Holiday Edition Digest

Dear colleagues,

We wish you happy holidays and a prosperous New Year! Let the year 2014 be rich in interesting events, personal and professional developments, and bright and unforgettable moments with your colleagues and friends! We wish you and your nearest and dearest good health, happiness, peace and success! We are looking forward to seeing you in the year 2014!

As we approach the winter holidays we asked the partners and participants of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum what were their most memorable moments for this year. In the article below you will learn the events your colleagues were particularly impressed by, get ideas of the most original presents, as well as best wishes for the year 2014! We thank all of you for your input!

We are also glad to present you the first issue of the digest and invite you to subscribe to regular mailing.

Holiday Edition Digest of December 25, 2013.

News of the Forum

2013 was a remarkable year in the history of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.


On January 2013, an initiative of Guest Conferences under the auspices of the SPBILF was designed to establishing legal dialogue and strengthening cooperation between Russia and the other countries. The first Conference was held in London. Then four Conferences took place in the Hague, Rome, Paris and Budapest with the total number of 750 delegates.

The III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum which is considered by its participants as a must in the Russian lawyer’s schedule and an effective platform for dialogue with foreign colleagues took place on May 15-18. Over 2500 lawyers, bars, academicians, business and authority representatives from 63 countries attended the forum in 2013.

The business programme included 56 discussion sessions within 10 thematic tracks on actual issues of law, economics, politics and culture. Video archive is available on the website.

The event was covered by 364 journalists from the 92 leading Russian and foreign legal and business mass media including 50 information partners what resulted in more than 1000 news items on various topics of the Forum.

Internet users followed the Forum in social networks: more than 1000 articles were posted via Twitter and FB. Users from 40 countries and 200 cities followed the Forum on the internet while the reach comprised more than 500 000 people, inter alia 11507 views of the SPBILF 2013 business programme’s broadcast from 51 countries and 291 cities, 2913 as live stream, and 8594 after the online broadcast.

In the autumn 2013, the SPBIL organized five seminars dedicated to recent modernization of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation featuring drafters of the amendments to the Civil Code as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice. The lections allowed the lawyers from St. Petersburg to understand better the aims of legal developments while lecturers got a feedback to find out the directions of legal regulation future evolution. Moreover, the seminars under the auspices of the SPBILF mean another one step towards strengthening the dialogue between the Forum’s participants throughout the year.

Representatives from 15 countries including Belarus, Belgium, The United Kingdom, Hungary, Germany, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Cuba, Luxemburg, Nigeria, The Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, France have registered for the Forum 2014.

Prior to the IV Forum the series of Guest Conferences and seminars under the auspices of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum will be continued. Register for the Forum and keep in touch during the New Year.

Greetings kaleidoscope

As we approach the winter holidays we asked the partners and participants of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum what were their most memorable moments for this year. First and foremost, lawyers noted a lot of interesting and fruitful work:


“At the end of this year I got a pleasant news: according to analysis of judicial decisions on Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Insurance disputes in Moscow from January 1, 2011 to November 1, 2013, which was carried by experts from Insurance News Agency, Ingosstrakh is the best insurance company to make pre-trial payments to injured persons, to wit, it paid more fairly than other market members. As far as me and my colleagues from the Ingosstrakh Legal Department “had a finger in the pie”, this news was particularly memorable for me,” noted Ivan Novikov, Head of Legal Department, Ingosstrakh.

“The year was mostly memorable for a lot of new and interesting activities, many new clients,” says Andrey Goltsblat, Managing Partner, Goltsblat BLP.

“One of my most memorable accomplishments this year was the participation in the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum in a round table “The Notion of Law and Justice in European Tradition” presided by the Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov. One result of our discussions was that the technological, economic, political, cultural, and legal globalizations do not play together to one (and only one!) global society. Modernity of law is not an evolutionary one-way-street to a global civilization and a universal legal culture. We live in a time of multiple modernities and multiple legal systems in their respective societal environments,” stresses Werner Krawietz, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal “Rechtstheorie”.

