A delegation of five Russian attorneys received an inside look last week at Americas judicial system, highlighting the practices and principles underpinning the rule of law in the United States.

The group was participating in an exchange promoted by the Open World Leadership Center, a partnership program that builds U.S.-Eurasian cooperation and mutual understanding, according to Regan Watson-Krdu, program coordinator for the International Visitors Council Detroit.

Russia made significant rule of law gains in the early and mid-1990s, and passed major judicial and legal reforms in 2001-2002, Watson-Krdu indicated. Open Worlds rule of law programming is designed to build on the gains made during the 1990s, to support the implementation of more recent reforms, and to provide comparative insights into legal education, juvenile justice, and the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking and domestic violence.

The Russian attorneys included Zoya Malykhina, head of the legal department for the Troitsk Administration; Vladimir Zyablitsev, chair of the board for the Magnitogorsk Consumer Protection Association; Yelena Yegorova, a lawyer with the Humanitarian-Legal Center; Yelena Rylova, an attorney with the Interregional Bar Association; and Sergey Kosenko, head of the legal department for the Belgorod Region Department of Physical Education, Sports and Tourism. They were accompanied by translators Irina Jesionowski and Maria Sveshnikova.

During their weeklong visit to Michigan, the group visited Wayne State University Law School for a comparative analysis of Russian and U.S. constitutional law; the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, receiving an overview of the federal court system; the U.S. Attorneys Office in Detroit for an overview of the rights and responsibilities of the office; the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, receiving an introduction to the mission of the ACLU, highlights of recent cases, and a look at its advocacy and education work; The Detroit Legal News, touring its printing facility and gaining an understanding of the role of the media in the legal profession and in the U.S.; the State Bar of Michigan; the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center; the Oakland County Circuit Court; the Troy City Attorneys Office; and the Auburn Hills Campus of Cooley Law School.

They also met with officials at the District office of Congressman Gary Peters to discuss constituent services, according to Watson-Krdu.

Text by Tom Kirvan. Photos by Robert Chase.