A Sound Legal Footing

White & Case lawyers share their knowledge
to build legal capacity in emerging democracies

Our legal education work with lawyers and judges on five continents reflects three major trends we see: the growing importance of international public law; the gradual strengthening of civil society; and the expansion of the concept of pro bono legal services to new jurisdictions. These trends are helping improve the soundness of legal systems. Our ability to open doors to best practice and accepted standards helps lawyers and legal institutions in emerging democracies avoid reinventing the wheel. In 2012, we did our most substantive work to date.

Haiti: Arbitration training

In June, partner Ank Santens and associate Damien Nyer from New York and partner Charles Nairac from Paris conducted a week-long workshop on best practices in arbitration for Haitian lawyers and judges in Port-au-Prince. Our lawyers led the course, which consisted of theoretical modules and practical exercises conducted in French. Participants included a Court of Appeals judge, the President of the Port-au-Prince Court of First Instance and senior members of the Haitian bar. This effort is particularly meaningful for Haiti as the country seeks to use its new arbitration law and arbitral institution to promote alternative dispute resolution and increase foreign investment in what remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The courses were organized in collaboration with the Chambre de Conciliation et d’Arbitrage d’Haiti (CCAH) and the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP). Following the well-received courses, CCAH and ISLP asked White & Case to revise CCAH’s Rules of Arbitration and to organize a further seminar on arbitration for the Haitian judiciary.

Sierra Leone: Project Umubano

Sierra Leone is still recovering from its devastating ten-year civil war, which left its legal system starved of government focus and financial support. This July, London associates Marcus Booth and Stefan Mrozinski participated in Project Umubano, an international social action project founded by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Our lawyers coordinated a group of nine barristers, solicitors and law students from across the UK who provided training for Sierra Leonean lawyers and paralegals and advised on cases for Timap for Justice, a non-governmental organization that provides free legal services through community-based paralegals. The Sierra Leonean Solicitor General and other top government officials lent support to the project, which is developing important legal infrastructure around the country. A serendipitous meeting illustrates the breadth of the Firm’s reach on legal capacity projects. While working with Timap, Marcus and Stefan met a summer intern from New York University Law School who, coincidentally, was in Sierra Leone on a White & Case Orison Marden Fellowship, a summer internship program sponsored by the Firm for law students who choose to work on public interest issues around the world.

Nigeria: Developing the bond market

Transparent and efficient capital markets are critical to growth and innovation, and good guidance on rules and procedures is particularly vital in emerging markets. White & Case was invited by GuarantCo—a multi-donor agency whose members include the UK’s Department for International Development, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the Netherlands’ Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Agency—to provide training to the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission on regulation of the corporate bond market. Partner Melissa Butler and associate Chris Horte traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, where they, along with representatives of Moody’s Rating Service, provided training for senior management at the division of the Nigerian SEC that regulates the debt markets. The focus was on creating capacity to help Nigeria move the corporate bond market from its current embryonic stage to a more active and developed one.

Kenya: Trial advocacy skills

Continuing our partnership with Lawyers Without Borders, London associates Rian Matthews and Hendrik Puschmann participated as senior faculty members in the Support Through Trial Advocacy Training program in Nairobi, Kenya. The program explored the new Kenyan constitution adopted in 2010 and the country’s anti-corruption statute through a case file focused on gender violence with a corruption overlay. Attendees included 30 magistrate judges, 54 lawyers and prosecutors and 15 participants being trained to lead subsequent sessions. Innovative learning technology was incorporated, including video segments to address evidentiary and other special challenges facing the Kenyan trial bar.

COMESA: Nineteen countries enhance competition

We partnered with the International Institute for Advanced Studies to advise the 19 countries that comprise the common market for Eastern and Southern Africa—COMESA—on issues of competition law. COMESA is a supranational organization on the model of the EU, which in 2004 instituted its regional competition act and accompanying procedural regulations. The COMESA Competition Commission (CCC) decided to adopt implementing legislation and guidelines to provide more specific guidance to both authorities and the business community, raise awareness of competition issues and prepare the ground for actual enforcement of the competition act. Partner and Pro Bono Practice Leader Ian Forrester and a team of associates advised on competition law from a European point of view. Brussels associate Pascal Berghe participated in workshops with the CCC, in Lusaka, Zambia, and at White & Case’s Johannesburg office. We are also helping to draft guidelines that will explain how competition law will be applied to typical agreements between competitors or between suppliers and customers, or to alleged abuses of market power by dominant companies.

These trends are helping improve the soundness of legal systems.

Read more about our legal education programs

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