Intern Testimonials

Sandra Gaballa – The Katiba Institute, Nairobi, Kenya

Sandra Gaballa

To say that my CBA YLIP internship has been an invaluable learning experience would be an understatement. At Katiba Institute, I have been able to work on a large swath of public interest litigation matters related to the implementation of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. This included researching caselaw supporting a constitutional challenge of colonial-era “sodomy” laws, conducting a comparative analysis of electoral gender quotas, and drafting memos on both the land rights of indigenous forest-dwellers and the housing rights of informal settlement residents.

The KI team has made a concerted effort to involve me in all the different kinds of work they do – from protests and conferences to pleading before the Supreme Court, to all the research and drafting in between. I have especially enjoyed the opportunity to sit in on and participate in strategy meetings with such an outstanding group of litigators in constitutional law. 

On a more personal note, my colleagues have also taught me about Kenya’s literary legends and its many different ethnic groups. Thanks to their guidance, I have developed a modest repertoire of Swahili vocabulary and slang (Sheng), as well as an immodest dependence on Kenyan tea with ginger (chai ya tangawizi) and cheap, ripe avocados.

Outside of the office, I have seized the opportunity to go on hikes and game drives, and to photograph furiously while doing so. The natural beauty of Kenya is hard to overstate – the hills, the jacaranda trees, and the galloping impalas combine to create a truly breathtaking tapestry. Nairobi itself is fascinating in its contradictions—a blend of colonial architecture and post-Independence modernist style, green space and skyscrapers. I will certainly miss Nairobi—to say nothing of the roadside sugar cane vendors.

My CBA internship has been enriching on a number of levels, and I am sure this experience will stay with me for many years to come. 

Photo: Sandra Gaballa at centre right

Manjot Cheema – The United Nations Children’s Fund, Hanoi, Vietnam

Manjot Cheema

I was assigned to work with the Child Protection and Social, Policy and Governance Programs at UNICEF Vietnam. I was actively involved in UNICEF’s advocacy efforts to ensure that Vietnamese policies and legislation adequately consider and incorporate protection of children’s rights. Over the course of my internship I was involved in advocacy work on laws relating to tourism, legal aid, social assistance, commercial sexual exploitation of children and ethnic minorities. As the Law on Tourism was being amended by the National Assembly of Vietnam, I assisted in the development of a policy brief which outline international children’s rights standards to protect children, especially from commercial sexual exploitation. I also had the opportunity to attend various workshops and seminars to discuss children’s rights in respect of these issues with members of civil society and government officials. Most notably, I supported the Vietnam Lawyers Association to create a pilot Legal Aid for Children model to be implemented in two cities.

Overall, the experience I obtained at UNICEF was incredibly rewarding as I had the opportunity to see firsthand how effective advocacy can lead to legal reform.

Having worked in litigation previously, this was a great opportunity to obtain exposure to legal and policy issues impacting a larger subset of individuals.        

On a personal level, living in Vietnam has been an amazing experience. I’ve gone trekking in the mountains, cycling in the rice fields and sleeping in caves. I also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Hanoi Law University and teach Legal English, which enabled me to give back to the amazing community in which I lived. I have forged amazing friendships with colleagues working with the UN in Hanoi and can’t thank the CBA enough for this amazing life changing experience.

Photo: Manjot Cheema

Véronique Gingras-Gauthier РThe Guyana Legal Aid Clinic (GLAC), Georgetown, Guyana

Veronique Gingra-GauthierLe Guyana, un petit pays d’Am√©rique du Sud qui culturellement fait plut√īt partie des Cara√Įbes, n’est pas un pays o√Ļ il est facile vivre, ni pour la population locale, qui fait face √† des taux de pauvret√© √©lev√©s ce qui √† son tour engendre des taux de criminalit√© plus √©lev√©s, ni pour une expatri√©e canadienne qui a d√Ľ rapidement s’habituer √† entendre et √† ignorer des commentaires qui lui √©taient constamment faits dans la rue.

Mais le Guyana est aussi un pays merveilleux, avec une nature incroyable et une histoire riche, en plus de gens chaleureux et d’une communaut√© d’expatri√©s tr√®s accueillante. Sans aucun doute, les gens que j’ai rencontr√©s ici sont certainement la raison pourquoi mon exp√©rience comme stagiaire √† la Guyana Legal Aid Clinic a √©t√© non seulement des plus enrichissantes, mais aussi vraiment amusante et inoubliable.

