Belarusian Lawyers Take Part in Trial Advocacy Training

September 2012

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) organized a two-day trial advocacy workshop for Belarusian lawyers in August. About 20 lawyers and advocates took part in the workshop, which focused on effective client representation and covered opening and closing arguments, direct- and cross-examinations, and case analysis. Held in Minsk, the workshop is part of a legal capacity building program that the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor supports.

Belarusian advocates work on developing cross examinations during ABA ROLI trial skills training in Minsk.

Belarusian advocates work on developing cross examinations during ABA ROLI trial skills training in Minsk.

ABA ROLI Legal Specialist William McGilton and Staff Attorney Iryna Sheiko-Ivankiv led the training, which featured lively discussions about the characteristics of an oral argument-focused adversarial justice system. The training ended with a mock trial, during which lawyers tried to convince a jury of their peers to rule in favor of their clients.

Sheiko-Ivankiv said that she was impressed with the level of professionalism training participants exhibited and with how easily and effectively they used the concept of cross-examination, which was new to them. They “found perfect arguments to prove their positions,” she said.

Training participants said that they appreciated the opportunity to work with international experts and to gain new experience and knowledge. One participant said that the training would also help to improve participants’ negotiation skills.

ABA ROLI has provided similar trainings to Belarusian law students who study at universities in Lithuania and Ukraine, and plans to provide more trainings to practicing lawyers and law students. Sheiko-Ivankiv said, “I think the training was useful for Belarusian colleagues, and I look forward to ABA ROLI continuing its activity in sharing its experience with advocates in Belarus.”

To learn more about our work in Belarus, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.

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