During my second week of work at the International Division of the National Center for State Courts, I was swept up into a massive legal education project that is currently being implemented in Moldova. I was placed on the team that is working on this project because NCSC is partnered with William and Mary Law School’s legal education department to create and implement a year-long research and writing course in Moldovan law schools. As a rising 2L at William and Mary Law School, I just completed my year-long legal research and writing course, and I have useful insight and opinions about the structure and content of the class. The goal of this project is to help efforts to shape a more effective and credible legal system in Moldova. Public trust and reliance on judicial decisions and the laws in Moldova are low, and the public often views judicial decisions as arbitrary and lacking in clear reasoning. The year-long course created by NCSC staff and William and Mary professors will teach Moldovan law students how to effectively reach conclusions using sound reasoning and research. It will also teach them how to write clear and well-reasoned legal documents such as memorandums and briefs. The long-term goal is for this course to be a mandatory class in all Moldovan law schools that will generate law professors, law students, and future lawyers and judges who are effectively trained in legal reasoning, research, and writing.
I would never have guessed the amount of work that is poured into a project of this size and scope. First, NCSC had to write a detailed proposal and receive a grant for this project. They then had to recruit both American law professors, as well as Moldovan law professors and staff who would work closely with NCSC to provide Moldovan perspectives on the work and translate all the lesson plans and sources for use in their country. NCSC staff had to find reliable and effective sources to craft an entire curriculum and had to draft assignments and exercises that are curated to fit a Moldovan context. We meet with the Field Office at least twice a week via Zoom to talk about the curriculum, the lesson plans, and the training sessions that will be held in Moldova to train the law professors on this new material. These meetings can last up to 3 hours, as we sort through endless logistics and ideas about the course. It is vital to have the perspective of the Moldovan field office, and it is fascinating to compare our legal system and our cultural norms within the education context to the Moldovan system.
Since I joined the team in the middle of this project, it has been overwhelming to wrap my head around all that has already been done and all that still needs to be completed just to get the course off the ground and implemented for its first academic year in Moldova. I have been helping the team locate sources for Semester 2 of the course and have been drafting documents from the Curriculum such as an Instructor Manual and a Student Guide. This experience at NCSC is allowing me to build and develop project development skills, legal skills, and intercultural skills all at once, and I am cherishing this unique opportunity to work on such an important and transformative project.