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Digest 23

We are glad to present you the 23d issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest!

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St. Petersburg, former capital of the Russian Empire, is one of the most beautiful cities of Russia and Europe and the biggest northern city in the world. Don’t lose your chance to learn more about St. Petersburg during St. Petersburg International Legal Forum!

News of the Forum

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St. Petersburg, former capital of the Russian Empire, is one of the most beautiful cities of Russia and Europe and the biggest northern city in the world. It was founded in 1703 on the banks of the Neva River and the Baltic Sea and became a window through which one can look at Russia and, at the same time, Russia looks at the world. Don’t lose your chance to learn more about St. Petersburg during St. Petersburg International Legal Forum!

Organizing committee is happy to introduce you optional tours that discover St. Petersburg from the absolutely new perspective. You will see the city being substantive, magic, romantic, get acquainted with wonderful stories of its citizens...

The tour “Venice of the North: boat trip along rivers and canals of St. Petersburg” is included to the delegate package. To apply for the tour please forward the request to tour@spblegalforum.com till May 1st, 2015.

In the section Sightseeing Tours you can find a lot of tours options. To order a tour or create an individual programme please use the same email address.

Official and recommended Forum hotels provide special rates for participants of the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, be sure to book a room in your Personal Office!


“For law firms and corporate legal departments, pro bono work plays an important role in training and motivating lawyers”

Glenn Kolleeny

Partner, Dentons
Moderator of the session 3.2. Globalization of Pro Bono

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What determines the urgent character of the issues discussed at your roundtable?

In the current economic conditions, it is more urgent than ever to assure that people with lesser means as well as charitable and other non-commercial organizations have access to first class legal services on a pro bono basis. For law firms and corporate legal departments, pro bono work plays an important role in training and motivating lawyers.

What are the main issues to be brought up for consideration?

In most countries there are regulatory and tax issues concerning pro bono legal services that must be addressed. Rules are also needed to assure that ethical standards (avoidance of conflicts of interests, protection of client confidential information, etc.) are maintained as well as to maintain quality control. In addition, new approaches are needed to incentivize lawyers to devote a portion of their time to pro bono publics work. An example of this is the New York State Bar Association rules requiring law students to devote 50 hours to pro bono work. Many firms have now established pro bono partners and pro bono work is recorded and treated the same as billable work. Is it necessary or advisable to require mandatory pro bono work?

Whom could you recommend to attend your panel?

This session will be of greatest interest to lawyers in Russian and International Law Firms, heads of corporate legal departments and educators specializing in clinical legal education.

Would you like to distinguish any speakers who are going to give speeches at your roundtable?

We are honored to confirm that Senator Konstantin Dobrynin, formerly managing partner of a leading law firm in St. Petersburg, will be a speaker at the pro bono session. Among other speakers are Mathias Fischer, Counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP; Ozgur Kahal, Pro Bono Counsel Europe, DLA Piper France LLP; Dmitriy Samigullin, Managing Partner, Law Office "RBL"; Dmitry Shabelnikov, Head of Russian Branch, The Global Network for Public International Law Institute (PILnet).


Find more about new TV series dedicated to the lawyers in the fashion column with a legal focus

“Each episode of the Shark TV series has an exciting plot totally absorbing viewers. Legal dramas here are closely connected to detective stories, as opposed to many other legal shows where investigation of crimes functions merely as a background”

Lesya Mikhailovskaya

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A few words about the author. Lesya Mikhailovskaya – fashion journalist and stylist. Worked as a fashion director in the In Style magazine, Elle, Citizen K and as a creative director of L’Officiel magazine. Now she is a fashion columnist of the Vogue.

The Shark TV series premiered in 2006 and has aired, which is a big pity, for only two seasons. Sure, there were some reasons to stop the production of the series, which are unknown to viewers, for whom, I believe, the show was a pure pleasure for many reasons.

