International Law Practicum
The following courses offer students an opportunity to engage in advanced legal writing, research, and development of advocacy materials in matters of substantive international and foreign national law. Goals are to harmonize classroom legal learning with the practical work of lawyers in a diversity of transnational settings, thereby offering a capstone kind of learning experience in international law which bridges the gap between the study and practice of law.
This innovative International Law Practicum works with a defense team in the Military Commissions Tribunal in Guantanamo, Cuba, the Office of Public Counsel for the Defense at the International Criminal Court, and the Karadzic defense team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The role of the Practicum is to assist with the right to a fair trial and to support fair trials through effective representation of the accused. W&L students in the Practicum have been undertaking detailed legal research and factual analysis. Prior work has been recognized by the lawyers for its excellence and has been used directly in court proceedings. For the students, researching a broad range of issues under international law and human rights has been a challenge, as many of the questions involved have not been answered before.
Access to Justice
Transnational Access to Justice is currently taught in partnership with the International Legal Foundation and as a joint program at Washington and Lee School of Law and Hebron University School of Law, Hebron Palestine. The Practicum is also coordinated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and for the next two years will focus on support for the Palestinian Public Defender Program, the supporting legal clinic at Hebron and community access to justice, including Children. For the 2015-2016 semesters four third-year students at W&L and law students at the Hebron University School of Law participate in the Practicum, per semester. The Practicum's purpose is drawn from the "United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems", General Assembly resolution A/RES/67/187. The specific focus is on access to justice in the pretrial setting and in representation of accused, especially juveniles in conflict with the law. The Practicum is taught over video conferencing and culminates with the four W&L students' two-week travel to Israel and Palestine, subject to safety conditions (partially funded) work with their Palestinian counterparts seeking to fulfill the Practicum's broad goal of building greater access to justice in Palestine's criminal justice system.
This course will engage students in problem-based learning concerning the comprehensive nature of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The course will require students to engage in deep legal analysis of both foreign and domestic anti-corruption law, engage in fact finding and data collection, counsel "clients" (the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission), present findings and legal analysis to both "clients" in writing and in the form of an oral presentation via remote technology.
Student work in the practicum will consist of two primary projects, both of which will require multiple written assignments and will require a sophisticated understanding of domestic and international law related to corruption. First, students will work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria on the Implementation Review Mechanism. This component of the course will involve detailed analysis of the UN anti-corruption treaty and it's Implementation Review Mechanism. Students will prepare written memos designed to assist the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in its assessment of countries' compliance with the treaty. Second, students will collaborate with the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of Legal Counsel to the President of Liberia in an effort to improve Liberia's domestic legislation concerning corruption. To do so, the students will study and critique the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and assess its applicability in Liberia. Drawing heavily on the FCPA, students in the W&L practicum and at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law in Liberia will create recommendations on Anti-corruption legislation and practices for the Government of Liberia. Students will draft legislation and regulations as well as supporting memoranda.
In this practicum, students will learn how to apply the primary international and regional human rights treaties to real-world human rights problems. Student teams will work in partnership with international non-governmental organizations based in the U.S. or domestic human rights organizations based in Africa to promote human rights and seek redress for human rights violations. Projects may involve human rights fact-finding, legislative advocacy, test case litigation, local capacity-building, and other forms of human rights advocacy. Fieldwork abroad will be a component of the projects whenever possible, and all projects will involve careful consideration of the ethics of cross-cultural human rights advocacy. By engaging in extensive legal and policy analysis of real human rights problems, primarily in Africa, students will develop a better understanding of the challenges and social justice potential of the human rights framework.