St Petersburg University has launched the 'Corporate Lawyer (LL.M)’, professional development programme where students will be able to acquire knowledge in the field of legal support for businesses and corporate enterprises.

The launch was announced by the Dean of the Faculty of Law Sergei Belov during the 9th St Petersburg International Legal Forum.

The developers of the programme note that the process of harmonisation of corporate legislation after the adoption of the 'corporate part' of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation in September 2014 continues at an extremely slow pace. A number of issues are still being resolved in different ways by special laws and norms of the Civil Code. At the same time, both the practice of litigation in corporate dispute resolution and the practice of supporting corporate procedures and transactions are still developing. That is why lawyers need to constantly update their knowledge in this area.

Sergei Belov announced that the programme will commence in October and will continue until mid-June. During this time, students will learn about new corporate legislation and current court practices, including the support of corporate operations and transactions.

The organisers point out that there are no analogous programmes in Russia: it is based on the LL.M model – the framework used to implement master's programmes abroad. Its main feature is interdisciplinarity. Students will study not only legal subjects, but also the disciplines that a graduate will inevitably need for work: management, financial literacy, and mediation.

'Corporations are large and living organisms, and a lawyer, in addition to legal issues, must understand the mechanisms of other business processes. Only a comprehensive approach will help us to find the right solution to legal problems,' said Evgeniia Romanovskaia, Director of the Centre of Additional Educational Programmes in Law at St Petersburg University.

Our students will have the opportunity to learn everything they need without having to spend several years of study, as required by a master's programme.

Evgeniia Romanovskaia, Director of the Centre of Additional Educational Programmes in Law at St Petersburg University

Specialists with a higher education in law or economics and at least one year of work experience will be able to join the programme. The programme will be of interest to members of corporate boards of directors, supervisory boards and executive bodies, and may also be of use to employees of corporate financial services, mediators and arbitrators handling corporate disputes. The training will be conducted by: employees and heads of legal departments of the largest enterprises and corporations of St Petersburg; academic staff of St Petersburg University and other higher institutions of law and economics; and judges of arbitration courts.

The retraining programme Corporate Lawyer (LL.M.) lasts 792 academic hours and consists of seven modules: ‘Business Fundamentals. Fundamentals of Business Management’, ‘Corporate Governance’, ‘Business Contracts and Practical Skills of a Lawyer’, ‘Regulation of the Securities Market’, ‘Tax Law and Tax Policy of the Corporation’, ‘Corporate Finance’, ‘Resolution of Corporate Disputes and Settlement of Corporate Conflicts’. The creators of the programme emphasise that the participants may choose only those modules that match their professional interests and, if successfully completed, receive a certificate of professional qualification on specific topics. Should they study all the modules and undergo final assessment, the programme graduate will receive a certificate of professional retraining.

'The programme implies a large amount of independent work by students in the form of practical tasks, solving cases and drafting documents. In other words, it is an applied study programme, which is very important in today's environment,' said Olga Makarova, Programme Coordinator and Associate Professor at St Petersburg University.

The courses will be provided in a variety of formats – face-to-face and distance learning. Students will be able to communicate with teachers online. This approach will allow students from the regions to join the programme and to minimise their time off work.