Lawyers Without Borders Seventh Annual Kenyan Trial Advocacy Program wrapped up with both lawyers and attendees reporting the experience as "life changing." As in past, the training program year combined the judicial and lawyer/prosecutor training into one 6 day session. The main program was preceded by a 3 day "Train the Trainer" program the week before, which provided advanced trainer teaching to twenty-five lawyers who had been identified as strong candidates from LWOB prior years' trial advocacy programs. This year's program featured 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-style "learning by doing" method. Fifty percent of LWOB trainers have themselves been trained in the NITA method. Topics this year included corruption, money laundering and terrorism.
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. This year's 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 10 break out groups consisting of 10-12 trainees each conducted a full trial of the case, from start to finish. After the "trials" the teams will met over lunch to debrief their trial. This year's program was made possible from monetary and in-kind support from: Virtue Foundation, U.S. Department of Justice, Leitner Family Foundation, Thomson Reuters and NITA Foundation. Pro Bono resources and support this year include the following law firms: Gibson Dunn Crutcher, Jones Day, White and Case LLP, Sidley Austin and Pfizer Corporation. 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 heads into year eight of its annual programs for lawyers and judges 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 nine, with modest support from LWOB's pro bono international volunteer lawyers in 2015. A supplemental follow-on program for judges only is scheduled to take place in early October 2014 with LWOB working in collaboration with the Judiciary Training Institute in Kenya.
Creation of this year's case file was again provided by pro bono teams from Gibson Dunn offices in USA, Germany and UK. Special Thanks are also due to the Nairobi Star, a newspaper in Nairobi Kenya with a circulation of over 30,000 which has been running pro bono, in weekly series of the weekend edition of the newspaper, LWOB graphic novels that inform and educate the public on issues relevant to LWOB's annual trainings directed at the bar and judiciary.