Program Helps Boost Continuing Legal Education in the UAE

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January 2013 

As part of our work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is supporting the Dubai Legal Affairs Department (DLAD)—the regulatory body for private attorneys in Dubai—in its efforts to create a system of mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) for the Emirate. DLAD is considering two major initiatives, the first being the development of a bar exam for Dubai attorneys, whether educated in Dubai or elsewhere, and the second being the development of a MCLE system for all practicing attorneys.

ABA ROLI is working with the Dubai Legal Affairs Department leadership to standardize CLE and accreditation in the UAE.

ABA ROLI Legal Specialist Marcia Mengel, former bar admissions director for Ohio, is working with DLAD staff to develop a bar exam that draws from best practices in design and administration. In November 2012, Mengel met with the DLAD team to discuss the goals of licensure, the test subjects, bar exam psychometric considerations, question development, grading and administrative matters. As part of the complimentary MCLE initiative, ABA ROLI Legal Specialist Karen Litscher-Johnson, director of the MCLE Board of the Supreme Court of Illinois, met with DLAD leadership to address the accreditation of providers, standards for course content and quality, tracking lawyer compliance with MCLE rules and course delivery mechanisms, among other areas. 

In further support of CLE, ABA ROLI hosted a legal ethics workshop for government lawyers in Dubai in October 2012. Former director of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility Keith Thomas led the training, which covered a range of issues faced by government attorneys, including international frameworks, civil law vs. common law ethics traditions, fundamental ethics rules and the special status of government attorneys. 

To learn more about the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s work in the United Arab Emirates, contact us at rol@americanbar.org.

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