Last year, South Ural State University entered the 5-100 Project. Within the university’s reorganization, the university formed a zone for the elite training of various specialists. There were serious changes to the SUSU Institute of Law. Ambitious and promising applicants were placed into a special group with more difficult study of a few subjects. Director of the new institute Aleksandr Klassen spoke with us about the other changes that happened at the Institute of Law and how legal education is being held now.
– Aleksandr Nikolaevich, what is the structure of the Institute of Law like today?
– Last year it was formed putting together two large departments at SUSU –Legal and Educating Law Enforcement Employees. In this way, we brought together our intellectual capacities, research, and academic laboratories of all eight departments of law at the university where more than 3.5 thousand full time and part time students and post graduates study. In addition, the Institute of Law includes the Legal Clinic, three research centers, and two criminal laboratories. Since the professors offer their subjects for all of the institute’s students, we can say that SUSU now has unified legal training.
– What changed in the lives of students and teachers thanks to the reorganization?
– The unification of our methodology, without a doubt, positively affected the quality of our academic programs. All the best traditions and developments that were created in the faculties are now used for training students of all the legal areas and specialties. Students have the chance to work with highly qualified specialists who are completing specific research in the subjects being taught. Students, in turn, can share their experiences with one another. The sphere of communication expanded significantly, I would say that student life has become more rich and interesting.
Students self-manage at the Institute of Law. You might say that this is its own state. By vote a constitution was accepted, there is a president, student council led by a chairman, an Administrative Chamber, a Student Research Chamber, and a legal bureau. The rules and regulations of these bodies are developed and managed by the students themselves.
– What new things will appear in the coming academic year?
– We opened applications for the in-person/in absentia form of education for the degree in Legislation in civic and criminal law. Bachelors students in this program will spend less time in the class room, enabling them to concentrate on research and gain practical skills in the legal profession while they are still studying. And, of course, we will continue offering education to students in the elite training group who are now in their second year of education.
– What kind of specialists are trained in the Institute of Law within its academic programs?
– We provide training for all levels of higher education: bachelors, specialists, 13 mater’s programs, and 8 research specialties in post-graduate studies. In the current admissions campaign, by the way, there are state-funded opportunities for all.
If we speak specifically on each area, then the bachelor’s programs choose applicants who want to receive universal legal education. In the future, as a rule, will continue their education in the master’s degree of the same program, geared towards a particular chosen professional area in law.
The people who intend to tie their lives to service in law enforcement bodies choose the specialty “National security law” and “Law-enforcement activity”.
There is a special place for “Forensics”. SUSU is the only Ural region university training such specialists. It does this at the highest level thanks to special laboratories and modern software. This year the second graduation will be held already and new state-funded spots will appear. Across all of Russia there are only twenty institutions of higher education offering forensics training.
– Over the years of the department’s existence, it has become one of the leading “forges” of legal personal in the South Ural region. Why do applicants choose the SUSU Institute of Law?
– Our teaching staff is our pride. There are more than 20 doctors and 80 candidates of legal science working in the Institute of Law. Leading international researchers come to the university regularly with lectures. Students have the opportunity to choose various legal specialties and profiles. All of the conditions have been formed to allow them to have good results in science, sport, and art while studying. Proof of this is the numerous victories of our students in Russian student legal Olympiads and competitions and high placements in international conferences. Within the 5-100 Project we also offer in-depth study of foreign languages, international internships, and study abroad.
– How is the academic process at the institute built?
– Everything occurs on two fronts. The first is our classrooms which meet all of the modern requirements, and special forensics laboratories and polygons. For example, we have a model courtroom, classrooms, computer labs, a multimedia auditorium, and much more.
In addition to lectures and seminars, students actively participate in research occurring within our departments and in the research collectives of the Center of Private Law and the Center for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime.
In addition, the students train at the legal clinic, where free consultations in all legal questions are offered to all residents of the city. This allows them to receive the necessary practical skills which will benefit them both in academics and in their future.