Travailler pour la GLAC m’a permis de m’immerger compl√®tement dans la culture juridique locale. Contrairement √† la majorit√© des avocats juniors au Canada, j’√©tais en charge de mes propres dossiers et non seulement je conduisais mes propres entrevues avec les clients, j’√©tais aussi en charge de pr√©parer l’ensemble des documents pour la cour. J’ai aussi eu la chance de faire des recherches en droit plus approfondies pour ma superviseure ainsi que d’assister aux audiences en cour o√Ļ certaines des avocates de la clinique plaidaient, particuli√®rement en droit criminel, mon domaine d’int√©r√™t principal.

En dehors du travail, j’ai aussi rencontr√© des gens fantastiques, aussi bien des Guyanais que d’autres expatri√©s. Avec eux, j’ai eu la chance d’explorer et de pleinement faire l’exp√©rience de la ville de Georgetown, ainsi que de plusieurs autres endroits d’int√©r√™t au Guyana. Parmi mes exp√©riences m√©morables, j’ai pass√© quelques nuits dans des retraites en pleine for√™t tropicale, je me suis rendue en bateau aux anciennes ruines d’un fort n√©erlandais, je suis all√©e aux magnifiques chutes Kaieteur, j’ai particip√© aux f√™tes hindoues de Diwali et de Phagwah, et j’ai fait partie d’une des bandes du carnaval local lors de la f√™te de la r√©publique, Mashramani. Mon exp√©rience a √©t√© incroyablement enrichissante sur le plan professionnel et sur le plan personnel et je repars du Guyana non seulement une meilleure avocate, mais √©galement avec des nouveaux amis que je retrouverai un peu partout sur la plan√®te.

Photo: V√©ronique Gingras-Gauthier 

Kelsey Jones with the South African History Archive (SAHA), Johannesburg, South Africa

Kelsey JonesDubbed the “Activist Archive”, SAHA’s mandate is to promote awareness of past and contemporary human rights issues through archival practices and utilization of access to information laws. SAHA tries to uphold the democratic ideals, of transparency, and openness, by advocating for compliance with the law and hold government and private bodies accountable.

I worked with the small, but mighty Freedom of Information Program at SAHA. The FOIP team uses the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) to push the boundaries of access to information in South Africa. My responsibilities included submitting and monitoring access to information requests, initiating internal appeals when PAIA requests were denied, and writing news articles. I also drafted a position paper to be incorporated into a new SAHA publication. 

Having lived in South Africa for six months, I struggle to put into words the importance of this program. It has had a profound effect on me in both a professional and personal capacity. I have gained insight into the type of career I envision for myself and have developed or honed a range of skills.

I am incredibly grateful for this experience, from discovering the many sides of Johannesburg to learning about South Africa’s tragic but rich history. I will look back at the time I spent in South Africa with fond memories, and forward to my professional future; there’s no doubt I will cherish all that I have learned.

Photo: Kelsey Jones

Interns with the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown and Johannesburg, South Africa

The Legal Resources Centre (“LRC”) is a large public interest and human rights law clinic. Its Grahamstown office deals centrally with such issues as discrimination, the right to basic education, social grants, pension benefits, land claims and housing rights. Its Johannesburg office carries a particular focus on mining and environmental justice, land and housing, and civil society/public protest.

Taylor Akin – LRC, Grahamstown 

Taylor AkinBeing offered an internship through the YLIP program could not have come at a better time. Amongst finishing articles at a labour and employment firm, trying to find my way in the social justice job hunt, and desperately craving a chance to travel, I was extremely grateful to join the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). 

The Grahamstown office of LRC is by far the smallest – and that is a great thing. The office environment is warm and friendly, and interns are immediately enveloped into the daily routine (which includes no fewer than 3 tea breaks per day). The work itself ranges from research to client intake to drafting statements of claim to site visits. My work has been both varied and gratifying. I have assisted in getting textbooks delivered to schools, a civil sexual assault file, a criminal case representing student protesters, and a few racial discrimination cases. I've also dabbled in housing law, income maintenance and immigration.

This internship has helped clarify my approach to social justice. I am now committed to working in a clinic environment upon returning to Canada.

