Institutional Professionalization of Lawyers in State-Socialism and Post-Socialism: Poland and Russia Compared
The paper compares institutional professionalization of legal professions – advocates and in-house lawyers – during the state-socialist and the post-socialist periods in Poland and Russia. The comparative analysis uses the conceptual framework of the sociology of professions. It shows that: (1) advocates were able to preserve a certain degree of collective autonomy and self-regulation during most of the socialist period in both countries; (2) Polish advocates were integrated at the national level than their Soviet and later Russian counterparts; (3) these institutional path dependencies determined the degree of autonomy and self-regulation in the post-socialist period; (4) the discrepancy between both countries is particularly pronounced in the case of the occupational group of in-house lawyers who were able to establish themselves as a self-regulated profession in Poland, but never made such an attempt in Russia; (5) there was a process of partial “advocatization” of legal professionals who practiced in-house during the state-socialist period. The term “advocatization” means a change in the form of professional practice from employment relationship to service-for-fee practice. This process could be observed in both countries, but it took very different forms due to the institutional differences described above.