Digest 24

We are glad to present you the 24th issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest!

Please note that the deadline for nominations for the SPBILF Award “Contribution to the Development of Legal Integration in the Eurasian Space” is May 1, 2015. See more at Award.

You can subscribe to regular mailing list following the link.

Partners of the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum have prepared special evening to celebrate the event’s jubilee. Participants are invited to visit the most famous dining street in the city to meet old and new friends in an informal atmosphere. In dozens bars and restaurants all delegates will enjoy a series of unique themed receptions prepared by the Forum’s partners!

News of the Forum


Law firm Pen&Paper Rock-party
Bar “Saygon”
From 20:00

The legendary café “Saygon” was a symbol of the Leningrad underground and alternative culture of the USSR era. On the 28th of May, at 20:00 at Rubinshteina st. 1, the law firm Pen&Paper is waiting for you for a rock-party in the new “Saygon”. The spirit of the old “Saygon” will be called by DJ Re-Disco from the sensational rock-band “Two planes”. C’mon everybody! This is rock’n’roll!

Get your JAZZtice - join us at the Legal Drink evening
Jazz Bar 48 Chairs
From 20:30

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners invites you to join us for a Legal Drink evening full of fun & JAZZ.
To make sure you do full JAZZtice to what you see, taste and hear, we give you:

  • Welcome Drinks & Canapés
  • Special Performances from Amy PIETERSE and Candy Shop Band
  • DJ Set from EPAM Resident DJ Aleksey Carrera
  • Barmen Battle Show and many others

A Cleary Gottlieb cocktail party
“Geography” Bar and Restaurant
From 20:30 until the departure of the last guest

The Cleary Gottlieb team would be delighted to welcome participants and guests of the Forum to our event. Please bring your participant’s badge and/or your business card. Recommended attire is business casual.

Force Majeure Party
«Sardina» restaurant
From 20:30

The Kommersant newspaper and Hogan Lovells have the honour to invite you to the FORCE MAJEURE PARTY that will take place on 28 May 2015 at the Sardina restaurant at Ulitsa Rubinsteina 6/8.
Let us take you to the post-revolutionary and pre-sanctions worlds. Law, morals and codes – there will be a lot of surprises!
Dress-code: cocktail attire. We are looking forward to welcoming you!

Soul of grapes inside the glass by Iusland Law Offices
Bar “Wine Cabinet” (Winnyi schkaf)
From 20:30 to 22:00

Iusland Law Offices and Millesime Wine School are pleased to invite you for a wine tasting devoted to the great grape varieties. You will have an opportunity to discover in a new light the many faces of Chardonnay, noble Riesling and aristocratic Pinot Noir coming from the different wine regions. The surprise of the evening is blind tasting of a wine, the region of which origin our guest should guess for.

GBLP Legal Drinks
Café-bar “Les Enfants du Paradis”
From 19:30 to 23:00 (guest arrival time – 19:00), by invitation only

Soirée programme: light hors d'oeuvres and drinks, rare whisky tasting and much more, together with Goltsblat BLP partners and heads of legal departments of Russian and international companies

Latin-American party by YUST Law Firm
BARSLONA tapas bar
From 20:30

Dear colleagues! The Firm YUST invites you to a Latin-American party! Complete with whisky tasting, Spanish guitar and dancing. But the main thrill is a secret – for now… We will show that real lawyers can have fun even when there is a microphone, wearing a tie, and with PowerPoint! Join us!

Legal Drink by “S&K Vertical”
From 20:30

Tesla feat. Pontiac feat. the Indians + Managing Partner Sergey Slagoda on drums
Want to know what this means? Come and see!
The organizers shall not be liable for any losts and damages.

Legal Drink by law firm “Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners”
Place and time will be announced later

Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners will proudly present its unique version of the Legal Drink. We have prepared a program that will leave no guest disappointed. Follow posts at mzs.ru/en/spblegalforum.

Issues about in-houses work in business are particularly urgent nowadays, in era of innovations and new technologies, which is often called a “digital age,” as innovations have impact on all the areas of our everyday life and professional activity.

