ABA ROLI Hosts Client Counseling Competition in Kosovo

May 2011

From May 14–15, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) hosted a clientcounseling competition for law students in Pristina, Kosovo. The competition, which involved students from five public and private universities, was designedto strengthen the participants’ lawyering skills through increased involvement in practical skills activities.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, the competition builds upon ABAROLI’s ongoing efforts to enhance Kosovo’s legal education system, including by training law faculty in teaching methodology and by establishing a law student career center.

During the competition, 18 two-student teams played the role of lawyers in a hypothetical case involving ethical dilemmas. Each team interviewed another student posing as a client. Following the interview, each team discussed how itwould handle the case. A panel of legal professionals—including private practitioners, prosecutors, law faculty and jurists—judged the teams’ performances.

Legal professionals coached the teams, which enhanced the students’  law school experiences. Participants expressed their appreciation of the competition, which gave them an opportunity to learn and practice skills thatare not taught in class and to receive feedback and advice from practicinglegal professionals.

Second-year University of Pristina students Fitore Sadiku and Zahir Cerkini, coached by Islam Pepaj, won the competition. Pepaj said that the competition benefited all participants. He said the competition “provided a valuable opportunity for the students to learn how to speak with clients.” He also added that he considered all participants winners, as the opportunity has taught the mall skills that are important for their careers. The competition was conducted in Albanian to allow the broadest possible participation. Coaches and judges admired participants for their energy, enthusiasm and talent.

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

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