Digest 03

We are glad to present you the third issue of the Digest dedicated to the results of the Guest Conferences under  the auspices of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

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“Our goal is to make every topic crucial and innovative from the viewpoint of exchange of unique skills, ideas and presentations”

Elena Borisenko

Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation

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1. This Issue is dedicated to the results of the Guest Conferences under the auspices of the Forum in 2013. For this reason, we would like to ask you about the significance of the Guest Conferences in general. How did this idea appear? What are the Conferences designed to? How do you choose the venue?

Since its foundation three years ago St. Petersburg International Legal Forum has become a relevant international event being considered by the global legal community as one of the main platforms where to discuss the issues of law and law enforcement. Last year the Forum brought together representatives of 63 countries, and 80% of the delegates were corporate counsels, bars and legal advisers what sustained the highly practical significance of the event.

After the three Forums we noticed the will of participants to continue the discussion on relevant important issues in a narrower bilateral format. Besides, discussions showed a number of common approaches in regulation of many issues meanwhile law drafts’ implementation and development stages differ from country to country. That is how we got an idea of having the Guest Conferences under the auspices of the Forum. Russia is developing dynamically; Russian legislation is also enhancing and becoming more open, attractive for investment and development of businesses. Nevertheless, information on these changes isn’t always available in the foreign states, and sometimes the data our colleagues acquire is corrupted and incomplete, with incorrect commentaries. This fact restrains economic relationship for it is the wrong legal risk assessment that doesn’t allow a transaction to succeed. In my opinion, an essential goal of the Guest Conferences is the first-hand presentation of the Russian legislation and law enforcement with a provided opportunity to pose practical questions to representatives of government agencies, judges, heads of legal departments of large companies, law firm partners. It is crucial that due to the bilateral conference format we can see the symmetric presentation of the partner country’s regulation what contributes markedly to experience of our delegates and makes them familiar with peculiarities of another country’s legal system from a practical viewpoint.

From the very beginning we have had an idea of making a dialogue between the best lawyers. Quite literally, I can say the Conferences gather ‘crème de la crème’ from the both countries what affords unique opportunities for building serious professional and business contacts. In 2013 St. Petersburg International Legal Forum visited the Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, France and Hungary. I shall mention that the Guest Conferences do also promote the Forum, attract new active successful participants. The questions discussed during the Conferences in London, the Hague and Rome were put on the agenda of the III Forum and made the programme much more interesting for all the participants. In general, the Guest Conferences proved their effectiveness, and in 2014 this initiative will be further developed. We are planning to hold a Conference in Kazakhstan, and Asia is considered as a top-priority direction of the year.

2. The topic of the each Guest Сonference is unique. In London speakers were addressing finances and investment; in the Hague – mediation and arbitration; in Italy – cultural heritage and its protection. In Paris you emphasized notarial system. How do you choose topics for the Conferences?

The format of the Guest Conference requires being very attentive to the choice of topics. We are interested in making a dialogue as fruitful as possible, and consequently, we choose a topic which will be attractive for the lawyers from the two parties of the Conference. We should also form a representative delegation of the Russian lawyers. These people are very busy and expensive; they wouldn’t spend their time on travelling just for fun. Such professionals would come only when they are sure they will learn new skills and make useful contacts. Our goal is to give opportunities of professional and corporate development that the discussion on the different states’ legal systems actually supports. Obviously, a choice of concrete topics is quite simple: where to discuss finance and investment if not in London? In the meantime Rome is a perfect place to debate on protection of cultural heritage.

The exchange of experiences and knowledge with foreign colleagues allows enhancing the competence of all the delegates. Why this goal is also so relevant is that skilled lawyers make basis for economic growth, improvement of public administration system, and any other good changes.

3. Every year the main Forum brings together approximately 3000 delegates. It is a massive success but there are still so many lawyers who are not able to attend the event. Do you plan to widen the Forum or to look for some other platforms, for example, online?

The popularity of the Forum is increasing from year to year. So, the audience also grows as well as the number of applications. The event will be expanding though we don’t plan to make it the largest one. It is more important that discussions are led by the first class lawyers, professionals of the same qualification level, whether they are law firm partners, in-house attorneys, ministers of justice or judges. We will do our best to preserve the high standards of discussions based on the speakers’ competence and experience.