Alexandra Nesterenko

President, Russian Corporate Counsel Association


3.1. Legal Department in the Digital Age

Alexandra Nesterenko, President, Russian Corporate Counsel Association

The crux which heads of legal departments in Russian and international companies worry about is how to increase efficiency of the company’s legal department; how to fulfill larger amount of work using less resources; how to enhance quality of operation; what is the role of head of the department in organization of such work, and how CEO will consider the work of the in-house.

The Russian Corporate Counsel Association was to first to pose a question of legal department’s efficiency within the framework of its project entitled “Lawyers and Business.” This year the RCCA as always suggest discussing how an in-house should work in business at the SPILF.

These issues are particularly urgent nowadays, in era of innovations and new technologies, which is often called a “digital age,” as innovations have impact on all the areas of our everyday life and professional activity.

Very often, lawyers are proud of the conservative nature of their profession, but now it is time, perhaps, to start being proud of focus on innovation. Who has introduced more innovations and what is the result? Why are new technological legal tools so profitable for businesses? Why should a CEO introduce modern technologies in a work of a company’s legal department? How to convince him to do this? What are the main examples? How has efficiency of legal department and its head changed in the 21st century?

These issues will be addressed at our panel, and heads of legal departments from major corporations will try to find adequate answers. The following speakers will share their “recipes” of successful legal department architecture:

  1. Igor Maydannik, Vice-President on Legal Support, Rosneft OJSC
  2. Igor Kondrashov, Director of the Legal Department, Sberbank SIB
  3. Tatiana Odabashian, Legal and Compliance Manager, Heineken Breweries LLC
  4. James Turner, Manager of Legal Knowledge, Philip Morris International
  5. Ruslan Ibragimov, Board Member - Vice-President for Corporate and Legal Affairs, Mobile TeleSystems OJSC

As you may have noticed, the discussion features different industries, e.g. oil industry, banks, production, services, communications. For this reason the opinion of each speaker is crucial and, as in kaleidoscope, will contribute to the image of highly efficient and happy legal department. Happy, indeed, as once your work is productive and highly appreciated, satisfaction comes. Thus, our panel could also have a crossheading “Happy and Innovative Legal Department.”

I would also love to notice with pleasure that every year the RCCA panels attract a large and representative audience. The topics to discuss are suggested by in-house attorneys as important for them, so corporate lawyers always come to listen to us. Counsels are also interested in recent trends of legal department development. They seek for new opportunities to apply their skills and want to know what is important for their colleagues from in-house legal departments. The information gained at our round table will help them to learn which services lawyers can provide themselves (and the area of such services is getting wider), and when, on the contrary, they need help of other experts.

Attorneys will learn about the innovative initiatives of legal departments. In particular, in-house lawyers are interested in development of legal profession as such; they partake in creation of the Qualified Legal Support Conception and have their opinion on “advocacy’s monopoly.”

Notaries may explain how they can help a legal department to become more progressive and tell what they expect from contemporary in-houses to enhance mutual cooperation.

Finally, representatives of state agencies will learn where business is going, as business is its lawyers! They prepare legal report of a company’s activity and inform state authorities.

For this reason, it is my pleasure to invite all the guests of the Forum to the round table of the RCCA! Each person will find something useful for his or her professional and personal development.

See you on May 29 at 12:30!

Why and how law firms can and should consider the “product” approach

“The below example areas are but a few faces of noteworthy law-firm innovation”

Gerry Riskin


Embracing the Product Imperative

How often do we hear commands like “Innovate or die!” outside of the legal industry?

Product companies and even other professional-services firms are asked — perhaps even required — to “innovate,” largely in deference to the healthy paranoia they recognize drives all great businesses to higher levels of success. The legal industry, however, is in the very early innings of experimenting with innovation. Professional-services firms in general hate to invest ahead of revenue as compared with their product-company brethren — and to the extent that real innovation necessitates what are viewed to be distracting allocations of capital, law firms have been loathe to do much of it. We can also point to the DNA of lawyers themselves: they are risk-averse and typically want to see proof of concept before experimenting with any new business practices. Given the unique realities and history of the legal business, why is it now that we are seeing firms experiment with their business and operating practices? More importantly, how can later-adopter firms do their own form of innovation without operating on the bleeding edge?