Professionally, the LRC has challenged me. Simultaneously having humility in the opportunity to learn and trusting in my own legal knowledge has shaped my confidence as a lawyer. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity, and am well equipped to embark on this next phase of my career.

Photo: Taylor at right

Mariam Awan – LRC, Grahamstown

Mariam Awan

During my time with the LRC, the office was involved in cases involving land claims, hate speech, sexual assault, the right to peaceful protest, and mining law. Despite this diversity of work, the Grahamstown office focuses on the right to basic education enshrined in the South African Constitution. To this end, it represents parents, school governing bodies and communities to provide adequate facilities, learning materials, and student-staff ratios.

I spent most of my time here carrying out legal research, interviewing clients, and drafting demand letters and court documents. Clients from all walks of life arrive at the LRC with unique experiences and life stories. At times someone from the office has to sit in as a translator because a client is more comfortable speaking in Xhosa or Afrikaans. 

Grappling with how someone’s lived experience translates to a legal issue and then generating solutions has been the most gratifying aspect of my work experience here. Everyone at work is exceptionally approachable and I never hesitate to run into someone’s office to ask for advice or brainstorm ideas. 

The office is warm, animated and tightknit. Interns are welcomed and feel part of the fabric of the organization in no time, and I have spent most of my time outside work exploring the Eastern Cape with my co-workers and fellow interns. Driving back into Grahamstown from daytrips and weekend trips feels a lot like coming home. 

I have grown in surprising ways during this internship and I am grateful to the people I have met and learned from during my time here. This has been a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in a foreign culture and appreciate the history, geography, and politics of South Africa. I know the lessons learned during this internship will follow me for the rest of my life. 

Photo: Mariam Awan

Eric Cheng – LRC, Johannesburg

Eric Cheng

Having developed an extensive research focus on Canadian foreign aid and the intersection of mining and human rights, working with LRC was a perfect opportunity to learn how I can apply myself as a young Canadian lawyer, while also grounding my practice firmly with my client and communities, no matter where our cases might take us.

My work at the LRC ranged widely, from civil procedure to indigenous rights to WTO law. I have been continually amazed at the LRC’s willingness to apply my contributions in comparative and international law to the very leading edge of international advocacy beyond the courtroom, which included a surprising Canadian connection collaborating with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) via the LRC’s membership in the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO).

Highlights of my placement included presenting Canadian and American jurisprudence on crowd control weapons to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry’s Panel of Experts, conducting site inspections and interviews at Lindela Repatriation Centre alongside the South African Human Rights Commission, and conducting prison visits across the country to investigate torture allegations. I spent my final two weeks at the LRC working with Xolobeni, a mining-affected indigenous community on the Wild Coast, to understand the face of free, prior and informed consent from the ground up.

I came to South Africa to find a young nation seeking to decide its future a mere generation after liberation, observing LRC submissions on withdrawing from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court at the same time as the daily struggles of Fees Must Fall campaigners in nearby Braamfontein. Despite the almost-weekly court challenges by various political and government actors and vibrant dialogue, democracy in the streets still draws a stark contrast with the lunchtime stories of apartheid from George Bizos. Despite its troubles, the people of South Africa still embrace the ideals of the ongoing constitutional project. I am thankful to CBA, Global Affairs Canada and most of all the LRC for this opportunity and the inspiration to continue serving as a better advocate in the future.

Photo: Eric Cheng

Interns with Lawyers for Human Rights in Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town, South Africa

Interns placed with Lawyers for Human Rights in Pretoria, Durban, and Cape Town, South Africa have worked with the LHR’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme (RMRP), its Gender Equality Programme, its initiatives relating to the Hate Crimes Working Group SA, and its Strategic Litigation Unit (SLU). 

Kendra Morris – LHR in Pretoria (Head Office)

Kendra MorrisIn my time with LHR Pretoria, I worked with the RMRP and periodically the Strategic Litigation Unit (SLU).  Straddling two projects generally means a diverse workload, and that was certainly the case here. Between the two, I worked on everything from daily clinic tasks like client intakes and letter writing, to drafting litigation documents, through helping out with developing tools for better assessing client claims.

The RMRP in Pretoria often faces significant demand for its resources, because the biggest Refugee Reception Office in the country (Desmond Tutu RRO) is just down the street. Signing on to this project means showing up to work and being ready for something new almost every day. Street protests, water shedding, clients in very difficult circumstances, engaging community leaders, reaching out to fellow NGOs to develop partnerships, and getting research done in a dynamic office are all part of the gig. 

