Middle East Conference Addresses Continuing Legal Education

Participants met with faculty to discuss continuing legal education during the November event in Cairo.

Participants met with faculty to discuss continuing legal education during the November event in Cairo.

November 2009

From November 1–5, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in cooperation with the Cairo Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), hosted a conference on creating and administering a continuing legal education (CLE) program for administrators and practitioners.

The conference, held at CRCICA’s offices in Cairo, included in-depth training on core aspects of CLE programming and administration. A total of 31 legal professionals representing nine countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region attended the program. Participants included attorneys, judges, representatives of judicial and legal training institutes and law professors.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Nabil Elaraby, CRCICA director, said, “Further development of continuing legal education programs throughout the MENA region is vitally important both to maintain a high level of expertise among practicing lawyers and to ensure that the training of the next generation of lawyers meets international standards.”

The Hon. David Nuffer, magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Richard Vittenson, director of the American Bar Association’s CLE center, Joseph Besharse, associate director of technology and products for the ABA’s CLE center, and James Buchanan, senior education specialist at the U.S. Federal Judicial Center, led the program. While presenters provided an overview of CLE components, participants enriched discussions by sharing experiences in their respective countries. During breakout sessions, participants worked to devise draft curricula based on topics discussed in the larger group.

Participants said that the interactive approach kept them engaged throughout the training and helped them to benefit from the perspectives of their counterparts in the region. The use of modern technology for CLE was of particular interest to many participants. Trainers presented and demonstrated various technologies, such as web dialogue, Google groups, videoconferences, webinars and general distance learning formats that can be used to effectively and efficiently deliver CLE to a large audience.

The program was organized in response to recommendations made at an ABA ROLI-sponsored March 2009 regional conference in Bahrain. ABA ROLI will continue to work on related activities, including development of a law practice management e-learning module, online discussions and sub-regional CLE meetings. The program is part of an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative.

To learn more about our work in the Middle East and North Africa Region, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <rol@staff.abanet.org>.