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Belgrade District Court President Sinisa Vazic addresses Belgrade Law School students participating in the 10th round of the Rule of Law Initiative-sponsored Court Internship Program.
Over 140 third and fourth-year students from Serbian law schools participated in the 10th round of the Court Internship Program (CIP), which drew to a close on March 30, 2007. Started in 2005 with funding from the Rule of Law Initiative, and managed by its partner, the Young Lawyers of Serbia Association (YLS), the CIP is a two-week program that gives law students a taste of courtroom life as a supplement to their theory-focused law school curriculum. To date, more than 1,550 Serbian law school students have participated in the program.
During the Court Internship Program, law students are assigned to a judge and courtroom, watch real trials, and meet with the judge informally to discuss decision-making and strategy. Students also visit the court archives to get a better understanding of the practical daily functions of the court staff. Finally, students perform a courtroom simulation exercise and assume the roles of judge, prosecutor, lawyer, and defendant in a trial.
Due to the Court Internship Program’s continued success, the Rule of Law Initiative and the Young Lawyers of Serbia Association lobbied Serbian law schools to adopt the program as part of their curriculum. At the beginning of the year, working groups were formed to draft guidelines for incorporation of the CIP into law schools’ curriculums. The guidelines are now complete and administration from numerous law schools in the country agreed to integrate the CIP program into their curriculums and fund the program completely. The Young Lawyers of Serbia organization, which is a longtime partner of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative, will continue to serve as the organizing and management body for the CIP.