Valery Musin, Head of the Civil Procedure Department, Saint Petersburg State University, remembered the year 2013 “for a large-scale modernization of the Civil Code which is to be continued definitely in the incoming year”.

For Sergey Pepeliaev, Managing Partner of Pepeliaev Group, “the departing year was remarkable for a significant burst of activity in spite of all the talks on crisis.” “We had more work related not to disputes with state agencies but to investment project support. I was unhappily surprised by merger of courts. I see no reason to do this on the federal level,” added Mr. Pepeliaev.

“The year 2013 was particularly rich in various economic, political and cultural events both in Russia and the world. One of the most memorable events was the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum held in May, and the Gazprombank was the General Partner. The highly topical programme is in large part our achievement as the Bank’s representatives did not only participate at diverse sessions but organized on their own a few roundtables with Russian and foreign businesses and public officials. At the venue we had meetings with many interesting people including experts from the non-financial field. These meetings don’t only broaden your horizons; they rather allow seeing your working principles in a new light. The Forum surely left good impressions and became one of the brightest events of the departing year. I do hope the next year will be also exciting and we’ll have new interesting meetings and gatherings at the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum on June 2014”, believes Ekaterina Trofimova, Member of the Management Board, First Vice-President, Gazprombank.

“For me the year 2013 was yet another period of the St. Petersburg State University dynamic development accompanied by success of its students, professional victories of alumni, achievements of colleagues,” says Nikolay Kropachev, Principal of St. Petersburg State University

Svetlana Gerbel, General Counsel RCA, Siemens LLC, thinks “the departing year is best remembered for diverse events changing with a kaleidoscopic speed. We had to change and adapt to changing reality. The year was challenging but interesting and eventful.”

“The departing year was remarkable for an active adoption of orphans in Russian families. In 2013 6,7 per cent more children were adopted compared to 2012. What’s essential is that due to our efforts people became less indifferent. Heated discussion of the Dima Yakovlev Law passed by the State Duma resulted in active social activity. Children's Rights Commission for the President of the Russian Federation completed a comprehensive inspection of all the orphanages in 83 entities of the RF. For the recent 3 years me and my colleagues have spent over 600 days in business trips and inspected more than 3 500 institutions. Finally, we got things moving. We have held the first in the history of Modern Russia the All-Russian Congress of Orphanages Managers that brought together over 1500 participants from all regions of Russia. At the same time, in 2013 we registered population increase and birthrate growth, and that’s very significant! If we have children, we’ll have future,” states Pavel Astakhov, Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation.

According to Senator Konstantin Dobrynin “the best news of the year is the amnesty and pardon to Mr. Khodorkovsky as mercy is a sign of any authority’s might. A headline case is the merger of courts. The funniest one is a scandal in the Ministry of Defence as we have finally realized that corruptionists are not some monsters from turbulent 90s but modern high-ranking officials. The scandal case was legal proceedings against Navalny showing that to make someone a federal politician it’s quite enough to sentence him to 5 years in prison and the next day change it to a suspended sentence. The most coordinated decision is to give government grants to human rights defenders as the state must finance people which protect citizens against it”.

Vladislav Zabrodin, Managing Partner, Capital Legal Services LLC, tells that the year was great. “We implemented many interesting projects and set new projects in motion. We worked actively at the civil code and the new PPP law. We also devoted time to development of the International Council of Shopping Centers in Russia and I was elected as member of its Executive Committee”.

For Alexandra Nesterenko, President of the noncommercial partnership RCCA, 2013 was an anniversary year: the RCCA turned 10 years. “On December 12, 2013 we had a Reception in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution and the 10th anniversary of the RCCA. The Reception brought together over 200 Vice-Presidents and Heads of Legal Departments and became a final chord of the triumphal way”.