Working with LHR gave me the opportunity to see first-hand what a human rights NGO accomplishes at ground-level. Just as one example, many countries are reconsidering their refugee laws. Changes to legal regimes can leave literally millions of vulnerable persons displaced and without a voice unless projects like the RMRP step in and bring human rights concerns to the doorstep of law makers.

Being witness to the LHR’s dynamic work allowed me to observe and support activism in multiple dimensions. Just showing up to work with a specialised skill counts as activism in this field, but so does clearing the paperwork that legalizes rallies, approaching the court for bail on behalf of those people in the streets, and holding state representatives accountable to their mandates. Overall the experience allowed me to be involved in real legal work, a fast-paced office, analysis and problem-solving, and a dose of real-world activism.

Photo: Kendra Morris 

Benita King – LHR in Durban

Benita KingI interned with the LHR’s RMRP. Living and working in Durban in this capacity was life-changing. I met with clients on a daily basis who came from predominantly Central, East, and Southern Africa. Their stories of survival were devastating, inspiring, terrorizing, humbling, and moving, all at once. If there is a silver lining to take away from the suffering faced by refugees, it is that in the journey for survival, people often come together in solidarity to embrace others like brothers and sisters they never previously knew. Working directly with clients to assess their claims for asylum was analytical, legal, emotional, fascinating, and haunting, overcoming barriers of language, culture, and trauma. Advocating for human rights in this light underscored the perspective that each day we may live on and come to build connections with others is a gift, particularly given the uncertainty of those who await the fate of their claims and evolving socio-political landscapes in their home countries, many years down the line.

Living, learning, and growing in the diversely rich rainbow nation, which they dub South Africa, was impactful in ways beyond which I could have ever known. Being here some two decades after the end of Apartheid was a unique era to experience the progressive changes that society uptakes, especially with regard to race relations and the attempted redistribution of economic opportunities. I must also mention the beauty of friendships formed with locals. Maya Angelou loved to say that we may forget what people said or did to us, but we never forget how they made us feel. I carry this spirit with me always, and in reflection on the mutuality of presence we have in each others' lives, every place we go. 

Photo: Benita King

Misha Munim – LHR in Cape Town

Misha MunimI worked with the Gender Equality Programme and supported LHR’s work as a member of the Hate Crimes Working Group. During my placement, the Department of Justice in South Africa released a new piece of legislation for public comment: The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. For the first time in the country’s history, the government drafted legislation exclusively devoted to criminalizing hate crimes and hate speech. The draft bill quickly became the crux of debate because of its hate speech provision, which many stakeholders saw as overbroad and raising concerns about freedom of expression rights protected under the Constitution. While South Africa’s Equality (civil) Courts typically had jurisdiction to regulate hate speech, the new bill would now grant this jurisdiction to criminal courts.

South Africa is a young democracy, since apartheid ended in 1994, and I was fortunate to play a role in the democratic process to comment on the draft bill. I published a critical analysis paper through the Heinrich Boll Foundation, an international organization that promotes government-civil society dialogue. In the paper, I engaged in a wide range of legal analysis, such as the state’s requirement to prove a person’s “intention” to commit a hate speech offence under the criminal law standard of proof: “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This paper helped lay the groundwork for LHR’s advocacy around the bill. I was able to attend roundtable discussions with government representatives and draft press releases and briefing notes to promote LHR’s position on the bill. Because of the collaborative advocacy efforts of civil society stakeholders, the Department of Justice planned to revise the bill to make it more reflective of issues raised during the democratic engagement process.

Cape Town is delightful and full of culture and adventure, and South Africa is one of my favourite places in the world. Given its wounded past of apartheid, resilience and a strong spirit to fight for justice can be felt everywhere in the country. I have learned far more than I contributed, and I thank YLIP and South Africa for giving me the most rewarding experience of a lifetime. 

Photo: Misha Munim

Subban Jama - International Commission of Jurists – Kenya Section, Nairobi, Kenya

Subban JamaThe International Commission of Jurists - Kenya Section is a hybrid of an intellectual think tank, a litigation firm and a community advocacy organization. ICJ Kenya’s projects run the gamut, ranging from advocacy to bring extra-judicial killings and sexual and gender-based violence to an end, to trial observation of International Criminal Court proceedings in Rwanda, to strengthening women’s representation in judiciaries across East Africa. 

