AFRICA LAW TODAY, Volume 4, Issue 4 (2012)

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1 AFRICA OUTREACH SURVEY REVEALS SECTION S STRONG TIES TO AFRICA AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO COLLABORATE WITH LAWYERS THROUGHOUT THE CONTINENT * Earlier this fall, the Africa Committee conducted a survey of members of the American Bar Association s Section of International Law (the Section ), which was designed to enhance two-way engagement between the Section and lawyers in Africa. The objectives of the survey were multifaceted, including assessing Section members existing professional connections to Africa, generating a directory of lawyers whose practice focuses on Africa, and collecting ideas for new partnerships between the Section and African lawyers. The survey supports Goal IV of the American Bar Association to advance the rule of law around the world by bringing closer together the community of lawyers focused on African legal issues through dialogue, knowledge sharing, and professional exchange. The survey revealed that Section members are already working on a wide array of legal matters in almost every country in Africa and are eager to deepen their engagement by participating in Section initiatives that facilitate collaboration with lawyers throughout the Continent. The survey was completed by 152 Section members, who provided over 250 contacts to be included in the Section s Directory of Lawyers in Africa (the Directory ). As an incentive to complete the survey, one respondent was selected to win a free registration to the Section meeting. The winner was Mausi Segun. In relevant part, the survey asked Section members the following questions: (1) to which countries in Africa are you professionally connected, (2) what particular legal issues, campaigns or types of transactions have you worked on in those countries, (3) what Africa-related legal issues, campaigns or types of transactions would you like to work on, (4) what mode of communication do you believe would be effective for two-way exchange between the Section and lawyers in Africa, and (5) what ideas do you have for developing meaningful partnerships between the Section and lawyers practicing in Africa. In addition, the survey requested that respondents recommend lawyers to be included in the Section s Directory, which members can use to identify local partners in Africa and the Section can use more generally to facilitate its outreach efforts. The majority of respondents were lawyers practicing in private law firms, followed by academics, public sector lawyers, solo practitioners, in house counsel, lawyers working with international institutions, and attorneys working for legal services providers. Respondents primary areas of practice spanned a range of disciplines, including, among others, international transactions, cross-border litigation, international arbitration, international trade, securities law, corporate social responsibility, intellectual property, anti-corruption, anti-trust, products liability, mass tort litigation, environmental law, labor and employment, human rights, criminal law, immigration, appellate litigation, and government affairs. * Christina Holder is an associate in the Health Care and Not-for-Profit Group of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and a Vice Chair for Outreach of the Africa Committee. Yvonne Fiadjoe, Kel Jack, Olufunmi Oluyede and Christina developed the outreach survey and are now working on follow-up outreach efforts. 1

2 I. KEY FINDINGS The survey generated valuable data about Section members existing connections to countries in Africa and proposals for new Africa initiatives. Key findings of the survey are summarized below. a) Section Members Existing Connections to Africa The survey revealed that Section members have significant professional connections to nearly every country in Africa. By far, members have done the most work in Nigeria and South Africa, though they also have significant experience in Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Most respondents experiences related to business law, particularly in the extractive industries. Fewer respondents than expected identified themselves as having worked in the areas of human rights or economic development. Below is a summary of responses showing the countries that Section members have worked in and the matters that they have worked on. Algeria (5 responses; business law, intellectual property law; securities law); Angola (5 responses; business law, including distribution; regulation of pro bono, intellectual property law); Benin (3 responses; business law, development assistance, property law, intellectual property law); Botswana (7 responses; business law, including mining contracts and distribution; social justice and economic development; intellectual property law); Burkina Faso (2 responses; business law, property law, intellectual property law); Burundi (4 responses; business law, including mining contracts; property law; intellectual property law); Cameroon (9 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts; intellectual property law, employment law; climate change); Cape Verde (1 response; business law, intellectual property law); Central African Republic (1 response; business law, intellectual property law); Chad (2 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts, intellectual property law); Comoros (1 response; business law, intellectual property law); Côte d'ivoire (8 responses; business law, including distribution; property law; legal education; governance, intellectual property law); Democratic Republic of the Congo (8 responses; business law, including mining contracts; conflict mineral supply chain audit; intellectual property law, social justice and economic development; property law; human rights, including women s rights; environmental law); Djibouti (1 response; business law, intellectual property law); Egypt (11 responses; business law, anticorruption due diligence, regulation of pro bono, intellectual property law; international arbitration; securities law); Equatorial Guinea (4 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts, intellectual property law); Eritrea (6 responses; business law, including mining contracts; legislative drafting, intellectual property law); Ethiopia (5 responses; business law, social justice and economic development, legal education, government administration, intellectual property law; human rights, including women s rights); Gabon (6 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts; property law, intellectual property law); Gambia (3 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts; human rights, intellectual property law); Ghana (11 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts and distribution; employment law; intellectual property law; legal education; 2

