For several days in June of 2016, in a first-of-its-kind initiative for Ghana, more than 50 of the country's most promising law students came together with distinguished members of the country's legal establishment—among them the Chief Justice and several other Justices of the Supreme Court and Dean Kofi E. Abotsi of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Faculty of Law.
This legal ethics training program represents the first stage in a broader effort to support legal education in Ghana. It grows out of the Firm's deep ties to the country and our partnership with Fordham Law School's Leitner Center for International Law and Justice.
The huge interest from the senior judiciary to so many law students," she says, "shows the determination to make real changes among the Ghanaian judiciary and members of the legal profession.
General Counsel, New York
Professor Paolo Galizzi, Clinical Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School and a faculty member of the Leitner Center, has developed an especially strong track record in Ghana, and has partnered with the Faculty of Law of GIMPA on projects including judicial training and a pilot clerkship program. At the same time, Fordham students have worked with our lawyers on pro bono projects, including a study of how the UN Global Goals and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights relate to African countries.
As a result of White & Case's partnership with Fordham and the Leitner Center, Professor Galizzi has, in turn, developed a deep familiarity with our work around the world, including the legal ethics training program we have helped deliver to law students in Russia for the past several years. It was with this work in Russia in mind that he proposed to the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, and Dean Abotsi of GIMPA that a legal ethics training program could be of great benefit to the country's future lawyers. A significant corruption scandal had recently affected the highest levels of the Ghanaian judiciary, and there was widespread commitment to reform.
The Chief Justice and Dean Abotsi were immediately enthusiastic. White & Case, Fordham and GIMPA began drafting a new curriculum tailored to the needs of Ghanaian law students. The training introduced students to the ethical issues they are most likely to encounter in practicing law, including an introduction to professional responsibility and ethics as well as a comparative analysis of means of regulating the profession. Faculty surveyed particular practice areas, exploring issues such as confidentiality and conflicts of interest. At the heart of the program was the conviction that sound legal ethics are essential to the practice of today's lawyers, whatever the niche or nation in which they work.
"We aren't interested in simply providing a one-time opportunity for students, however memorable," Professor Galizzi says. "Our goal is to help initiate an ongoing conversation around legal ethics. By reaching lawyers at the earliest stages of their careers, we have the profound opportunity to help Ghana shape its legal future."
White & Case partner and General Counsel Jennifer Paradise, who served as faculty for both programs in Russia and Ghana, finds reason for optimism in the palpable commitment to reform she experienced at all levels in the lead-up to the training. "The huge interest from the senior judiciary to so many law students," she says, "shows the determination to make real changes among the Ghanaian judiciary and members of the legal profession." Students participated in a competitive application process, with demand far outpacing available seats. In large part due to the course's success, efforts are being made to integrate the programming into year-round law school curricula.
SPOTLIGHT: Competition Law Training For COMESA and Mauritius
Local partner Jérémie Jourdan in Brussels presented at an EU competition law conference convened by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Law firms and other stakeholders from COMESA countries came together to draft improvements to antitrust guidelines, informed by Jérémie's remarks on existing EU guidelines. Jérémie's presentation and the workshop led COMESA to revise its guidelines, new versions of which are now being prepared for final approval.
Associate Marika Harjula in Brussels provided competition law training to the Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM). Marika spent two days with the CCM, training both staff and Commissioners on various competition law topics. She also spoke about competition law compliance at an event organized for businesses by the CCM and the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
GOALS ADVANCED BY THIS WORK
04 | Quality Education
16 | Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17 | Partnerships for the Goals