– Aleksandr Nikolaevich, you mentioned a few times the elite training group of lawyers. What is this, and who is in this group?
– Within the reorganization at the Institute of Law last year, an elite training zone for lawyers was opened, called the High law school. This is a separate group into which ambitious applicants with the highest EGE points were placed. The final decision was made by the students themselves. They were told immediately: compared to their colleagues they would have to work much more; the load was increased to 36 hours.
The desire to receive quality education and work with the most experienced professors has already shown results. At the end of the first year of education, the elite group of the Institute of law is totally successful – all students passed their exams with a “good” and “excellent” mark. Each of them tried out research work within various practical conferences. Do you know what the best thing is? Despite their increased workload during the year, no students have expressed a desire to leave the elite group.
– How does the academic process at the High Law School differ?
– The most important is more in-depth training in the main legal disciplines. This means in-depth study of foreign languages including legal language, the theories of state and law, civil, criminal, constitutional, and administrative rights, and also all types of legal proceedings throughout the time in the school.
In their senior years, students of the High Law School are able to choose special disciplines at their discretion, for example – spend more time studying questions of public service or criminal and civil issues.
An active position on life and an ability to empathize are important qualities for a lawyer
– Student life is not just science. Does the Institute of Law have any of its own traditions?
– Of course, and many of them. For example, in the beginning of the academic year, the first-year students meet up outside of the city for teambuilding. This is the first step in creating a cohesive student body. Over the four days that they spend at the SUSU sports and wellness complex, yesterday’s schoolchildren get to know each other and the special characteristics of university student life. Practicing lawyers come to visit them and share the secrets of their profession.
In general, I believe that legal students are special people. They are very responsible and prone to compassion and empathy. Each year, they actively participate in the charity fair held at the university. The funds acquired are sent to the children’s regional onco-hematological treatment centers for the purchase of toys and art supplies.
We also regularly visit the student philharmonic, to which the university leadership invites leading touring Russian bands. Each year we try to add something to our collection of traditions. We’ve studied dances from the 18th and 19th centuries and listened to lectures in etiquette and cultural behavior. Per the numerous positive reviews, we have decided to make these events traditional.
– What kind of sport and cultural accomplishments do students of the Institute of Law have?
– A lot of attention is paid to sports. This year, for example, the institute’s team took first place in the second sub-group of the university Olympics. In general, future lawyers and experts are students with an active lifestyle who love and are able to understand literature and art. We note with happiness how they are constantly improving. They participate in university cultural events with joy. The Institute of Law team has always performed well at the university talent show. Our students are always participating in and receiving awards at the Student Spring festival.
– How does the university help its graduates with employment?
– Considering that our students have the chance to complete practical training in all governmental bodies where legal knowledge is required, there are almost never issues with employment. Employers constantly turn to the institute’s directors, wanting to hire graduates of the SUSU Institute of Law.
– Does their practical training begin from the first year? What city structures do student lawyers end up at?
– Yes, this allows students to see the possibilities of their professional training. Many of them try to determine their future while they’re still sitting in the classroom. For example, they combine education while working as volunteers at the district prosecutor’s office, offices of the Russian Federation Investigative Committee, and the internal affairs bodies.
Students obtain the practical skills of the legal profession by completing all kinds of practical training with employers of our region that partner with the Institute of Law. This includes the Chelyabinsk regional court, the Chelyabinsk regional prosecutor’s office, the directorate of the Chelyabinsk regional RF IC, the main office of the Chelyabinsk region department of justice, the Chelyabinsk region main department of internal affairs, and others. During these practical lessons, they can determine their future career and being working right after receiving their degree.
– Where do graduates work? What opportunities are before them?
– To be honest, it’s difficult to name any legal body where our students have not worked. This profession offers many opportunities in your career and for a successful life. At this time you can find our graduates among judges of the Chelyabinsk Regional Court, the arbitration and appellate courts, district courts, and among international lawyers. Our graduates are also employed in organs of the prosecutor’s office, internal affairs, investigation committee, and the FSB.