A Week Long Workshop in Moldova

The rest of my team who are working on the Moldova project departed for the workshop in Moldova last week, so I held down the fort in the office. I was anxious to hear about how the 5-day workshop was going, since most of my work in the past two weeks revolved around preparing workshop materials and creating an agenda for the week. The workshop took place Monday, June 27th-Friday, July 1st in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, and the schedule was packed to the brim. 

On Monday, all the law professors from law schools throughout Moldova arrived at the capital. They were joined by Professor Franklin, a research and writing professor from William and Mary Law School, two staff members from NCSC, and the field office staff from Moldova. The purpose of the first day was to familiarize the professors with an overview of the curriculum and to allow them to look through the Legal Research, Reasoning, and Writing Guide that highlights the lessons, lectures, assignments that the professors will use to teach the course. On Day 2, Jennifer Franklin taught the Class 2 lecture to the law professors to expose them to the material, as well as demonstrated how she teaches similar material in her own classes at William and Mary. Class 2 is titled ‘Introduction to Effective Legal Analysis and Logic Elements’ and a group of Moldovan law students were invited to observe Professor Franklin’s lecture and to complete the student assignments. Professors and students were encouraged to ask questions about the substantive material and the presentation of the course, and there was a plenary discussion following the lecture. During Day 2, Moldovan law professors also looked through examples of student assignments in the curriculum and attended a session about how to give constructive feedback to law students in a writing course. 

Days 3 and 4 included more demonstrations of lectures and exposure to student assignments. Additionally, the law professors examined templates that the students will use throughout the course such as the objective legal memorandum template and the persuasive legal brief template. I was told that while there were questions, confusion and even a little pushback as Moldovan law professors examined this new and unfamiliar course material, the uneasiness grew into a sense of solidarity and pride to be pioneering such a course in law schools. The purpose of the course is to equip Moldovan law students with strong research and reasoning skills that will help them to contribute to a credible, reliable, and respected legal system in Moldova. Although that type of transition does not occur overnight, the law professors began to see how this research and writing curriculum could transform the Moldovan legal education and impact the legal community in the country. 

The final day of the workshop was a highly anticipated day because the law professors prepared their own 15 minute presentations on lecture content. The professors were split into groups of 4 and collectively worked on the presentations. The NCSC staff told me that the Moldovan law professors exceeded expectations in every way with the way they creatively presented the materials through anecdotes or analogies and made original powerpoints as visuals. The workshop closed with a plenary discussion about the workshop as a whole, a distribution of necessary materials for the professors, and a discussion of the next gathering in September, 2022 before the launch of the course. The staff reported that the field office, the law professors, and our own team here at NCSC left Moldova feeling optimistic about the law professors abilities to teach the curriculum and successfully launch the course in the Fall.