For two weeks in late April and early May, Theodore Eisenberg, the Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law and an Adjunct Professor of Statistical Sciences, met with lawyers, legal educators, and students as a Rule of Law Fellow at Moscow State University. The fellowship, sponsored by the Paul Klebnikov Fund to provide opportunities for collaborative research between Russian and American legal scholars, followed a visit by Gayane Davidyan, Associate Professor of Law at Moscow State University, to the Law School in 2010.
"For me, the highlight of this trip was the wonderful work done by Moscow State University students on the Russian Constitutional Court," Eisenberg said. "Professor Davidyan and her students produced information on more than 600 Constitutional Court cases across diverse fields of law, including property, inheritance, criminal procedure, and election law. They studied the court's decisions to grant review of cases and the outcomes of the cases reviewed by the court. We hope to pursue this preliminary work to collaborate on a published article."
While in Moscow, Eisenberg met with the Vice Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court, discussed opportunities for student exchange programs at Moscow State University, and consulted with American and Russian attorneys working at the U.S. Embassy. Eisenberg also visited the Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, and gave a public lecture entitled "The Reality of Civil Litigation in the United States."
"The Rule of Law Fellowship is very important in promoting mutual understanding of our two countries' legal systems," says Eisenberg. "So much of the information foreigners have about our legal system is based on propaganda by business interests, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It is critical to foster opportunities for the exchange of reliable information, and by allowing American and Russian scholars to work together, our understanding of their legal system and their understanding of ours is greatly improved."