On June 1, 2016 Director of the Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project of the Canadian Bureau for International Education Larissa Bezo, President of the Ukrainian Bar Association Denys Buhai, Chairman of the Board of the NGO “All-Ukrainian Association of Lawyers Providing Free Legal Aid” Viktoriia Mitko and President of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) John Hoyles took part in a joint press conference.
The event was held in LigaBusinessInform information agency and devoted to the launch of a unique professional training program for lawyers “The Lawyer of Tomorrow”, the first of the kind in Ukraine.
«The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» initiative will be implemented with the support of the QALA Project, implemented by the Canadian Bureau for International Education and funded by the Government of Canada. The initiative provides for cooperation between the Canadian Bureau for International Education, the Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) and NGO “All-Ukrainian Association of Lawyers Providing Free Legal Aid” with the support of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), aimed at developing and implementing professional training program for lawyers.
“The professional training program for lawyers is aimed at the development of legal aid and advocacy skills, in order to support the long-term development of a professional legal community, legal aid and justice reforms in Ukraine“, informed Larissa Bezo, Director of the QALA Project.
The day before, the parties signed a respective memorandum of Cooperation for the initiative implementation.
“The Lawyer of Tomorrow initiative” is a kind of a “legal MBA” to me. Yes, the participants of the training sessions will be able to improve their professional abilities, develop leadership skills, communication skills, etc. Consequently, we will raise the professional level of our colleagues in a qualitative manner and prepare them for better work both in the courtrooms, as well as during implementation of non-governmental initiatives at the local and national level“, said Denys Buhai, the UBA President, during the press conference.
“Our main goal is to ensure that those who receive legal aid, including free of charge, receive it in a qualitative manner. Therefore, lawyers need to have common values. These are lawyers for whom human rights protection is the most important; they want to be the best, to efficiently communicate both with clients, and with all members of the legal community. These are the goals set by our organization for itself“, said Viktoriia Mitko. According to her, participation in «The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» program will help lawyers develop, improve the skills of communication with their clients and, consequently, “change the minds of citizens who have not learned how to solve their issues in a legal way for many years“. She expressed gratitude to the Canadian colleagues for assistance in the implementation of this mission.
«The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» initiative will involve two stages, namely the stage of evaluating the needs and the stage of development and pilot implementation of the professional training program for lawyers.
According to participants of the press conference, approximately 100-150 lawyers from all regions of Ukraine, selected on a competitive basis, will participate in the first pilot launch of the project. “The fact that the competition will be as transparent and open as possible and the announcement will be as wide as possible is principal for us. We assume that the colleagues who will complete the training, will apply the acquired skills in practice. And this will be their primary responsibility“, – Denys Buhai said.
John Hoyles, President of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), expressed an opinion that «The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» initiative will help to establish communication between lawyers and facilitate the improvement of the quality of justice in Ukraine. In addition, as he said, “Canada is a large country in terms of geography, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, so we have similar challenges in our profession. We have the desire and, thanks to the Government of Canada supporting this project, an opportunity to build a professional network for sharing experience with each other.“
Also, the results of the first official visit of the CBA President John Hoyles to Ukraine at the invitation of the Ukrainian Bar Association were discussed at the press conference. He outlined the good quality of relations between the two professional organizations and was convinced that the cooperation between the UBA and the CBA would be long and fruitful.
It should be recalled that during the week the delegation of Canadian experts consisting of Mrs. Kimberly Inksater, international programs head of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), and Sarah MacKenzie, lawyer-coordinator of Legislation & Law Reforms Department at the CBA stayed in Ukraine within the framework of «The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» initiative supported by the QALA Project. Together with the representatives of the QALA Project Larissa Bezo and Oksana Kikot, they conducted evaluation sessions in three cities, Kyiv, Lviv and Odesa, with the participation of lawyers from ten regions of the country; met with the representatives of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, the management of the Ministry of Justice and the Presidential Administration of Ukraine.
“I would like to thank all the colleagues who participated in the discussions within the framework of the mission. These were very open and fruitful conversations, lively discussions. It will help our team to understand the most important aspects on how to efficiently build «The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» initiative for the benefit and development of the legal community in Ukraine“, said Larissa Bezo.
Based on the results of the evaluation missions, a training program will be developed and trainers will be selected, including both Canadian experts and national trainers. In accordance with the memorandum of cooperation between the parties, «The Tomorrow`s Lawyer» initiative will be implemented as a pilot during 2017.