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The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has expanded its activities to assist local Egyptian partners in upgrading and modernizing their curriculum. Helwan University has requested that ABA ROLI help develop new curricular offerings that emphasize critical thinking and practical legal skills. We are also collaborating with the University to train professors on interactive teaching methods and to assist them in developing teaching materials. As part of this effort, ABA ROLI offered a two-day training, held in October 2011 and featuring international experts, on curriculum design and interactive teaching. With continued support from ABA ROLI staff, these professors will later integrate new content and participatory exercises into their teaching.
As part of a grant from the Ford Foundation, ABA ROLI trained a group of young law professors from throughout Egypt. Designed to promote dynamic teaching methods amongst law professors, the program consisted of two trainings. The first introduced the educators to interactive, participatory teaching methods, while the second training focused on course development activities. The Arabic-language teaching materials were developed in to a manual for professors and their universities. The manual and other resources generated as part of the Ford Foundation program are available online at www.eltnd.com. This dynamic website will be updated regularly as the participants post newly created teaching material.
To complement its work on curriculum reform and teacher training, ABA ROLI is also working with its local partner to promote clinical legal education through the development of an environmental law clinic program, which will give law students an opportunity to develop “real world” legal skills. In cooperation with Helwan University, ABA ROLI has begun training professors in the technical and practical aspects of establishing what will eventually become a self-sustaining legal clinic. There has been an enthusiastic student response with more than 200 students expressing interest in participating in the clinic program. The clinic is scheduled to be operational in early 2012.
In order to provide students with still more opportunities to develop professional legal skills, ABA ROLI is piloting a national, Arabic-language moot court competition and a national legal writing competition. The faculty advisors have received training in the theory and practice of moot court competition. They will in turn train and advise student participants in order to prepare their students for oral arguments in December and a national competition in February 2012.
ABA ROLI has also provided training to professors in legal writing to allow them to advise students who will later participate in a national legal writing competition, scheduled for Spring 2012.
CLE courses teach young lawyers skills such as oral advocacy, legal research, contract drafting, negotiation and dispute resolution.
Since 2009, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has trained more than 380 young lawyers in its CLE programs. Offered in partnership with the Cairo Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), Cairo University, the Alexandria-based Arab Society for Commercial and Maritime Law (ASCML) and Helwan University, CLE courses are conducted in both Arabic and English.
The month-long, basic CLE course for recent graduates offers exposure to statutory construction, case analysis, negotiations, legal writing and other practical skills. The course is capped by a moot arbitration exercise, for which participants assume the role of counsel in a commercial arbitration case. For many trainees, this mock arbitration is often their first opportunity to participate in an adversarial hearing.
For more experienced young lawyers, ABA ROLI offers an intensive three-day course that offers practical skills, including negotiation and legal writing. Participant evaluations of the program are overwhelmingly positive, and ABA ROLI plans to expand its CLE programs.