The sheer breadth of thematic areas that the organization tackles exposed me to a wide array of issues and local, regional and international laws. In my time there I assisted in significant public interest litigation cases based on the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya, produced research papers on corporate pillage under the cover of war and human rights abuses committed during counter-terrorism initiatives, and conducted paralegal training in remote parts of the country. Travelling across the vast expanse that is Kenya and interacting with its diverse, multi-ethnic communities has also been a thoroughly enriching experience.

Outside of the workplace, living in Kenya has been a wonderful adventure. It has been a pleasure to call home the bustling city of Nairobi, known fondly as “the green city in the sun”.

As a young lawyer who is passionate about the intersection of law and development, working at ICJ Kenya and in a city with a vibrant civic space like Nairobi has been an incredible opportunity. 

Photo: Subban Jama

Michael Adams with Legal Aid South Africa, Cape Town

Michael AdamsI was placed at Legal Aid South Africa’s Cape Town Justice Centre. Legal Aid SA provides legal advice and representation for economically disadvantaged clients facing a range of legal issues including criminal, family, estate, labour/employment, contract, and tenancy issues. My job included conducting quick legal research projects and reviewing trial transcripts to determine the merits of a potential appeal. During my placement, I worked closely with substantive South African law including issues touching constitutional law, evidence, and criminal procedure. I found comparing South African and Canadian approaches useful in understanding both systems.

Working with the High Court section gave me exposure to serious high profile cases. I assisted in several murder trials including an application to have the accused determined not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Working on these files really helped me gain new insights into how crime is investigated and prosecuted in Canada. I hope to bring these experiences back and incorporate them into my practice. 

Legal Aid SA’s staff are friendly and willing to show you how things work. From my first day I was accompanying attorneys and candidate attorneys to their court appearances. I also had the opportunity to observe court proceedings of national political importance. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in witness examination and judicial intervention. I also had the opportunity to visit several prisons in and around Cape Town.  This is a great placement for anyone interested in learning about substantive law and litigation practice in a fascinating context.

Photo: Michael Adams

Interns with the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) in Windhoek, Namibia 

The LAC is a human rights law firm established in the midst of the struggle for Namibia’s liberation from South Africa.  It was developed in response to the human rights abuses occurring under South African apartheid rule and the non-existence of the rule of law.  I worked in the Gender Research & Advocacy Project (“GRAP”), which aims to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women through legal research, law reform and related advocacy work. 

Kaity Cooper – LAC, Windhoek

Kaity CooperDuring my 6-month placement at GRAP I was kept very busy working on a variety of law reform, legal research and legal education projects. I attended stakeholder meetings hosted by the Ministry of Gender and the Finnish Embassy where I collaborated with NGOs and government representatives on responses to gender-based violence in Namibia. I drafted legal education materials on issues that affect women and children, including fact sheets on no-fault divorce and the International Criminal Court and a child-friendly water conservation policy. I conducted public outreach through articles, radio programs and training sessions, including drafting op-eds on statelessness and water conservation that appeared in the national newspaper.  And I conducted legal research and written briefs for use in law reform initiatives, including in a campaign to have Namibia accede to the two statelessness conventions.

In my spare time I signed up for as many community events as possible, joining a hockey club and yoga studio and attending regular local events and festivals. I also escaped the city a few weekends to explore other parts of Namibia.

I had a wonderful time in Windhoek and at the LAC. I highly recommend this placement and am grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Photo: Kaity Cooper

Aneesha Lewis – LAC, Windhoek

Aneesha  LewisMy work with the LAC mainly consisted of research, writing, editing, and attending stakeholder meetings. The content of my assignments was quite varied, including researching and writing a report comparing international law to existing domestic law and suggesting improvements; writing plain language chapters for a manual on new legislation; writing fact sheets on topics such as divorce and the International Criminal Court; representing LAC at meetings on gender-based violence; assisting with training sessions for the government, police, and NGOs on gender-related issues; and digging through old texts in libraries to find pre-Independence regulations for an annotated legislation compilation. GR&AP is quite small so interns are heavily relied upon – which means you get interesting work and your time is valued.

