Russian American Rule of Law Consortium Visits NCCU Law

Posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2010

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law, in association with the Honorable Allyson K. Duncan of the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, hosted members of the Russian Judiciary as part of the Open World Rule of Law Program. The Open World Program at the Library of Congress has an ongoing relationship with the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium (RAROLC). Through this relationship, visits by members of the Russian and Ukrainian legal community to the United States are facilitated.

Open World conducts its landmark rule of law program for Russian jurists in cooperation with the International Judicial Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States and with RAROLC. Each year, a leading U.S. federal or state judge plans and participates in the local scheduling of each Open World Rule of Law delegation. This year the Honorable Judge Allyson Duncan was selected. The Open World Program is the only exchange program housed in the U.S. legislative branch.

Left to right back: Allycia Whitman 3L, Professor Thomas Ringer, Judge Allyson Duncan, delegate co-host Maria Adoskina, Judge Alexandr Krivosheyev, Alicia Williams 3L, Mercedes Pinckney 3L Left to right front: Marcus Shields 3L, facilitator Konstantin Kostin, Judge Aleksandr Cherkashin, Judge Svetlana Shubina, Judge Lyudmila Lebedinskaya, Dean Raymond Pierce, Judge Marina Ryzhova, interpreter Iryna Ilyash

Led by Judge Duncan and Dean Raymond C. Pierce, the Russian delegation of Judges and law professors toured the Law School, visited two classes in session and dined with students discussing the similarities and differences in the practice of law and legal academics between the two countries.

Our students who participated in this event found it to be both enriching and enlightening. Marcus Shields, Class of 2011, enjoyed being part of this extraordinary event.


It was a wonderful experience interacting with members of the Russian Judiciary, as well as with Judge Duncan. Learning about the similarities and differences between the two cultures and legal systems was fascinating. I enjoyed the round-table discussion with our guests at dinner. It served as an icebreaker and the experience was one that I will take with me forever. – Marcus Shields


Another student, Mercedes L. Pinckney, Class of 2011, expressed similar sentiments:

Experiences like this have enriched my law school career. These experiences make me proud to be a Legal Eagle and future NCCU Law alum. I really appreciate the opportunity that was given for me to fellowship with the Russian Judiciary and the Honorable Allyson Duncan.” In a profession where communication and association are vital for success, open-mindedness is beneficial as well. With new developments and international dependency it is important to understand and respect the legal structures of different countries. For example, Russia does not require a separate bachelor’s degree to attend law school, and they also have a different court hierarchy. We may be separated by boundaries and territories; however, we are all advocates seeking justice. The various casual conversations across the dinner table exhibited the eagerness of all participants to learn about the ‘other culture.’ As Dean Pierce spoke to the Russian Judiciary members about the latest sports news, the room became filled with camaraderie. For that one night, we were truly an ‘open world.’ – Mercedes L. Pinckney

At the close of the program Dean Pierce commented that “our Law School was honored by this visit.”