russia. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Panina, D., & Bierman, L.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Panina, Daria||Bierman, Leonard

editor list (cited editors)

  • Michailova, S.

publication date

  • January 2013