Week 8: "It Depends"

As promised, the Rwanda training preparation is in full swing and it feels incredible! Working on the training programs has been my favorite thing I have done at IBJ this summer. So much planning goes into each country training program and in a few short weeks we will be seeing the results of all the hard work and long hours spent preparing. The Rwanda training prep is similar to that of Myanmar except in this case the training is only lasting two days and the training manual has already been completed. Therefore, this go around, I am working primarily on the PowerPoint presentations for each trainer, the group activities, and the pre and post-training surveys. Each trainer has been selected to head a different lecture based on their professional skills and experience. The majority of the training program is devoted to trial skills including openings, closings, cross-examination, evidence and objections, and defense strategy, and is crafted around the goal of educating attorneys of their clients rights and their own rights as counsel. Each lecture involves a group activity where the attorneys can put the skills they learned during the PowerPoint presentations into action. I have really enjoyed working with the trainers to create each lecture because not only am I refreshing what I learned throughout the year in my legal practice program, but I am also gaining new skills and knowledge from attorneys across the world.

It is fascinating to hear what has worked best for them in practice and also how different the judicial processes are in different parts of the world. It is often easy to forget that what you learn in one country is not the only way or even the best way of practicing law. There are numerous methods of achieving the same result and this is especially prevalent when studying international law and legal systems. One thing we heard over and over throughout our first year of law school was the answer “it depends.” There is a beauty in understanding that you may never have one right answer. I think this is one of my favorite elements of the study of law. The idea that in order to best serve your client, you need to take a holistic approach, understanding the arguments of both sides, realizing that each may be correct in its own right, and forming the strongest possible argument based on that knowledge. I feel very blessed to have learned as much as I have this summer about varying practices of law. We have so much to learn from one another and we are all members of the same global community. This is why I love working on the trainings so much, they provide a forum for attorneys from all over the world to come together, recognize that there will never be just one correct answer or method, collaborate and create new approaches together, and share what they have learned throughout their careers and lifetimes.

In regards to the Myanmar training, the official defense attorney training program is happening next week and I am SO excited to hear how it goes. Having spent the majority of my summer preparing the training manual, training materials, schedule, PowerPoints, surveys, etc. and working with the attorneys on the ground to ensure they have all they need to best facilitate the training, I truly feel like a little kid on the night before Christmas. I cannot wait to share the stories I hear from the training with each of you next week.

Outside of work, I have also been having an awesome week of adventures! Laura, Reeana, and I went to Chamonix and Annecy France this weekend. We spent Saturday in Chamonix hiking a mountain that overlooks Mont Blanc. I think my low for the week is that my Florida lungs just barely survived our six hour trek straight uphill, however, the view was absolutely worth it and I hope to return someday and do it all again. When my legal writing professor heard I would be living in Geneva for the summer, she told me of this place called Annecy that I absolutely had to visit. I owe her a HUGE thank you when I get back because spending Sunday in Annecy was by far one of the greatest days of the trip. Annecy is quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been or seen in this world. The cobblestone streets were filled with fresh food markets and art galleries, there was a flower lined bridge over the river on every corner, and the lake was crystal clear, chilly, and a shade of blue I thought only existed in fairytales. I would highly recommend going if you are ever in the area and this was most certainly my high for the week.

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It feels surreal to think I only have two weeks left of my summer here. I plan to make the most of every second of it and I know that the memories I have made will truly last a lifetime. I very much look forward to sharing all of the exciting training program news with each of you in my next post as well as the stories from my next weekend adventure (a solo trip to London town).


Until next time,