For the last five years, commercial litigation lawyer groups have done work with the international non-governmental organization Lawyers Without Borders to help address important legal issues across Africa. The firm travels to Africa pro bono to provide training for attorneys there about important issues including counter terrorism, human trafficking, and combatting wildlife crime. Each of these issues is vitally important, and must be handled within the existing culture. So, for example, many African courtrooms have no computers and no stenographers, yet still must keep detailed records of the proceedings. These tasks often fall to the legal professionals involved.
Lawyers Without Borders and Ropes andamp; Gray have worked together to address the following issues and more over the last several years:
Human Trafficking in Tanzania
US attorneys and judges visited Tanzania and created an immersive weeklong training experience, working to help them see these issues as an international problem that numerous countries face, not a problem that is exclusive to Tanzania alone. Forced labor and servitude and sex trafficking were covered in detail.
Counter Terrorism Training in Kenya
More than seventy Kenyan prosecutors and defense attorneys attended this training, consisting of a series of courses and mock trials to cover new information about how to prosecute terrorism throughout the country. US attorneys and judges taught the training pro bono, working with attorneys in the country to discuss modern counter terrorism techniques, documentation, prosecution, and more.
Combatting Wildlife Crime in Kenya
This experience was focused on combatting and prosecuting wildlife crime throughout Kenya. Crimes against wildlife in the area have grown to be a major problem, and it can be difficult to prosecute the crimes due to a lack of evidence. United States lawyers worked to create a card game that would train workers in the field in Kenya about proper evidentiary collection techniques so that the evidence of wildlife crimes that they do collect will stand up more effectively in court. The card game was then produced and distributed so that the workers can play it in their spare time on the job and learn about these rules. The goal of this program is to help improve the quality of evidence that is collected so that more crimes can be prosecuted more successfully due to the improved chain of evidence technique.
Lawyers Without Borders allows attorneys to provide pro bono work around the world, doing charity work in their field and helping out by contributing their knowledge. This type of work allows professionals to build out their resume doing pro bono work while improving the world around them. Ropes andamp; Gray has worked with Lawyers Without Borders for numerous years and is proud of what we’ve accomplished, as well as what we can accomplish in the future.