For this reason one of the growth options is a search of some other platforms, for example, on the Internet. On 18-21 June discussion sessions will be broadcasted live online and after the Forum the videos will be available on the website. We do also pay attention to social networking services, as Twitter or FB, update information, and publish releases on the Guest Conferences, discussion sessions and meetings. The St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest is another online platform for communication with the Forum’s participants throughout the year.

4. In the first issue of the Digest Yuri Liubimov mentioned some topics which, according to him, will become the key topics to discuss at the Forum 2014. It is well known that in addition to classical topics the Forum usually brings up issues that have just started going into lawyers’ everyday life. What are the innovative topics to discuss at the Forum?

Basically, the programme of the Forum is almost ready. It really has classical topics, such as compliance, corporate practice, arbitration practice, M&A, standards of legal profession, finance and investments, competition and trade. As for innovations, there will be a new track entitled Smart Society and we are planning to discuss long-term, even prophetic issues like the future of intellectual property or legal aspects of the modern Urban Studies. Right now we’re working with moderators in order to define the list of speakers for every session as well as topics to highlight. I would like the Forum had no unexciting discussions. Our goal is to make every topic crucial and innovative from the perspective of exchange of unique skills, ideas and presentations and to provide conditions for the top-level discussions which will give all the participants a new impulse to develop and new tools to accomplish their goals. I do really hope we will manage to make a programme breathtakingly interesting. I suggest you sending your projects and ideas of presentations in the Programme Committee. This will help our moderators to choose the best ones and to make panel discussions really useful. And obviously I invite you to register as soon as possible. Everything presages that the Forum 2014 will be very special, particularly because it will be held during the shortest but the most mysterious white nights in St. Petersburg.

The paper on the changes in the Civil Code presented at the Guest Conference under the auspices of the SPBILF in Paris

Oleg Shilokhvost

Judge, Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation

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On November 15 two discussion sessions of the Guest Conference under the auspices of the SPBILF were held in premises of the High Council of French Notariat on Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg. The topic of the Conference concerned the key novels in the legislation of the Russian Federation and France regulating civil transactions and investments.

One of the speakers was Oleg Shilokhvost, Judge of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation. At the beginning of his speech he paid attention to the fact that France is a birthplace of the civil legislation and the Civil Code of the French Republic will celebrate its 210th anniversary this year. Oleg Shilokhvost congratulated French colleagues who used to be so careful to their civil legislation and preserved the Code for more than 200 years, and suggested the Russian participants being just as careful.

The paper by Oleg Shilokhvost was dedicated to changes into the Civil Code that are being drafted now. The speaker expressed his hope that by June 2014 when the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum would take place the changes would have already come into force and would be discussed at the appropriate session.

“The issues of law of obligations, particularly its general part, as compared to the Civil Code’s reform, were put to the background of legal and academic communities’ attention. Apparently, legislators had their own reasons for such a decision, but from the practical viewpoint, from the viewpoint of a judicial discretion and the possibility of proceedings’ unification and enhancement it seems to be not reasonable as the general part of law of obligations is a basis on which the regulation of the whole system is built, of both contractual and non-contractual obligations. So, I will dwell only on some of the most crucial – from a practical perspective – changes that are supposed to be introduced into the legislation.

First of all, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that rules which will make a correlation between different levels of obligations regulation are offered to be brought into the Civil Code. Today we have three levels of obligations: first of all, “general terms on obligations”, “general terms on agreement” and “terms on certain types of agreement”. Currently, neither theorists dealing with these issues seriously nor careful practicioners have no doubt surely, that even the special clause being absent these general terms on obligations as well as general terms on agreement are subject to application, not only to treaty obligations but also to other similar legal relations. As an example I can cite “restitutional relationship” when if a transaction is considered as invalid parties are obliged to return everything that was acquired in accordance with a contract. This statement does also concern corporate relations when a corporation must pay out money, say, as dividends. But very often, questions aroused, and in practice also, whether it is possible to apply to these relations what is written in the Civil Code in respect of obligations and treaty obligations. Now we are supposed to lay down the order of priority, as we say, “matrioshka doll” composed of these rules, stating that terms on certain types of agreements have precedence over general terms on agreement and correspondingly general terms on agreement have precedence over general terms on obligations. This “matrioshka” slightly changes when it is referred to non-defined contracts, to wit when there is no particular positive regulation of contracts used in practice. In this case it is general terms on agreement that prevail and general terms on obligations are subject to subsidiary application.

