The legal profession of Grodno region, as well as legal profession of Belarus, has deep historical roots and traditions. For the first time rules of law about lawyers and their activity appeared in the Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania of 1529 – the first full code of a feudal law of Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Essential additions in the mentioned Statute, concerning legal profession, were brought in 1566 and 1588. Lawyers then were called as "procurators". In addition to the Statute of 1566 rules of lawyer ethics were formulated, the responsibility for violation of the duties by lawyers was established ("doing harm" to the client), obligations of court to appoint the lawyer to the one who needed it were defined. Addition to the Statute of 1588 contained rules of law about rendering a free legal assistance to widows, orphans and poor people. The Statute worked till 1840.
The territory of the Grodno region was a part of the state – Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the capital in Novogrudok, therefore Grodno region by right can be considered as that part of Belarus where for the first time the institute of legal profession found the legal regulation.
Novogrudok due to historically developed conditions for a long time was the capital of justice of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Even after the capital of the state was transferred to Vilno, meetings of the Supreme court – Tribunal of Grand Duchy of Lithuania took place in Novogrudok.
Therefore Saint Michael the Archangel, who holds a sword in one hand, and a bowl of scales of justice in another, is represented on Novogrudok's coat of arms. Novogrudok region presented to the country the whole group of "pioneers" - the outstanding human rights defenders, who stood at the origin of the legal profession. At the beginning of the XIX century 12 lawyers were engaged in lawyer activity in Novogrudok.
Due to their high level of professionalism, education and civic position they approved the importance of their profession, have earned the respect and prestige of advocacy. They believed only patriot of his homeland, who put the rule of law above everything could serve impeccably to a chosen profession.
Mickiewicz's family adhered to such beliefs. This surname got a world fame, undoubtedly, thanks to the genius of the great poet – Adam Mickiewicz.
For the Belarusian legal profession representatives of this family played not less significant role, than Adam Mickiewicz in poetry. The grandfather of the poet Jan Mickiewicz, the father Nikolay Mickiewicz and the elder brother Frantisek Mickiewicz were lawyers. Nikolay Mickiewicz who directed legal profession was the most outstanding human rights defender from Novogrudok region 12 lawyers. In his house Adam Mickiewicz's museum is located now, in another his house where then his managing director lived in, the court and legal consultation took place until recently.
In the same period the famous humanist lawyer and writer Ignatius Jackowski was also engaged in human rights activities in Novogrudok. These people were united by unity of progressive views about a right role in society, about need of observance of the principle of equality of all before the law.
On March 19, 1921 in Riga the peace treaty between Russia and Ukraine on the one hand and Poland on the other hand was signed, on which Western Belarus, including the territory of the Grodno region, went to Poland.
In the period of 1921-1939 the advocacy acted on the territory of the Grodno region. So, lawyers were united in Grodno. This Lawyer formation included local lawyers and lawyers, who have moved there from Poland. For a long time during this period Józef Dombrovo was the head of advocacy and Gorbachev, Kozlowski, Shafalovich, Makal, Litvinov and others worked as lawyers.
On June 26, 1922 session of the Central Executive Committee of BSSR adopted Regulation on Advocacy of the Republic. This date is considered to be initial in the history of legal profession of Republic of Belarus.
After release by the Soviet armies on September 17, 1939 the Western Belarus, lawyer bodies started being created and operate on the territory of the Grodno region similar to what acted on other territory of Belarus. During the German occupation from June, 1941 to July, 1944 the advocacy didn't work.
It is necessary to consider September 26, 1944 as day of the beginning of post-war history of advocacy of the Grodno region.
This is the day, when an appointed as a National commissioner of justice of BSSR Chistyakova Nadezhda, who fulfilled the duties of the chairman of organizational bureau of the Grodno Bar Association, held meeting of organizational bureau at which the decision on creation of the Grodno regional Bar Association was made.
The first lawyers, who were sent here, were accepted in her members: Zolotukhin Alexey, Seredevsky Vasily, Chernitsky Vadim (all three were appointed as lawyers of Grodno) and Fedorov Andrey, who was appointed as the Head of legal consultation of the Volkovyssk area.
At the next meetings of the mentioned organizational bureau new faces were accepted in members of Bar with their direction for work to larger cities and the regional centers of Grodno region.
Accordinng to the order of the National commissioner of justice of BSSR on July 23, 1945 Stasevich Nikolay was appointed for acting as the chairman of organizational bureau of the Grodno regional Bar Association, and then in November, 1945 he was approved as the first post-war chairman of Presidium of the Grodno regional Bar Association and in this position he worked till February, 1948.
In the subsequent as chairmen of Presidium of the Grodno regional Bar worked:
Zolotukhin Alexander – April, 1948 - May, 1954;
Kozhakin Stepan – May, 1954 - May, 1958;
Shivenev Daniil – May, 1958 - April, 1978;
Hvesenya Mikhail – April, 1978 - April, 1987;
Chernik Vladimir – April, 1987 - March, 2008.
Since March, 2008 the Grodno regional Bar Association is headed by Belaya Larisa.
The quantitative structure of members of the Bar is annually replenished; by 1947 legal consultations were created in all the areas of the region.
In cases when for a certain period any consultation remained without constant lawyer, lawyers of the neighboring areas were temporarily assigned to this area.
Organizationally the Bar got stronger when the chairman of Presidium of the Grodno regional Bar Association was Zolotukhin A. However basic changes on organizational strengthening, good personnel replenishment, on increasing of authority of legal profession and in a certain measure on material support of legal consultations occurred during the period when Shivenev D. was the chairman of Presidium of the Bar. With election of Hvesenya M. as the chairman of Presidium of the Bar, the work to improve professional standards of lawyers and quality control of their professional duties has been strengthened in the Bar.
