December 1, 2011

Strengthening the Rule of Law at Home and Abroad A Leadership Role for Senior Lawyers

By James R. Silkenat

The rule of law has become a very important topic for lawyers, government officials, and civil society leaders of all types, both internationally and at the local and national levels in the United States. It comes up in conferences, speeches, articles, and initiatives by widely diverse groups. Though the term is frequently misused or misunderstood, the rule of law is at the center of numerous efforts to eradicate poverty, build economic prosperity, reduce corruption, promote peace, improve public health, and strengthen education. The failure by governments to provide transparent institutions, fair and accessible legal processes, or fundamental justice for their citizens has a corrosive effect on societies and economies. It is now widely accepted that strengthening the rule of law is crucial to achieving society’s most fundamental goals.

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