The whole range of currently absent clauses on model special contract constructions is supposed to be brought into the Civil Code, too. What is meant here is an alternative obligation, optional obligation, natural obligation as well as a considerable unification of all legal clauses concerning standard form contracts, contracts of adhesion, preliminary contracts, framework contracts and option contracts. Moreover, we plan to introduce such concept as subscribers’ agreement.

As for a standard form contract, for the moment this is the contract which a party that carries on business and deals with sale of goods or rendering of services shall make with everybody and shall not prefer anybody over other people addressing. This construction is quite wide-spread in practice. It often generates conflicts related to the fact that as a party obliged to make this contract the law mentions only commercial organization, meanwhile in practice individual entrepreneurs and non-commercial organizations do also take part in stream of commerce. Therefore, we plan to eliminate restrictions on the standard form contract’s subject matter. Moreover, there will be a clause stating that terms and conditions of this contract cannot differ for consumers falling in the same category. It is utterly important because this will really guarantee the equality of all the parties of the contract. There are citizens and customers, there are large commercial organizations, and peculiarities of their legal status shall be taken into account.

I would also like to turn attention to all the novels which are planned to be brought into the section which regulates liability for violation of obligations. One of the most crucial points to emphasize is the section concerning compensation of losses. Nowadays, the practice, unfortunately, is carried on in such a way that failure to prove amount of loss is sufficient to defeat the claim on their compensation. Currently, an important novel is being discussed which will oblige courts to prove the amount of losses discretionarily in the case when the very fact of infliction of loss is evident meanwhile the party laying a claim to compensation have certain difficulties with proving a certain amount. One of the most effective instruments to introduce is a concept of abstract and concrete losses.

The last thing I would like to mention is such a liability as compensatory interest for the retention of funds. It is well known that at the moment this interest correlates with losses, to wit they have reciprocal offset; however, correlation between interest for the retention of funds and forfeit is not being regulated. In practice this often results in recovering the amount that oversizes possible losses what, in turn, results in unreasonable gains in favour of a creditor. In this case we plan to introduce a clause stating that if the treaty stipulates such liability as forfeit, compensatory interest for the use or detention of money is not subject to recovering payment, except as otherwise permitted by applicable law or the contract.”

Working with Different Generations

“Most law firms, in-house counsel, and other legal employers have four generations of lawyers working together, and each generation has differing views on career development, motivation, loyalty to the employer...”

Joan Newman

Adjunct consultant with Altman Weil, Inc.

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Most law firms, in-house counsel, and other legal employers have four generations of lawyers working together, and each generation has differing views on career development, motivation, loyalty to the employer, client relations, communication styles, interactions with peers, and work life balance. The generations are different because of their life experiences and each generation’s perspective is important, credible, and relevant to them. For example, if you ask a traditional or baby boomer partner about younger associates who work with them, you will most likely hear grumblings about the associates’ lack of work ethic and their sense of entitlement. From the younger generation’s perspective, the older lawyers seem “out of step” with the world, have this “pay your dues” mentality, and a work ethic that compromises relationships with family and friends. These generational differences cause significant challenges for law firm management, and managing partners readily admit that generational differences are impacting everything in the law firm.

The next generations think differently, act differently, and value different things. The new generation of lawyers is not motivated by the same rewards that motivated the traditional and baby boomer lawyers. Although younger lawyers take their careers seriously and are willing to work hard, work-life balance is of equal importance to them. They use technology to their advantage and rather than work late in the office or on weekends as the generations of lawyers preceding them did, they are able to do their work effectively outside of the office. On the other hand, many older lawyers, who are shaped by their parent’s values of dedication, commitment, and a strong work ethic are not as comfortable with technology, and still think that if you are not in the office, you are not working.

The generational differences not only affect working relationships within the firm but also impact many other aspects of the practice of law, such as recruiting and retaining lawyers, professional development and training, retaining and developing new business, succession planning, relationships between staff and lawyers, and internal and external communications. It is important to your organization’s success in this ever changing and highly competitive market to understand these generational differences, learn from and value each generation’s perspectives and differences so that you can develop effective working relationships with each generation.

The following briefly describes the generations, what they want, and some tips on how to deal with them.

