MOSCOW, December 1 - RAPSI. The legal community in Russia is in many ways closed and often retreats from the public eye, but the situation is changing thanks to mass media, participants of the "Law and Modernization: Experience, Prospects, Trends" international legal congress stated today. The congress is organized by the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/ and RIA Novosti.

"Unlike in the United States and Western Europe, the Russian legal community remains extremely closed. Lawyers in Russia prefer to avoid publicity, but the situation is changing and a painful transformation is underway," said Yan Piskunov, the head of the Gazprom-Media Legal Department and the Editor-in-Chief of the Zakon magazine.
Changes to the judicial system are also evident. It has become much more transparent, Piskunov observed.

Only due to increased media litigation reports have lawyers decided to act as experts and give commentary, the participants said.

The legal community is becoming more open and may reach the stage where lawyers will be able to independently raise and discuss issues causing their concern.

The "Law and Modernization: Experience, Prospects, Trends" international legal Conference opened in Moscow on Thursday. The two-day event is organized by the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) jointly with RIA Novosti.

Over 200 lawyers are expected to take part in the event. Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev and Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin opened the conference.

The conference's primary objective is to create a forum to launch a dialogue between the many parties affected by the legal sector, such as lawyers, economists, scholars and businessmen. Among the invitees are leading legal experts from the Justice Ministry, international law firms, business associations and legal publications.

The conference will discuss pressing legal issues in the global social, economic and political context. Priority issues of discussion will include legal business development and management, legal practice models, government policy measures to modernize the legal system and the activities of legal market players.