Lawyers also mentioned their professional achievements. Glenn Kolleeny, Partner of Dentons in Moscow, said that his “most significant accomplishment in 2013 was passing the exam and being sworn in as an Advokat” while Martin Kenney, Martin Kenney & CO. Solicitors, “has been nominated by the Board of Directors of the 70,000-member Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (with members in 140 countries) (the “ACFE”) to stand as a finalist for the 2014 Cressey Award, the ACFE’s highest award, for lifetime achievement in fraud detection and deterrence.”

Margarita Gaskarova, LLM, editor-in-chief of the Legal Insight and Legal Success magazines, considered a unique project “Legal Business in Russia: 20+” to be her main accomplishment this year. “We gathered so much data that one could easily write a thesis! We tried the new data submission format to wit we made a documentary film on the Russian legal business development which, according to views statistics, aroused big interest of lawyers.”

Vitali Kastalsky, Director, Center of Intellectual Property Skolkovo, believes that “this year, surely, was keeping us up. The Intellectual Property Rights Court started working; there were many public assemblies among which St. Petersburg International Legal Forum had the lead, curious law enforcement practice, finally, abolition of the Supreme commercial Court. Not all of these events can be considered as positive; however, they kept us on the trot all the year and didn’t allow us to rest on our laurels. So, only a very intensive work permits a lawyer to remain a lawyer!”

“The year was memorable for the high quality and high level of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. Year by year, the programme becomes more varied and the audience wider — that’s the way to go! Besides, 2013 was an anniversary year for our Bureau; we were celebrating our 20th anniversary what’s quite remarkable for the young Russian legal market. The year was also prodigal of favours, professional awards and recognition. At least twice this year it was all our pleasure to open the ‘Vedomosti’ newspaper to make sure our Bureau and its experts are highly estimated. At the first time we learnt about the Best Lawyers Ranking: the Bureau became an absolute leader of the market being far ahead all the international law firms. Three partners of the Bureau were considered as the best lawyers in Russia in their respective area of practice. Moreover, it was very pleasant to wake up with a thought I became a champion in private recognition: Best Lawyer mentioned me in ten record fields of law. At the second time we were glad to learn the results of Ranking where the the Bureau’s leadership was proved true. It was good to get a high esteem from colleagues in preference rankings. There were many other pleasant moments both in respect of professional recognition and significant successful projects many of which were quite topical,” says Ilya Nikiforov, Managing partner, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners.

And of course, what we mostly expect in the New Year is that it’ll be better than the previous one! The participants of the Forum shared their impressions of the most original New Year’s presents and special greetings for their colleagues.

“Last year my family presented me a telescope and consequently, all the stars of the Northern hemisphere. I would like to wish my colleagues not to be sad because of the supreme courts’ merger!”

Ivan Novikov

Head of Legal Department, Ingosstrakh

“I would like to wish all our colleagues a successful and fulfilling 2014. I would urge that lawyers try to resist politicizing the law or viewing the development of legal systems as in some way a competition as it has been often described. There are no right and wrong legal systems. All legal systems are works in progress, constantly evolving and adapting. Of course I would like to wish all our colleagues the good luck to be able to come to the beautiful city of St Petersburg during the White Nights in 2014 for the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. I plan to see you there!”

Glenn Kolleeny

Partner of Dentons in Moscow

“In the West, we rarely exchange gifts to celebrate New Year’s. Here in the British Virgin Islands, we would typically enjoy New Year’s on White Bay, one of our most beautiful beaches, on the island of Jost Van Dyke. Warmest greetings from the British Virgin Islands – I wish all of my colleagues the very best of good fortune and joy for 2014!”

Martin Kenney

Managing partner, Martin Kenney & CO. Solicitors

“Every year the very atmosphere as we approach the holidays and pre-holiday fuss create an excellent climate regardless of presents. However, this year the best present was a closing of one of our very complex corporate transactions. I wish my colleagues to be more optimistic while not inventing the stagnation of the legal market.”