Traditional or Builders Generation (over age 68)

The Traditional or Builders generation lived through the Depression, World War II, and the Korean War. They watched their parents make tremendous sacrifices during those historic times, and as a result, they were shaped by their parents’ loyalty and commitment to organizations and work ethic. As a result, this generation of lawyers is extremely loyal, fiscally prudent, committed to institutions, and has a strong work ethic. They want challenging and satisfying work that uses their skills and expertise, a work environment in which they can enjoy their colleagues, formality in the work place, and a culture that appreciates them. Some tips for dealing with them are: include them in strategic planning, respect their expertise and experiences by utilizing them in mentoring and training programs for younger lawyers, and focus on the transfer of knowledge from them to younger lawyers. They want to leave a meaningful legacy – their experience, knowledge, and wisdom.

Baby Boomers (ages 49-67)

The Baby Boomers fall into two age groups; ages 60-67 and ages 49-59. The older group is often described as the Woodstock or flower child generation and they lived through the Vietnam War, Kent State shootings, the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy. They dreamed of social revolution and rebelled against the establishment and rules their parents created. The younger group of Baby Boomers was too young to fight in Vietnam and to participate in the social rebellion of the 1960s. Instead, they experienced Watergate, gasoline lines, the Iranian hostage crisis, and a faltering economy. As a result, Baby Boomers distrust many people in authority. When they emerged from college, they gave up their hope of social revolution and entered the establishment. Whether the Baby Boomer is in the older or younger group, they are the most educated of all generations so far. Baby Boomers are very ambitious, workaholics, materialistic, good at relationships, and intensely identified by their careers. Work became their identity. Older Baby Boomers want work/life balance and are beginning to think about how to re-invent themselves for the next step in their life. The younger Baby Boomers want challenging work, family friendly work environments, work/life balance, and state of the art technology. Some tips for working with Baby Boomers are: recognize them for their skills, contributions, opinions, and knowledge and use these skills in decision making for the organization; honor their historical memory; use them as mentors and coaches because they have excellent people and client relationship skills (much better than Gen X and Gen Y); challenge them continuously because they want new learning experiences; and train them in technology because it will help bridge the gap between them and younger generations.

Gen X (ages 33-48)

This generation is often referred to as the latch-key generation. Their childhood was consumed by Watergate, the energy crisis, the AIDs epidemic, sexual abuse at home and in day care centers, and “milk carton” missing children. Their world was scary without a war. Gen X parents were extremely permissive resulting in Gen X being the most unsupervised generation in parenting history. They are the first generation to face rampant divorce rates among their parents and they blame this on their workaholic parents. They were left to take care of themselves and grew up to become very independent, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial, and techno savvy. Their expectations of employer loyalty were shattered with the economic downturn after 911 and they realized again that they had to take care of themselves. They mistrust institutions and reject rules, and foremost, they are not team players.

Because of the divorce rate among their parents, they want work/life balance and although they are willing to work hard, they want to work smart, and not at the expense of their own life. Money is not their motivating force and they are not willing to pay the same price for success as their parents. They also want their employers to develop them professionally because their goal is to stay marketable. Finally, they want a friendly and fun work environment, variety of challenging work, constant feedback, and state of the art technology. Some tips for dealing with Gen X are: provide work/life balance options such as flexible work arrangements, constant feedback, responsibility on projects, training and development opportunities, and continuous communication on the organization’s vision and values.

Gen Y (under age 33)

This generation is referred to as the Millennial or “entitled” generation. They are the children of Baby Boomers and the younger siblings of Gen X. They grew up in scary times – 911, the Oklahoma City bombing, World Trade Center, and Atlanta summer Olympics bombings, the Iraq War, and Columbine and other school shootings. As a result of these childhood events, Gen Ys will tell you that their number one concern is for their personal safety. They have been tethered to their parents, often referred to as “helicopter” parents, who have hovered over, protected, and coached them since birth. In short, the world revolved around them and as a result, Gen Y is the most sheltered and structured generation in our country’s history. They are also the most technological savvy generation in our history, being the first generation to use email, instant messaging, and cellphones since childhood. They value work/life balance, a fun/casual work environment, diversity in the workplace, challenging and meaningful work immediately, and constant feedback. Many of them are relationally and materially untethered which affords them the ability to move from job to job if they are not satisfied and as a result, they want to be trained and developed so that they can remain marketable. Because Gen Ys have grown up highly structured, they find time management challenging so a key to working with them effectively requires clear goals, specific deadlines, and setting priorities. Gen Ys want their contributions and ideas to be valued and respected and they want their employer to demonstrate how what they are doing will contribute to the success of the firm. Finally, very few Gen Ys have any relationship with individuals outside their generation except their parents. Therefore, they would benefit from training and coaching on developing relationships and because they enjoy working on teams, this is a good vehicle to develop these skills.

