This article combines an investigation of legal practice in late tsarist Russia with an analysis of imperial rule. The Judicial Reform of 1864 introduced new legal principles, institutions, and rules of court procedure into the empire. Focusing on legal interaction in the newly established circuit courts in Crimea and Kazan, this article explores the implications of Tatar legal involvement in state courts for both the empire's legal reform process and its policies toward ethnic and religious minorities. It discusses the courts as tools for the integration of these multiethnic regions with the imperial center and shows how legal unification developed in a context of dynamic, and locally specific, plural legal orders. It concludes that minority policies were characterized by the simultaneous pursuit of integration and the promotion of difference. The article draws mainly on court records from Kazan and Simferopol (Crimea), newspaper coverage, and on the reports and memoirs of jurists.