Trial Advocacy Training Supports Reform

November 12 2007

“This was one of the most interesting, effective, and relevant trainings wehave received either in Georgia or elsewhere,” stated one of the law students participating in the most recent ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) street law training in Tbilisi. The training, conducted from October 11 to 13, 2007,marks the beginning of a full-scale Street Law Clinic at Tbilisi State University (TSU) Law Faculty modeled after a successful Street Law Clinic program at Georgetown University.  The clinic aims to advance the general public’s knowledge of and confidence in Georgia’s legal system.

Through the program, twenty masters students from TSU Law Faculty will serveas street law trainers in ten high schools throughout Tbilisi. The TSU students will, over the course of nine weeks, co-teach 15 high school students in pairson subjects relevant to the rule of law including the law and the legal system, constitution and democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, criminal justice, civil law and civil law relations, juvenile justice, and conflict resolution.

In preparation for these nine-week pairings, clinic participants were introduced to interactive teaching methods such as discussions, role playing, simulation, and mock trial.  They examined the elements and methodology ofan effective lesson, discussed how street law lesson plans can be created, and the value of the Street Law Program for high school students, teachers, law students, and the larger society.  At the end of the training, thestudents created and taught their own mini street law lessons.  They will start using the newly acquired skills in Tbilisi high schools at the end of the month.

The clinic officially began in September 2007, two years after the ABA Rule of Law Initiative began working on small-scale Street Law seminars in Georgia. The clinic is now incorporated into the law syllabus, and students who participate will receive ten academic credits upon completion. Acceptance into the programis highly competitive, and only 37 percent of applicants are accepted.

For more information on ABA ROLI’s Legal Education Program contact Senior Legal Advisor Nino Khurtsidze <nkhurtsidze@abarol.ge>

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