In Asia, lawyers from across the region conduct a two-day legal skills workshop led by White & Case Singapore partners Jonathan Olier and Barrye Wall at the National University of Laos. The training is organized by Bridges Across Borders South East Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEA CLE), an NGO that provides legal aid and education in South East Asia. The courses vary, and have included contract negotiation skills, written English and legal ethics, but are all designed to provide students with the tools they need to think about how justice can and should be accessed, and what equality means.
"The right to justice is one of the truly universal concepts," says Jonathan Olier. "An individual should be able to defend his or her rights, whatever those rights are. This is fundamental. It's what fuels so many of the organizations we work with."
In Haiti, our lawyers have led capacity-building efforts since 2012 in the field of alternative dispute resolution, in collaboration with the International Senior Lawyers Project and a local arbitral institution, the Chambre de Conciliation et d'Arbitrage d'Haiti (CCAH). New York partner Ank Santens and associate Damien Nyer, and Paris partner Charles Nairac, delivered a week-long workshop to Haitian lawyers on the law and practice of arbitration. Building on this program, Paris partner Christophe von Krause and associate Sarah Vieux joined Damien to lead a three-day interactive arbitration seminar for more than 50 Haitian judges, including several members of Haiti's highest court. Judge Dominique Hascher, a senior judge of the Supreme Judicial Court of France and respected authority in the field of arbitration, taught sessions of the workshop. As a result of these efforts, Damien was subsequently invited to chair the first international arbitration ever administered by CCAH.
In Sarajevo, Brussels associate Irina Trichkovska has spent two weeks in each of the past three years teaching a course on comparative constitutional and EU law to Serbia's top legal students in a program sponsored by the Higher Order of Malta.
As a Macedonian-qualified lawyer with experience in the Balkans, government, the EU Commission and now in private practice, Irina brings a unique perspective to students who may not have been able to envision the breadth of opportunity available to them.
These lawyers don’t have the resources we have. But they are fighting for journalists who have been arbitrarily detained and tortured for expressing their opinion, something we usually take for granted.
"These students were born after the war but are still divided by ethnic differences. They are willing to come together and create a network of students that includes all their country's ethnicities. In the future, as they become part of civil society or part of government, the hope is they would work together to help resolve the problems their country is facing," notes Irina.
In Uganda, two of our Paris associates—Elizabeth Montpetit and Hinda Rabkin—took part in a training course organized by the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) for East African lawyers who wish to access the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, the African Court on Human and People's Rights and the East African Court of Justice. During a four-day workshop, Elizabeth and Hinda presented a half-day training course on litigation strategy and then spent time brainstorming and advising participants with specific cases they wished to take before the Court.
"It was very humbling," says Elizabeth, recalling the individual sessions and workshops they participated in. Hinda agrees, noting, "These lawyers don't have the resources we have. But they are fighting for journalists who have been arbitrarily detained and tortured for expressing their opinion, something we usually take for granted."
Having worked on a pro bono case before the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, both Elizabeth and Hinda had experience with these courts and found that many of the skills required for the large commercial and arbitration work they were doing in Paris were similar to those required for these cases focusing on freedom of expression.
The students gain valuable experience, as most law schools in Russia do not teach legal ethics.
Gayane Davidyan, Associate Professor
Moscow State University Law School
In Russia, our lawyers teach more than 800 Moscow law students each year in a wide range of courses. One program is available to students from all over Russia: the Professional Responsibility and Ethics in the Global Market Training Program. About 40 students from universities throughout Russia are selected each year based on a legal ethics essay contest. Lawyers from our Paris, Moscow, New York and Washington, DC offices join PILnet: Global Network for Public Interest Law, Moscow State University, Microsoft and other law firms to teach this four-day practical course, taught in English. The program covers a broad range of topics such as the regulation of the legal profession, conflicts of interest, confidentiality and disclosure, anti-corruption, corporate social responsibility and pro bono.
"The students gain valuable experience, as most law schools in Russia do not teach legal ethics," says Gayane Davidyan, Associate Professor at Moscow State University Law School. "The interactive nature of the program enables the students to explore and debate legal ethics issues with lawyers who deal with these problems every day in their legal careers."