Mentoring Program to Help Young Female Judges Hone Their Skills

March 2010

With graduation scheduled for May 2010, law student Mousa Abdallat wasplanning to spend his mandatory post-graduation training at a bank legaldepartment. Although banking was not Mousa’s preferred industry, it is verydifficult to secure law firm positions in Jordan. During his final semester at Yarmouk University, Mousa applied to the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) externshipprogram, part of a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded legal education reform program.

Soon, Mousa was accepted for an externship that would provide first-hand experience in a law firm environment. His duties included assisting lawyers inthe office and accompanying them to court and to other official meetings. Theposition exposed him to a diversity of cases that were unlike the very specific cases that he would deal with in a bank. It also allowed him to participate inlegal research and discussions.

Mousa’s supervising lawyer, who initially agreed to host a student for just two weeks, has since extended Mousa’s externship to a full semester. The lawyer says Mousa is “ambitious and eager to learn about everything related to the practice of law.”

Further, the lawyer has offered to register Mousa as a trainee-lawyer in thefirm. This position will allow Mousa to complete his required two-year post-graduation training and make bar admission possible. Mousa says he islooking forward to building and refining his legal experience, noting that thisis “an opportunity that students only dream of.”

Traditionally, Jordanian law students have limited opportunities to build practical skills while in law school. To address this, ABA ROLI has supportedmoot courts, summer practicum sessions and externships. Four universities have adopted the externship program this year. The universities recruit students andhosts in Amman and Irbid, and supervise participating students.

More than 50 students are participating in ABA ROLI-supported externships atlaw firms, courts, non-governmental organizations and three ministries. Two ofthese students have been invited to train in the law firms where they completedtheir externships. The students in the program say their hosts have been extremely supportive, providing their first glimpse of how lawyers and judgeswork.

To learn more about our work in Jordan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <rol@staff.abanet.org>.

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