Writing Competition Helps Law Students Develop Legal Skills

June 2009

On May 20, 2009, Jordan’s National Center for Human Rights (NCHR) and theABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) honored 30 participants of the second annual human rights legal writing competition.

ABA ROLI organized the first competition last year and assisted the NCHR inhosting the second competition with the aim of better preparing law students byteaching them practical legal skills. The competition is one of severalextracurricular activities ABA ROLI has developed for undergraduate universitylaw programs to enhance the traditional lecture-based curriculum. The NCHR adopted and sponsored this year’s competition to raise awareness on human rights issues in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

In preparation for this year’s competition, ABA ROLI facilitated a legal research and writing workshop, during which NCHR staff gave an overview oftheir work and of basic human rights principles. The students then reviewed local and international legislation and wrote about a hypothetical eviction case assuming a NCHR attorney position. Students had to analyze relevant legislation,evaluate possible courses of action and make persuasive legal arguments. Student papers were then judged by local human rights experts.

The Ministry of Public Works and Housing offered a total of $1000 in prize money for the top three students. The NCHR will publish the winning papers and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which funds ABA ROLI’slegal education initiative in Jordan, offered English language courses to the winners. Jordan’s minister of justice, the acting USAID mission director andthe chair of ABA ROLI’s Middle East and North Africa Council attended the awards ceremony.

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