Andrey Goltsblat

Managing Partner, Goltsblat BLP

“I’m always happy to receive an interesting first edition book. With other presents I may feel a bit confused: don’t know where to put them while throwing them away is embarrassing… I wish my colleagues a lot of interesting and creative work. Intellectual breakthroughs. Recognition from colleagues. Acknowledgement from clients. Stable income.”

Sergey Pepeliaev

Managing Partner of Pepeliaev Group

“The most memorable present was a hammock made of cactus. The case is that once I was dreaming – and still dream – of my own house. So I was presented a cactus hammock which could be hanged up only in the yard of your private residence. I haven’t built a house yet and the hammock is just waiting in the wings but I do remember about this present and a person who wanted to get me closer to my dream. What I’d like to say to my colleagues – be curious and dare, so life will be always interesting for you and you’ll be able to achieve even more than you could ever expect.”

Svetlana Gerbel

General Counsel RCA, Siemens LLC

“The most original New Year’s present was the New Year’s holidays which came upon us a few years ago, do you remember? It was much unexpected and pleasant. Jokes aside, for me the New Year is a traditional feast. And the most important thing is to welcome it together with your relatives. That’s not original; a proper way, though. “Don’t relax your vigilance and be professionals not only in courts but at holding discussions on the pages of legal media. Respect each other and your profession.”

Vitali Kastalsky

General Director, Intellectual Property Center “Skolkovo”

“The most memorable moment of the year 2013 is learning that I am going to be a grandmother in May! My New Year greeting is to Deputy Minister Elena Borisenko and her colleagues at the Ministry of Justice - to recognize their work year-round toward bringing justice to all the citizens of Russia and for their work in building bridges of justice and friendship with all the Nations. A peaceful and prosperous year to you and your love ones.”

Susan G. Braden

Judge, United States Court of Federal Claims

“Once we celebrated the New Year in the Disneyland with our children. That was our New Year’s present to each other. It was unforgettable when at 00.00 on January 1, 2001 we became a part of the Disney characters’ Parade. Our children, as well as me and my wife, were absolutely thrilled! I would like to wish to all people and particularly to my colleagues, lawyers, health and energy to surpass all the problems we inherited from the October Revolution 1917. We should stop feuds both in private and political spheres and start creating and unifying! And remember the importance of protecting children without dividing them into yours and another’s. All children are ours! Remember that saving a child you save the whole universe.”

Pavel Astakhov

Children's Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation

“I believe that a New Year is a family holiday, and the greatest joy for me is to gather with my family members and wait for the Kremlin chime bells ringing hoping that the New Year will bring good luck and prosperity. I wish my colleagues good health, happiness, success and all the best!”

Valery Musin

Head of the Civil Procedure Department, Saint Petersburg State University

“Original present is not always a good present giving you joy. Apparently, the most original one was a New year’s “anti-crisis ration” consisting of freeze-dried food in a hard year 2008. Our work detained us in the office till the late evening, so this “meal service” was rather popular, and the present was not only original but also useful in the local “crisis” conditions of editorial life. It seems that lawyers in our country lack public recognition, so I wish all my colleagues attained merit grade of their work what can be done only while playing an active role in the life of society.”

Margarita Gaskarova

LLM, editor-in-chief of the Legal Insight and Legal Success magazines

“The present that is mostly remembered is not the most expensive one or that was chosen to amaze. The warmest impressions are left by hand-made or nonmaterial surprises. For the last New Year my colleagues from Gazprombank uncorked me a great surprise. Prior to holidays I had a lot of business trips and when I got back on one of the last workdays and entered my office I could hardly understand where I was. The office wasn’t simply decorated with the New Year’s flower arrangements or spangle; it looked like a true Christmas market. Lights were twinkling, artificial snowflakes were everywhere, and there was also a plate with tangerines and a gingerbread house. But pride of place surely went to the New Year tree decorated with toys my colleagues, as it turned out later, had made and painted the day before I returned. Frankly speaking, first off I thought about business meetings I was planning to hold in my office, but then I decided to risk and won: the festive and cosy atmosphere helped to dissipate tension and cheer up even the most serious meetings. As we approach the winter holidays I would like to wish health, prosperity and good holiday spirit and may all your dreams come true!”

