Lawyers Without Borders’ Fifth Annual Kenyan Trial Advocacy Program wrapped up in August 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. The training program year combined the judicial and lawyer/prosecutor training into one 6 day session. The program now enters its 7th year in 2013 and features several specialized modules that addressed the impact of new laws and their implementation in the context of a trial in addition to the overall framework of the training which hones trial advocacy skills through a full mock trial. LWOB uses its own customized adaption of the NITA "learning by doing" method. Several of the LWOB trainers have themselves undergone NITA train the trainer training. Fifty percent of LWOB trainers have themselves been trained in the NITA method.
In 2009 LWOB started authoring its own mock case files, using its familiarity and access to high caliber pro bono resources to produce relevant, properly contextualized, mock learning scenarios. Last year’s program focused on a case involving gender violence and corporate corruption. Participants worked through the entire trial process, refining their direct and cross examination skills, practicing opening and closing arguments. On the last day of the training break out groups conducted a full trial of the case, from start to finish. During lunch on the last day, the teams dined together and debriefed the trial.
The mock file was created to generate opportunities to impeach witnesses and practice introducing old and new technologies into evidence (mobile phone texts, as an example). The lawyers and judges had opportunities observe themselves on video and review their performances one-on-one with members of the internationally trained LWOB training team which included over 25 lawyers and 4 US federal judges. LWOB introduced the use of Apple iPads in 2012 to both record and play back for one-on-one reviews, the participants’ performances.
LWOB has continued its development of digitized interactive visuals as a key teaching tool that employs computer-generated avatars created by LWOB in-house lawyers and interns to present special evidentiary and legal challenges faced by Kenyan lawyers in a variety of trial contexts. A key feature of the training modules that involve question and answers is the confidentiality ensured through the use of the ARS polling devices which enable LWOB to gauge the effectiveness of each teaching point minimizing the apprehension that raising hands and getting wrong answers in public generates. For the fourth successive year, all training materials were printed thanks to the generosity of Thomson Reuters and over 500 pounds of materials were shipped, thanks to the generous in-kind services of Provision Logistics. The Thomson Reuters donation plays a critical role in keeping these training costs in check. LWOB independently recruits private funders for this program each year. The importance of role of the in-kind support from the law firms, publishers and shippers cannot be overstated.
Funding for the 2012 hard program costs came from a collaborative of donors that include the U S Department of Justice, Virtue Foundation and the NITA Foundation. Firms in a supportive relationship with LWOB funding lawyer trainers, trainer briefing costs and research preparations included: Shearman & Sterling, LLP, Gibson Dunn Crutcher, Jones Day, and White and Case LLP. A handful of attorneys with specialized trial advocacy, NITA training skills, who come from the solo, academic and small firm sector also participated, donating the costs of their time, travel and accommodation.
LWOB's work in Kenya is heading into year seven of an eight year program designed to build capacity in the Kenyan Judicial training sector. The goal is to turn over responsibility for lawyer training to the Kenyan Judicial Training Institute and several in-country NGO's in year seven, with modest support from LWOB's pro bono international volunteer lawyers in 2015. Preparations for Kenya 2013 are well underway. The training will tackle Corruption issues and money laundering issues. Creation of the entire case file this year is again provided by pro bono teams from Gibson Dunn offices in USA, Germany and UK. The law firm sponsor and participant list is not yet complete.