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Open House

Where Lawyers Are Made


About the Open House Project

Lecture halls, corridors, the student cafeteria, etc., will all eventually become a ‘home away from home’ for prospective HSE students. We cordially invite you to a virtual tour of HSE. Current HSE students show you around campus through our website.

A piano in the cafeteria, photographs of fingerprints and Malevich prints on the walls – these are the types of interiors that law students of the Higher School of Economics are accustomed to. In the latest edition of the Open House Project, third-year undergraduate law students Alyona Geraschenko and Baira Bembeeva take us on an excursion to the Faculty of Law.

Address: 3 Bolshoi Tryokhsvyatitelsky Pereulok

How to get there: A 10-minute walk from the Kitai-gorod metro stop (exit to Solyanka Street). It is also possible to take trams 3, 39, or A to the Kazarmenny Pereulok stop.

History of the Building

Before the revolution, the section of land on Bolshoi Tryokhsvyatitelsky housing the five-story building of the HSE Faculty of Law belonged to the Morozovs, a prominent family of merchants and entrepreneurs.

In 1931, construction began on the Moscow Evening Machine-building Institute where the Morozov’s former estate was. But the school was only able to move into the building, which was being built especially for the institute, in 1962. By that time, the Moscow Evening Machine-building Institute itself had undergone several changes; namely, it had become the site of the Moscow Institute of Electronic Machine Building (MIEM), which was later renamed the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics.

In December 2011, MIEM became part of the Higher School of Economics, and three years later found a new home in the Strogino region of Moscow. Since 2015, 3 Bolshoi Tryokhsvyatitelsky Pereulok has housed the HSE Faculty of Law, which moved here from Malaya Ordynka Street, as well as the HSE School of Logistics.

The five-story building was constructed with a purpose in mind – to allow for maximum occupancy in its lecture halls, which are very bright thanks to the building’s wide windows. The building also features a beautiful foyer and spacious corridors. The inside of the building is divided into separate zones that facilitate the learning process for the various faculties. One of the most striking features is a set of two wide, symmetrical, stone staircases with spacious landings and stained-glass windows. These windows were installed after the building underwent a complete renovation in 1960. To learn more about the history and décor of 3 Bolshoi Tryokhsvyatitelsky Pereulok, visit its website.

Infrastructure

‘The first floor of the building has a cafeteria that has become very warm and cozy thanks to recent renovations,’ Baira says. ‘One of the walls is now decorated with huge panoramic black-and-white photographs of Soviet Moscow, and they’ve put a piano near the window that students can play. In addition, large boards were put in the cafeteria so that we can exchange short messages amongst ourselves. For example, we write congratulatory messages and wish each other a pleasant day. These are tiny things, but it really lifts your spirits. They sometimes put important information on the board regarding student life. The building has a separate cafeteria for faculty.’

The first floor of the building also houses the HSE sports department, as well as a fitness room and a gymnasium where you can practice wushu, hand-to-hand combat, rhythmic gymnastics, and physical therapy. To visit classes here, all you need are your workout clothes and your medical certificate.

The building’s auditoriums are also used for HSE’s Open Law School, which provides free classes to students in grades 7 through 11. The instructors are made up of high school upperclassmen, PhD students, and graduates of the faculty.

The law students share the third and fourth floors with students from the School of Logistics and the HSE Institute of Demography, while the second floor is a large assembly hall where all of the faculty’s official events take place. This is also where invited professors give lectures and where university-wide events are held, such as the Student Research Paper Competition.

‘In February of this year, the faculty’s Student Council teamed up with first-, second-, and third-year students to organise a huge ‘Prime Time’ concert in the assembly hall for first-year students. At the event, they showed what life was like in the faculty in the form of a colourful television show. This served as a second official initiation of sorts for students, and it was a rather big one [the first takes place in September at HSE Day]. In addition, prior to New Year, the internationally renowned expert in international law Martti Koskenniemi gave a few lectures here. The hall was overflowing with people,’ Alyona Geraschenko comments.