The first and the main reason is James Woods, star of the Once Upon a Time in America, as Sebastian Stark, whose nickname, Shark, is explained by assonance of his name and likeness of his character with a sea beast. The second important reason is a brilliant script. Each episode has an exciting plot totally absorbing viewers. Legal dramas here are closely connected to detective stories, as opposed to many other legal shows where investigation of crimes functions merely as a background. This is quite obvious, as characters of the majority of legal series are attorneys, while in this case the main character is a public prosecutor. To be more precise, Stark used to be a successful defense attorney, but he decides to change his career after a client he has previously defended against assault charges kills his wife just a few days later. Guilt and deep remorse of Stark, who, at the first sight, is very cynical, is one of the main lines of the script and following it is as interesting as following investigation of crimes.

There is yet another attraction in this show. The action takes place in Los Angeles, which is, to be honest, a parallel reality. LA is not a megalopolis, as NY, Boston or Chicago where legal series are usually filmed. It is not a Single-Storey America either, with its illusive well-being, which hides sinister secrets. It is even not a city, rather a few settlements dispersed across hills. Here you will see no streets with pedestrians, only highways with roaring cars, and thus there is no usual urban landscape with coffee shops, restaurants, shops and cinemas. A few skyscrapers and urban buildings look like scenery for a Hollywood movie, set up on endless Californian fields. This is how LA looks in reality and this strange feeling of an artificial city is shown in the series. LA is in fact a resort with boundless beaches, wind from the ocean and endless parties, an ideal setting for a crime.

The atmosphere of the resort town explains a lot and has its impact on dress code as well. Here everything is less formal, sometimes even too immodest. Even in public prosecution office there are more colours and more naked bodies. In the first episode, Jessica, Los Angeles District Attorney, appears in a white trouser suit and in the next episode – in a bright red one, both looks being impossible in NY or Boston. Men are also not always in suits and ties. Sometimes they wear jumpers and white T-shirts, which definitely show off their beautiful tan. Women are relaxed as well. Sure, there are some limits, but still there are plunging neckline tops, transparent silk blouses and soft dresses showing off good figures. Even business suits which they wear in a court feature some elements of the Hollywood glamour: skirts are short and narrow; jackets accentuate waist and breast, while heels are almost reaching the sky!

However, it is the main hero, Sebastian Stark who is the main fashionista of the show. After boring men suits from series where the characters live in NY or Boston, Stark is a real dandy. He wears elegant jackets with slightly sloping shoulders in accordance with Italian style, long collared shirts, and ties matching with suit or shirt which was very fashionable in the middle of the Noughties when the show aired. The ties are tied in a soft knot, which is also a very Italian detail. In addition, Stark always has a kerchief in a lapel pocket. Sometimes this kerchief traditionally matches the tie, but sometimes it is made from the same fabric as his shirt, and this innovative and sharp element functions as Stark’s “identifying insignia.”

Stark, for sure, is a rebel. In his work he often uses “outside-the-box” thinking and always gets brilliant results. And his dandyism makes him even more charming. Stark is proud of his panache. Thus, for example, having an argument with a dull investigator, he flings off: “I’ll give you a phone number of my tailor! These lapels went out of vogue with the era of disco!” and this sounds as a big insult in his mouth.

Yet, however much Stark would differ from his colleagues, there is an element, which unites all of them as products of the Californian style. All of them, both men and women, wear leather coats and jackets, doesn’t matter whether they are elegant or sporty. And, one would agree, leather jacket is a distinguishing feature of LA, city of Hollywood stars and rock musicians, for whom leather dress is almost a uniform. Nevertheless, another important element of LA, jeans, is not featured in the show, though this city is regarded as a jeans industry capital of the US. Only one person appears wearing jeans in the series and this is, for sure, Stark himself, who else if not him? By the way, these particular episodes justify that he is an American. Whatever Italian his look might be with all these suits and soft ties, he will pair jeans only with a sporty leather jacket, but never with a blazer, as European dandies do.

In this TV show not even America as such, but California and Los Angeles look like another planet and the main hero, Sebastian Stark, is almost an alien. And to be honest, this impression is charming. Impossible to resist.

© 2015 “CC “SPBILF” Ltd. All rights reserved.


Coming in the next issue:

The next issue of the Digest to be launched on April 22 will feature the interview with moderator of the discussion session, as well as the article by Gerry Riskin “Why and how law firms can and should consider the “product” approach”.