As part of its mandate to help strengthen the role of lawyers in countries in transition, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has created the Legal Profession Reform Index (LPRI) to assess the role of lawyers and the legal environment in which they operate. The LPRI employs a rigorous analysis of all relevant laws that regulate the legal profession and a key informant interview process that includes informal focus groups and structured interviews with lawyers, judges, prosecutors, other key government officials and representatives of nongovernmental organizations.
The LPRI is based on a series of 24 factors derived from internationally recognized standards for the legal profession developed by the United Nations and the Council of Europe. In addition, the LPRI factors draw on secondary sources from such organizations as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, European Union and the ABA, and on more than 15 years of experience that ABA ROLI has accumulated in implementing international legal assistance programs.
The LPRI factors provide aspirational benchmarks in such critical areas as professional freedoms and guarantees; education, training and admission to the profession; conditions and standards of practice; legal services and professional associations. The LPRI is globally applicable and enables ABA ROLI, other legal assistance providers, legal reform and development specialists, the donor community and transitioning countries themselves to implement more effective legal reform programs and to monitor progress towards establishing a more ethical, effective and independent legal profession. The LPRI also provides researchers with hard-to-find information on legal reform in transitioning countries and serves as a springboard for initiatives in areas such as access to justice, human rights and other professional reform.