Lectures and seminars mostly take place in the fourth- and fifth-floor auditoriums. ‘There’s a magnificent view of Moscow’s historic centre from the fifth floor, while the fourth has a wonderful auditorium used for criminology courses. Near the door there’s a mysterious box with sand, and it holds gypsum footprints made from boots, as well as a researcher’s description. You can describe a person’s shape rather accurately using footprints, even if you have never seen the person. And hanging on the walls are black and white images of fingerprints,’ Alyona adds.

If students from the Faculty of Law have an open window in their schedule, the girls say, then the majority of people prefer to spend it either in the library, which is located on the third floor, or in one of the three computer labs on the second and fifth floors. These labs give students full access to Consultant Plus, Garant, and other legal resources.

Academics

Until recently, the Faculty of Law had one bachelor’s programme, and it was in Jurisprudence Studies. ‘In the first year, we mostly take required courses, but the amount you take decreases from year to year. We can also take electives, and this allows us to create our own individualised academic plan,’ Baira explains. ‘For example, in our third year we have between five and six required courses, but there’s only one in the fourth year and the rest are all electives.’

This year, the Faculty of Law is partnering up with the Russian School of Private Law to launch a new bachelor’s programme, Jurisprudence: Private Law, the main purpose of which is to allow students to have an area of specialisation starting their very first year.

Students can continue their education within the Faculty of Law by enrolling in one of its 10 different master’s programmes.

The popularity of the HSE Faculty of Law amongst applicants and employers can largely be explained by the fact that students gain applied skills in the faculty and are able to put them into practice right here.

The emphasis on practice comes from two joint departments that operate within the Faculty of Law. One of them is the Joint Department with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), which was created in 2005 and is headed by FAS Chief Igor Artemyev. Experts from the Russian FAS both instruct students and help them find employment.

The second joint department, in practical jurisprudence, allows practicing lawyers to work and share their experience with students. The programme took its form thanks to the efforts of Faculty of Law alumnus Sergey Savelyev, who oversees the programme.

This department is unique thanks to not only its top-notch teaching staff (which is made up of directors and lawyers from 26 leading foreign and Russian companies), but also to the special organisation of the department’s interior space. Natalia Maslova was the designer, and her sources of inspiration were works by Malevich currently at the Tate Modern in London, as well as the atmosphere of old London.

Research

A lawyer is not prepared to practice law without mastering the foundations of the legal sciences under the supervision of serious scholars. Aside from ten departments, including two joint departments, the Faculty of Law has research divisions as well. This includes the Institute for Legal Studies, the Laboratory of Theoretical Studies of Law and State, the Centre of Comparative Law, and the International Laboratory for Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law. The Faculty of Law’s Academic Supervisor, Anton Ivanov, is also the Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court of Arbitration.

The Department of Criminal Law and Criminology has been a leader in the quantity and quality of its academic publications for several years now. The department focuses largely on the study of materiality in criminal law, in particular as concerns economic criminal law, as well as comparative and international criminal law. The department also offers students a long list of disciplines related to criminal law for them to choose from. Two years ago, the Criminology Laboratory opened within the department, the focus being on gaining a better understanding of the nuances in the work of criminal law specialists.

The Department of Judicial Power and the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law are well known for their connections with various governmental bodies. Staff of these departments includes current and retired judges from the higher courts, staff from the Russian presidential administration, and other famous scholars and legal practitioners, such as Presidential Envoy to the State Duma Garry Minkh, Constitutional Court Judge Tamara Morshchakova (retired), and Federal Judge Sergey Pashin (retired).

The Department of Civil and Entrepreneurial Law appeared in the faculty two years ago after the merger of two separate departments. Aside from famous specialists from the field of private law, the department has a stellar teaching staff that includes various government representatives: the Russian Presidential Representative to the Constitution Court, a member of the Federation Council, and the State Secretary of the Russian Ministry of Justice. They play a role in making the decisions that determine legal policy and the contents of civil laws in the country. The department regularly holds academic conferences, round tables, and methodological seminars that students are also invited.

‘Our teacher Vera Rusinova, who recently defended her PhD dissertation, works in the Department of International Public and Private Law,’ Baira comments. ‘We like that the department actively invites foreign professors to lecture at [HSE]. This is a unique opportunity to learn about international practices first-hand. There is no language barrier. Several years ago, students of the department organised a club for developing legal English skills, and in February of this year, the team from the HSE Faculty of Law won first place in the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.