Young Lawyers International Program

  • February 02, 2016

By CBA International Initiatives

In January, a contingent of 17 young lawyers with the CBA Young Lawyers International Program left Canada to begin six-month placements in Africa, the Caribbean, and South and East Asia. Placed with legal organizations working in rights advocacy and reform, constitutional and electoral reform, legal aid and legislative development, CBA interns contribute professionally to the work of the organizations and benefit from the unique opportunity to hone their skills and understanding of international development and justice.

Host organizations are established partners of the CBA, including the Guyana Legal Aid Clinic (GLAC) in Georgetown; the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) in Windhoek, Namibia; and the South African History Archive (SAHA) in Johannesburg.

Interns at the GLAC in Guyana give support to legal aid clients, do research and opinion drafting, and get practical exposure to court proceedings and mediation. The LAC in Namibia has involved CBA interns with the organization’s Gender Research and Advocacy Project. This year’s intern will be drafting advocacy materials on family law issues and providing substantive input in the finalization of regulations on the national Child Care and Protection Act – as well as examining citizenship, freedom of thought issues and other broad-scale matters in support of the organization’s legal advocacy efforts. Interns at SAHA in Johannesburg, an independent human rights archive established by anti-apartheid activists in the 1980s, have become involved in awareness raising around the vital Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) as a strategic advocacy tool. This year’s intern will draft advocacy papers for the PAIA Civil Society Network, take part in managing access to information requests, and produce case studies related to particular requests, for wide public dissemination.

Past CBA interns at these and other partner organizations have found their work challenging, practical, and appealing in terms of the array of skills they have developed and of networks they’ve been able to create. With intern support, partner organizations, in turn, continue to expand their reach and impact on the strengthening of rule of law in their countries. The CBA is proud to see the diverse career paths these young lawyers follow after their placements, across public and private sectors both in Canada and overseas.

CBA International Initiatives looks forward to recruiting its next group of talented young lawyers for the 2016-17 internship cycle. If you are, or know of, a young lawyer who envisions a career path that includes challenging overseas legal work, and who has the qualities needed to embrace life in a developing country, have a look at our opportunities page.

The Young Lawyers International Program is executed by the Canadian Bar Association with funding from Global Affairs Canada.