The training of the second hundred of lawyers and female lawyers in the framework of the professional development program “The Lawyer of Tomorrow” was completed, which had been implemented by the Association of Ukrainian Lawyers in partnership with the public organization “All-Ukrainian Association of Lawyers Providing Free Legal Aid”. The Canadian-funded Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project completed three years of expert and financial support of this initiative, covering both the development and implementation of the Program in 2016-2018. In 2018, “The Lawyer of Tomorrow” Program was also supported by the US Embassy’s in Ukraine Law Enforcement Section.
“The Lawyer of Tomorrow” Program is a unique product developed in 2016-2017 by a team of Canadian and Ukrainian experts in accordance with identified needs for lawyer training and professional development in Ukraine, taking into account best international practices and Canadian experience. More than 100 attorneys and lawyers from all over Ukraine took part in the study of the needs, conducted by experts of the Canadian Bar Association in 2016. The study of needs identified key needs of attorneys development, namely the development of so-called soft skills, in particular, the ability to communicate efficiently with clients, develop leadership competencies, the ability to work with colleagues in the court process, and colleagues attorneys, including in the context of mentoring, as well as skills of public communication with the media and the advocacy of changes for the development of the justice system in Ukraine. Thus, the issues of efficient communication, professional ethics, leadership, rule of law and access to justice for vulnerable groups became cross-cutting issues of the Program.
The Professional Development Program was developed based on the identified learning needs and included four core training modules, namely: 1) “Working with the client”; 2) “Interaction of an attorney with the court and other participants in the process”; 3) “Communication in the bar community”; 4) “Interaction with the public and the media. Advocacy”. The structure and main elements of the Program were developed by Canadian attorneys with the support of the Project and the Program partners, and Ukrainian trainers: Iryna Glushchenkova, Vitaliy Kasko, Alyona Horova, Roman Koval, Larysa Denysenko, Tetyana Troshchinska and Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, as well as expert lawyers: Serhii Honcharenko, Olga Zhukovska, Volodymyr Sushchenko, Dmytro Kukhnyuk, Oleksandr Yanovskyi, Andriy Kostin, Yulia Lisova, participated in the development of the Program’s content. The Program also includes inter-modular educational activities for the professional development of attorneys, including those facilitating communication, collaboration and network development. In particular, the Project supported inter-modular activities on the development of emotional intelligence and mediation skills.
In 2016, 707 applications were received in the framework of the competitive selection for participation in the Program, of which the competition committee selected 109 attorneys who became participants of the “first hundred lawyers of tomorrow”. In 2017, 515 applications were submitted to the competition and 100 attorneys were selected for training in the second year of the Program. After each training/module, both during the pilot (first year of the Program), and the subsequent implementation of the Program, the evaluation was carried out by the participants of each module and the Program as a whole. According to these surveys, the participants in both the first and second cycle of studies have highly evaluated each module of the Program as useful, and at the same time inspiring and practical, meeting the needs of attorneys in training and allowing to see new approaches in the work of an attorney. Absolute majority of the participants noted that the training was very useful for further professional practice and personal development, and more than half of the participants who participated in the survey stressed that their expectations for studying within the framework of the Program were exceeded. All participants would encourage their colleagues to participate in the Program and ensured that they would share the experience and knowledge they gained by participating the Program. The evaluation results of the pilot Program in 2017 were taken into account during the implementation of the Program for the second hundred participants in 2018.
The implementation of “The Lawyer of Tomorrow” Program has helped to strengthen the capacity of more than 200 attorneys from different parts of Ukraine (most of them are women) to efficiently communicate with various stakeholders, in particular to improve the skills of working with vulnerable groups in Ukraine, for example, those suffering from domestic violence, veterans of war, internally displaced persons, Roma, people with addictions, children, etc.; to strengthen customer orientation and adherence to legal ethics, to improve the efficiency of interaction with procedural opponents and improve the skills of appearances in court; to strengthen capacity of developing partnerships, negotiating and advancing change in the area of justice; to broaden ideas and improve public and media skills, and to learn about advocacy and how it can be used in order to advance reforms. In addition, within the framework of the Program, the participants were able to learn more about the provision of legal aid in Ukraine and, as a result, to engage in providing free legal aid to vulnerable groups.
We greatly appreciate the fact that “The Lawyer of Tomorrow” Program enables the exchange of experience and best practices, creates a space for professional development and partnership that serves as a powerful motivating factor, and inspires improvements in both its own professional and collaborative activities for the promotion of human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine.
We are proud of the results of the Program and are grateful for the cooperation of all those involved in the development and implementation of “The Lawyer of Tomorrow” Program, in particular, the Project partners in implementing the Program, namely the Ukrainian Bar Association and the All-Ukrainian Association of Lawyers Providing Free Legal Aid, as well as the Canadian Bar Association, all trainers and female trainers, experts and female experts of the Program, and the Program team in 2016-2018. We are very grateful to our colleagues from the US Embassy’s in Ukraine Law Enforcement Section for supporting the implementation and development of the Program in 2018, and we wish everyone great success in the further implementation of “The Lawyer of Tomorrow” Program, which became a true innovation in the bar community in Ukraine.