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Beyond the PaleThe Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia$
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Benjamin Nathans

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520208308

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520208308.001.0001

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Ethnicity and Civil Society: The Russian Legal Profession

Ethnicity and Civil Society: The Russian Legal Profession

(p.340) Chapter 9 Ethnicity and Civil Society: The Russian Legal Profession
Beyond the Pale

Benjamin Nathans

University of California Press

This chapter explores the role of Jewish lawyers within the legal profession itself. It argues that as the best educated, best organized, and most Westernized profession, lawyers offer an important case study of the impact of Russia's imperial diversity on its embryonic civil society. It explains why the bar became a haven for Jews, and then explores the debates that culminated in 1889 in the ban on their admission. It observes that in contrast to quotas in institutions of higher education, restrictions on admission of Jews to the bar emerged from within the profession itself, reflecting broad anxieties that the social mobility unleashed by the Great Reforms—and more broadly by the process of modernization—was placing Russians at a decisive disadvantage in their own empire.

Keywords:   Jewish lawyers, legal profession, bar, institutions of higher education, Great Reforms, Russians

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