Myshele Shaw is a GE lawyer who participated in the New Perimeter Tanzania Law School legal education project. We welcome her guest blog post about her teaching experiences.
Being a member of the GE Legal team offers up opportunities to visit other countries and contribute to nation building exercises (even in a small and sometimes indirect way). When the opportunity arose to participate in a pro bono legal teaching week in Tanzania earlier in the year, I applied and was one of the lucky ones selected to attend. I had thought of writing a sort of daily blog about my experience but the time difference and technology challenges defeated me. So in the comfort of my desk are some of the details I would have blogged …
For the past three years, GE lawyers have partnered with DLA Piper to participate in a pro bono project at the Law School of Dar Es Salam in Tanzania. The project was initiated by the International Senior Lawyers Project. GE lawyers deliver a teaching module on "Legal Drafting Skills and Techniques" over a 2 week period to law students as part of their local bar training and to help capacity building at the Law School. Each GE lawyer (5 lawyers in total this year over the 2 week period) signs up to teach the module for one week. This is an important part of the teaching programme for the law school – so much so we were welcomed with an opening ceremony attended by the Deputy Minister for Justice and broadcast on radio and television. Not sure we will all be film stars but an important statement about the role the legal profession is to play in the future growth of Tanzania.
About 240 students attended the classes which lasted for approximately 6 hours every day. The student body was divided up into four groups named variously as Lions,Tigers etc. and every student was given a study guide that had been very professionally printed by DLA. There was a lot of interaction with the students over the week as the emphasis was on “learning by doing” and much fun mixed with a serious study of the topics in the study guide. As teachers, we found that the classes where sweets and chocolates were distributed for performance and engagement received very positive student feedback!
Over the week we also got to meet practising lawyers from the DLA network in Tanzania and Kenya and to discuss the law, politics, the future prospects for nations in Africa …. We also were able to tour the new (nearly completed) law school being financed by the EU– a school that is on par with those in the leading countries in the west.
Overall, a tremendous opportunity and if repeated next year I hope that GE lawyers in EMEA have the same opportunity – if not in Tanzania then in another developing country - where what we do, not matter how short, can make a meaningful difference to the future course of a nation.
The views and opinions expressed by our guest blogger are not endorsements or opinions of New Perimeter or DLA Piper.