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There’s a palpable sense of pride among the lawyers from Russia and other former Soviet republics now gathered at the third CIS Local Counsel Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Not only has the region achieved remarkable economic growth but the Russian soccer team has made it to the semifinals of the European Championships. “Today, Russia can say that it has one of the leading football teams in the world to go with one of the fastest-growing economies,” said Irina Paliashvili from Ukrainian firm RULG-Ukrainian Legal Group.

And now it’s time for the region’s law firms to have their turn in the sun. That was the message of the opening remarks from Dimitry Afanasiev, name partner and chairman of host firm Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners. Afanasiev said the conference should focus on pinpointing what he described as the “recipe for the successful independent or national firm in Russia or any other former Soviet Republic.” He praised the contributions of the U.S. legal market in training CIS lawyers — Afanasiev himself practiced in Philadelphia as a young attorney — but insisted that it was now time for the local firms to stand on their own two feet. “We have come of age,” he asserted.

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