During the subsequent period under the leadership of the Honored lawyer of the Republic of Belarus Chernik V. all the positive traditions of the Bar were supported in the Grodno regional Bar Association, much attention was paid to the quantitative and high-quality growth of the Bar, improvement of working conditions for lawyers, material support of legal consultations, increasing by lawyers their professional level, observance the rules of professional ethics by them, strengthening the authority of legal profession and prestige of lawyer activity.
In formation of advocacy of Grodno region the big role belongs to many Heads of legal consultations among which first of all it is necessary to mention Yamnitsky Abram and Olshevskaya Alevtina (Grodno), Zlotnik Boris and Lyamina Elena (The Grodno area), Shvaybovich Iosif (Volkovyssk), Kostyakova Tamara (Lida).
During the whole period of advocacy of Belarus in Grodno region at different times there were widely known the following lawyers: Yamnitsky Abram, Nisnevich Iosif, Shvaybovich Iosif, Olshevskaya Alevtina, Zlotnik Boris, Hvesenya Mikhail, Lyamina Elena, Cherlenok Ivan, Gelimson Boris, Posherstnikova Isabella, Korzun Valentina, Lugachev Mikhail, Presnyakova Lyudmila, Lukyanova Antonina. The names of these bright talented people are entered in history of legal profession of Grodno region.
Acceptance on June 15, 1993 the Law of the Republic of Belarus "About advocacy" became a milestone in development of Belarusian advocacy. Our country was the first in the Commonwealth of Independent States, which adopted such Law which has received, besides, an appreciation of experts of the Council of Europe. Domestic and foreign experience of development of advocacy, achievement of legal thought and need of society for expansion and high-quality improvement of human rights activity in the conditions of transition to market economy and the democratic constitutional state were considered in it.
The new stage in development of advocacy is connected with adoption of law of the Republic of Belarus "About advocacy and lawyer activity" on December 30, 2011 which came into force since April 6, 2012. The specified Law is directed on the solution of actual problems of rendering a legal activity and the organization of activity of lawyer community.
The list of types of the legal help given by lawyers is significantly expanded by this Law. Lawyers have the right to act as conciliators in conciliatory procedure, as mediators in mediation or arbitration judges by hearing of cases by the arbitration courts in the order provided by the legislation.
It is provided that professional protection of the rights and interests of clients in the general and economic courts, the bodies conducting criminal or administrative trial, is carried out only by lawyers. The new Law fixed essentially new organizational forms of implementation of lawyer activity. Along with legal activity lawyers have the right to carry out lawyer activity in lawyer bureau and individually.
There are a lot of the experts enjoying popularity at the population and authority among the legal public in the Grodno regional Bar Association at the moment. Here are the names of some of them: Kozyreva Lyudmila, Azovkina Lyudmila, Arefyeva Anna, Zhitkevich Zhanna, Sakharchuk Valentina, Zyulko Aleksandra, Kissel Elena, Pyrskaya Svetlana, Pyrsky Leopold, Butrim Lyudmila, Urbanovich Teresa, Putilova Maria, Medved Valentina, Kovalenko Alla, Snitko Elena, Tokareva Tamara, Shiryaeva Svetlana, Chernysh Taisiya and many, many others.
Kozyreva Lyudmila, who for long time was the vice-chairman of Presidium of the Grodno regional Bar Association devoted her life to the legal profession. The honorary title the Honored lawyer of the Republic of Belarus was appropriated to her.
Certain lawyers successfully combine lawyer activity with teaching and scientific work. In this part as examples are candidates of jurisprudence, associate professors Stankievich Nadezhda, Shupitskaya Oksana.
Now 131 lawyers are the members of the Grodno regional Bar Association.
Lawyers of the Bar are skilled and qualified experts. It is possible to determine two big groups by length of service – till 10 years and more. From 131 lawyers 83 members of the Bar have a length of service over 10 years. It is a favorable factor in collective work as the combination of the gained experience and professional undertakings promotes improvement of lawyer activity.
There are 21 legal consultations In the Grodno regional Bar Association, including two specialized consultations in Grodno on rendering a legal assistance to subjects of managing, concerning real estate and intellectual property work.
Creation of specialized legal consultation was a necessity by a demand of rendering such legal assistance. In 1998 Specialized legal consultation of the Grodno regional Bar Association was created. The first years of work of this collective proved prospects and a demand of this direction. Therefore in 2003 Specialized legal consultation of Grodno "YurEkspert" was organized. During the years of work lawyers of specialized legal consultation gained a wide experience in this direction of lawyer activity.
New organizational forms of lawyer activity are also presented in the Grodno regional Bar Association. 8 lawyers carry out lawyer activity individually, and since October 01, 2013 the lawyer bureau "Prokopik and Partners" works.
The disciplinary, auditing, certification commissions, and also methodical council are formed from the most skilled lawyers and actively work in the Bar.
Members of the Grodno regional Bar Association apply legal means to provide on a professional basis a legal assistance to legal entities and individuals for implementation and protection of their rights, freedom and interests.
Professionalism, insistence to yourself, ability to help a person who has appeared in trouble, a correctness and sincerity in communication are defining in a profession of the lawyer. Traditions of service to a profession, that were put in the past, are continued also by present generation of lawyers. For overwhelming number of lawyers of the Bar it became a real calling.