Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ABA- Rule of Law Initiative

Throughout the summer EJF recipients will be posting about their chosen summer public interest employment.

We're kicking off the blog with a post from EJF board member Riley Graebner:

I’ve been interning at the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative for all of four days and here’s some lessons learned:
Be prepared to do substantive work on the first day.
If you say you know a mildly obscure language, you better know it. My first day I supplemented my Romanian vocabulary with terms like “law clerk” “prosecutor’s office” while researching almost exclusively in that elusive fifth romance language. And if you speak a foreign language, bring your dictionary.
Folks here are super nice. They’re cutting me some slack during journal write-on. That’s showing a law student some love.
Reading the nutshell on Public International Law was totally useless. Think the nutshell is going to have a chapter of court personnel training reform in Romania post-2002? Ah, no.
People here are very serious about their water coolers.

Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) is the largest program in the Washington, DC office of the American Bar Association. ROLI provides legal technical assistance to countries around the world in seven main areas: anti-corruption, criminal law reform and human trafficking, gender issues, human rights and conflict mitigation, judicial reform, legal education reform, and legal professional reform. Project implementation is done through collaboration of ABA staff and host country nationals. The office of Research and Program Development, where I’m interning, provides research support for ROLI’s various programs around the world as well as implements reform assessments.

I’ve just put a toe in the water, but I’m currently working on a field manual commissioned by the United Nations’ Office on Drug and Crime for judges on how to improve judicial integrity and transparency. The small piece I’ve been researching and writing over the past few days looks at court personnel reform and, specifically, some of the best practices exhibited by Romania. Getting to use my Romanian and delve into a specific topic has been—dare I say it—fun.

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