July 2011
JILEP Provides Hands-On Training for Lawyers

EWMI’s USAID-funded Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Program (JILEP) broke new ground in legal education by sponsoring a summer school on practical skills for lawyers July 18-21 in Tbilisi. Georgian law schools typically do not teach practical skills, and do not equip their law students with trial or practical skills. Sponsored in partnership with the Faculty of Law of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and the Tbilisi City Hall project, the summer school effort to remedy this lack was the first specifically dedicated to practical skills acquisition under JILEP. Twenty law students from different Georgian universities attended. The students, under the supervision of practicing attorneys, spent a half-day working with low-income clients receiving free legal aid. They also got training in legal reasoning, client interviewing and counseling, legal ethics, legal writing, legal persuasion, and negotiation, which they then applied immediately at the end of the program, giving “closing statements” to a mock jury using some of the skills they had learned during the training.  The summer school included a session for Georgian law professors on interactive teaching methodology, to make teaching in law schools more practical for future generations of students.