Law firms are currently innovating across multiple dimensions of their business — product, internal processes, incentive structures, communication, etc. The below example areas are but a few faces of noteworthy law-firm innovation:

Practice group organization/positioning/definition

Law firms are great at projecting a marketplace identity that reflects their internal managerial priorities rather than the external realities of the markets and businesses they want to serve. Do businesses really think of themselves as “anti-trust businesses” or “complex commercial litigation businesses”? Of course not. As a general proposition, companies want to work with lawyers who are business peers as much as legal specialists; a law firm’s org chart should reflect this intersection. Firms that present an array of cross-disciplinary capability focused on particular industry sub-sectors resonate in the market place. A great example of this is the web site description of the Duane Morris “Franchise & Distribution Law Practice” which basically states loud and clear, “If you’re a business with any kind of complex supply or distribution chain, we ‘get’ you . . .” Duane Morris has put together a cross-disciplinary team to focus on this business demographic, including anti-trust, RE, corporate, and other regulatory practitioners.

Cross disciplinary products/capabilities

While there’s nothing really groundbreaking in firms that hold out an integrated cross-practice capability to the market, there is relatively little promotion of cross-disciplinary capabilities between law firms and other business-services providers/consultants. Law firms should look for opportunities to partner with industry-specific resources in executive recruiting, strategy consulting, accounting, commercial insurance broking, lending, and other areas. Firms might consider doing business with these providers by creating jointly developed and integrated “products” and assessments, and teaming up on some promotional activity to establish relationships with prospect businesses.

Become a front-end resource

Why should strategy consultants, risk management consultants, commercial insurance brokers, investment bankers, and other business advisers have a monopoly on the C Suite’s ear during the corporate planning process? Business people believe that legal issues are but symptoms of underlying (and more important) business issues — in many respects, legal issues don’t have freestanding importance to many clients. Lawyers should try to spend more time understanding the core activities of a business across all functional pieces of the business; i.e., ask for and review the business plans for each of these functional areas. Exhibiting an interest in this information is “attention getting” in and of itself, but law firms can do much more here in the form of risk prevention measures, compliance regimes, audit processes, and training. Another great example of a law firm focusing on the “business front end” is the M&A practitioner who becomes the quarterback of a post-acquisition integration process once the client has closed on a business acquisition. Normally the lawyer would leave the closing table and move on to the next dragon, thereby leaving the client to rely on the Bains and Accentures of the world to quarterback the post-acquisition integration process. This is a real opportunity for the lawyer to lead and maintain client relevance.

One word: products!

Many of the world’s most sophisticated non-law firm providers of professional services develop and promote productized versions of their wisdom to their market. Few could argue about the situation-specific, complex, and sophisticated nature of McKinsey’s work with Global 1000 executive management, yet even McKinsey markets some products to its prospect population.

Like other high level business-services providers, law firms should embrace the product imperative for a number of reasons, namely:

  • Pricing usually takes the form of a single one-time fee; clients like the certainty
  • Products = lots of reusable knowledge in the minds of clients. “If a law firm is willing to move away from the open-ended billable hour to support a fixed-price product, then it must be very facile with the legal substance and confident in its own understanding of the scope of this project”
  • There may be no better way to signal a firm’s expertise in a particular area than by creating a product that speaks to such area. The existence of a product is a form of self-validating (and perhaps transcendent) expertise in an area
  • Products speak to the presumed needs of a particular market, and therefore express a deeper understanding of discrete industries and company types.

So Product Up!

Gerald Riskin is a Canadian lawyer and Business School graduate with a global reputation as an author, management consultant and pioneer in the field of professional firm economics and marketing.

Coming in the next issue:

The next issue of the Digest to be launched on May 6 will feature the interview with moderator of the discussion session, as well as new article about trends in fashion and style with a legal focus.