Generational differences not only affect working relationships within the firm but also impact just about every aspect of the practice of law, such as relationships with clients and marketing efforts to current and prospective clients. How a law firm addresses these intergenerational differences is critical to its success and the recruitment and retention of associates. So how does a firm create an atmosphere where generations work side by side, learning from and valuing each other’s perspectives and differences? The firm must first recognize that these intergenerational differences exist and then it must educate each generation about the other to help bridge the gap. Finally, the firm must find creative and innovative ways to address these differences in all facets of firm governance and administration.

Joan M. Newman is an adjunct consultant with Altman Weil, Inc. She specializes in coaching law firm partners and associates as well as in-house counsel to improve their leadership and professional skills. Her coaching enables lawyers to distinguish themselves in firm and practice group management roles, business development efforts, and relationships with colleagues and clients.

© 2014 Altman Weil, Inc, www.altmanweil.com. All rights reserved

Commentary on the Article on working with different generations

The classification of generations with due regard to the Russian reality

Mark Rozin

President of the Ecopsy Consulting

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The article we are happy to present you is written by an American author from the Altman Weil, USA, and the information on generations is based on the history of culture development in the US. For that reason we asked Mark Rozin, President of the Ecopsy Consulting, company specializing in HR Consulting, to comment the classification with due regard to the Russian reality.

Mark Rozin: “The article depicts a classical American generation model. This theory is very popular nowadays as it reflects national and sometimes even international trends, the latter being equal both for the USA, Russia and other countries. The brightest example is Y-generation. It is international and all its main features are fairly well applicable to our country, at least in respect of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Y-generation has the strongest differences and it is of the biggest interest for managers today.

The previous generations, namely X-generation and baby boomers lived when the globalization was not in process, so they have American national features mainly. But even under these terms we can find something in common. For example, all the postwar generations whether they are from Russia, Europe or the US will have common features. Representatives of the X-generation do also have much in common, but our Xs are unique as they were born, studied and, probably, started working in the USSR and so, they witnessed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A lot of people have changed their career and way of life drastically, many of them became entrepreneurs. It sets a seal on the whole generation.

While using the data from the article I would strongly recommend you not forgetting two things. First of all, you must remember every theory generalizes facts considerably. The data depicts certain types peculiar to certain generations but can’t describe all the people. Secondly, the article as the theory itself doesn’t differentiate features typical of a generation and features typical of a certain age. So, if we look at the X-generation 20 years ago, there is a strong possibility that it would have some features of the modern Y-generation. You should take into account that certain features are purely age-related and they may disappear, eventually. Basically, the Y-generation is the most interesting one! You should be ready!”


News of the Forum

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  • Representatives of 17 states have already registered for the IV Forum including Ireland, France, Great Britain, Belgium and Germany.

  • SPBILF Partner, Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) has the pleasure to invite you to participate in the Х Annual Legal Forum – “Development of Legal Services Market in Ukraine – 2014” on 21 February 2014 (Intercontinental Hotel, Kyiv, Ukraine). Please use this link to check the preliminary programme http://uba.ua/eng/events/1160/.

  • On January 16, 2014 during the meeting between the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation Alexander Konovalov and Minister of Justice of the Italian Republic Annamaria Cancellieri a cooperation programme between the two Ministries was signed for the years 2014-2015 including a number of Russian-Italian seminars on the issues of notariat and advocacy, as well as the participation of the Italian Ministry’s delegation in the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

  • Deadline of early-bird registration: March 31, 2014.

Coming in the next issue:

In the next issue of the Digest on February 12, 2014, you will find tips on your business development plan by Mike O'Horo, expert in legal sales and marketing and the article article by Lynn Foley, legal marketing and professional services consultant, on how to get your marketing budget right.