Ekaterina Trofimova

Member of the Management Board, First Vice-President, Gazprombank

“The most important present, not original though, I would really like to get is seeing prosperity of my loved ones, friends and colleagues. Traditionally, Christmas and the New Year are the most long-awaited holidays. I wish the year 2014 would be, first of all, a year of creative growth for everybody. I do also wish my colleagues lawyers would attain legal certainty in the issues they are dealing with.”

Nikolay Kropachev

Principal of St. Petersburg State University

“This year doctors from Arkhangelsk presented me an anti-stress rubber man. I hope I won’t tear it apart before the next New Year. I wish in 2014 the role of legal corporation in our country would increase as the higher the role of lawyers, the stronger respect for law, and on the contrary.”

Konstantin Dobrynin

Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Judicial and Legal Affairs, Civil Society Development

“I hope my best present will be onwards. I got many curious presents but the most memorable are presents made by friends and beloved ones. I remember a present with greetings from past: a letter with ideas and best wishes was written a few years ago but I received it as time has gone on. I would like to wish many interesting challenges, drive and bravery to aspire to do great things.”

Vladislav Zabrodin

Managing Partner, Capital Legal Services LLC

“The most original New Year’s gift I get from our members is hundreds of warm words on the significance of the RCCA in their lives! May tomorrow be even more successful and joyful than today!”

Alexandra Nesterenko

President of the noncommercial partnership RCCA

“The most stunning present I was given by my Russian friends in St. Petersburg this year was the new issues of the Russian Yearbook of Legal Theory and the well-known journal Pravovedenie. It is highly astonishing how quickly they are reacting and answering to the newest developments on a worldwide scale. Taking into account the sum of all legal communications in our global legal world, it might be that in the development of law and justice, today, all societies in sum are growing more modern, but less Western. I do wish my friends in the Faculty of Law of St. Petersburg State University and elsewhere all the best in developing a point of view of their own. I do hope that our regular German-Russian seminars of the Moscow-St.Petersburg-Dialogue Group which have been held twice a year for several years now will be fruitful in the year to come 2014.”

Werner Krawietz

Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal “Rechtstheorie”

“Once on New Year’s Eve I was presented an official patent for my invention! It was put in a frame, to wit, my colleagues tried their best to decorate it. When I invented this original stuff (what this was, let it remain a secret, otherwise, you may try to find it in the database of Rospatent or Patent Offices of the USA, Chine and Europe), I played a joke saying ‘this stuff must be really patentable’. Basically, I received an evidence from friends and colleagues confirming the novelty of invention. In a word, I wish everyone to be on a roll!”

Ilya Nikiforov

Managing partner, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

“My most memorable accomplishment this year was attending and presenting a paper at the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum in May 2013, so far the wonderful gift at the Forum was a charge for my mobile. For the New Year I wish my colleagues good health and academic progress.”

Mohamed Sideek Seyad

Professor of Law, Stokholm University

Coming in the next issue

In the next issue of Digest on January 14, 2014 we will present you the interview with Maria Melnikova, Counsel of the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, on the future electronic technologies for notaries and topics to discuss at the Forum 2014, as well as the interview with Jean Tarrade, President of the High Council of French Notariat, and Philippe Armengau, President of the Regional Council of Notaries of the Appeal Court in Aix-en-Provence. In the Articles section you will find unique materials on the online marketing tips for notary offices, advocates and start-up law firms.