Outside of work, life in Namibia has been amazing. The people I’ve met have been very friendly and welcoming. Thanks to this experience, I’ve developed friendships that will continue past the end of my placement. The experiences gained, both professional and personal, have made participating in YLIP such an amazing opportunity. I would gladly recommend YLIP to any young lawyers interested in international work. If I could, I would do it all over again! 

Photo: Aneesha Lewis

Aparna Bhushan - Save the Children, Kathmandu, Nepal

Aparna BhushanI was formally assigned to the Child Protection and Child Right Governance team at SC Nepal but also had the opportunity to closely work with the Food Security and Livelihoods group and the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion team. Given the large presence of Save the Children in Nepal, my work in the country office was diverse and I was fortunate to have had access to many interesting projects. 

By taking the initiative to get involved with various thematic groups within the organization, I was able to explore development fields that I was most interested in and discovered which areas I can make the greatest contribution to. In my time here, I worked on projects ranging from initiating a redraft of SC Nepal’s group-lending/microfinance initiative to writing reports regarding the steps Nepal should take to implement the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. I also supported development of an extensive project proposal centered on changing Nepal's deeply-rooted cultural practices and beliefs regarding adolescent girls.

Working for SC Nepal was a life-changing experience.

My YLIP experience is one that will stay with me long after my placement ends – it not only shaped my career goals but it also shaped the person I have become. 

Photo: Aparna Bhushan

Marie-Laure Tapp – International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Kathmandu, Nepal

Marie-Laure TappI was placed with the Nepal Office of IDEA in Kathmandu. I was truly happy to be going to Nepal, which I had visited before and deeply liked. Nepal went through a lot in the past decade: the end of a civil war and a difficult (some say nonexistent) transitional  justice process, the drafting of a new constitution and ensuing protests, and of course the devastating earthquakes that struck the country in April and May 2015. However, Nepal is determined to move forward and while it might take a while to truly regularize its unstable political situation, it is fascinating and exciting to be in the middle of, and concretely involved in, the growth of a new democracy. My work at IDEA Nepal allowed me to better grasp the multiple issues surrounding constitutional implementation and related legislative and electoral processes. I have had the opportunity to work on projects related to gender equality, indigenous communities and election organization. I was also put in charge of coordinating a group of local lawyers, all constitutional experts, who analyzed various bills required to implement Nepal’s year-old Constitution. The recommendations and comments we compiled were then brought before various parliamentarians and stakeholders with the goal of influencing the drafting of these bills. I was privileged to learn directly from these experts, and happy to facilitate their important work for the future of Nepal’s incredibly diverse population.

My time at IDEA reinforced my skills as an international lawyer, from writing and editing (newspaper articles and constitutional assessment tools are quite different from large law legal briefs!) to cross-cultural communications. It was without a doubt a very enriching experience and I wish Nepal the best of success in its democracy-building process!

On a personal level, Nepal has also been great. As an avid trekker and runner who loves the outdoors, I was not disappointed. I went on two beautiful treks and on weekly trail runs in the Kathmandu Valley with funny and very welcoming fellow runners, both Nepali and foreigners. Kathmandu has also a vibrant cultural scene and a great coffee culture, which, as a Montrealer, I very much enjoyed!

Photo: Marie-Laure Tapp, centre

Jason Wai - National Legislative Development Project (NLD), Hanoi, Vietnam 

Jason WaiThe NLD supports the Government of Vietnam with its law-making process. I was fortunate to arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam three months after its Law on Promulgating Legal Normative Documents (LPLND) came into force. The work was quite diverse, from drafting a public call for consultants to doing research on Canadian private international law.

Since the NLD is very much a rule of law project, it means having many opportunities to learn how Vietnam’s government and political system operates, and how the judiciary fits into that system. Being able to learn about how a one-party state functions was a truly unique experience and came through being on the ground and working hand in hand with the government through the NLD. This knowledge gave me perspective on the need for context-specific solutions.

The other highlight of my experience was, ironically, the amount of knowledge I gained about Canada’s legal and government system, Canada’s position in the international community, and how Canadians are viewed in Vietnam.

I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet some of Canada’s legal experts in areas related to Rule of Law, in a capacity only possible through YLIP. I encourage all young lawyers to apply for a position at YLIP to broaden their concept of what is legal practice and how the law can help bring change.

Photo: Jason Wai