3 human rights; judiciary); Guinea (7 responses; business law, including extractive industries; property law; intellectual property law); Guinea-Bissau (2 responses; business law, intellectual property law); Kenya (15 responses; business law, employment law, intellectual property law, social justice and economic development, environmental law, including climate change; human rights, including women s rights); Lesotho (3 responses; business law; intellectual property law; social justice and economic development; property law; human rights, including women s rights); Liberia (8 responses; business law, employment law, intellectual property law, litigation, rule of law training, security sector reform); Libya (6 responses; business law, intellectual property law, securities law); Madagascar (2 responses; business law, intellectual property law); Malawi (4 responses; business law; employment law; intellectual property law; social justice and economic development; human rights, including women s rights); Mali (5 responses; business law, employment law, property law, intellectual property law); Mauritania (4 responses; business law, property law, intellectual property law, human rights, climate change); Mauritius (3 responses; business law, intellectual property law); Morocco (12 responses; business law, including distribution; finance; rule of law; anti-corruption; legal education; telecommunications licensing, intellectual property law; securities law); Mozambique (7 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts and distribution; employment law; social justice and economic development; human rights, including women s rights; intellectual property law); Namibia (5 responses; business law, including mining contracts and distribution; intellectual property law; social justice and economic development; human rights, including women s rights); Niger (5 responses; business law, including mining contracts; employment law; property law); Nigeria (41 responses; business law, including mining contracts, distribution, sale of goods, secured transactions; legal education; human rights, including women s rights and child rights; criminal law; anti-corruption due diligence; rule of law training, telecommunications licensing, intellectual property law); Republic of the Cong (3 responses; business law, property law, intellectual property law); Rwanda (8 responses; business law; intellectual property law; project finance; social justice and economic development; international criminal law; rule of law training; property law; human rights, including women s rights); São Tomé and Príncipe (2 responses; business law, intellectual property law); Senegal (5 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts; intellectual property law, human rights; health law); Seychelles (2 responses; business law, intellectual property law); Sierra Leone (5 responses; business law, property law, intellectual property law; international criminal law); Somaliland (1 response; business law, intellectual property law); Somalia (1 response; business law, intellectual property law); South Africa (43 responses; business law, including mining contracts, mergers and acquisitions; finance; employment law; intellectual property law; LGBT rights; refugee and immigration law; rule of law; social justice and economic development; human rights, including women s rights; legal education; manufacturing and distribution; anti-corruption due diligence; telecommunications licensing); Sudan (2 responses; business law, intellectual property law); South Sudan (3 responses; business law, development assistance, property law, intellectual property law; independence referendum); Swaziland (3 responses; business law, intellectual property law, social justice and economic development); Tanzania (12 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts; intellectual property law; international criminal law; human rights, including women s rights); Togo (5 3

4 responses; business law, property law, intellectual property law); Tunisia (6 responses; business law, including oil and gas contracts; intellectual property law; legal education); Uganda (11 responses; business law, including mining contracts; microfinance; intellectual property law; LGBT rights; immigration and refugee law; international criminal law; social justice and economic development); Zambia (4 responses; business law, including distribution; intellectual property law; social justice and economic development; rule of law training); Zimbabwe (10 responses; business law, including mining contracts, distribution and joint ventures; intellectual property law; employment law; rule of law; human rights, including women s rights; constitutional law). b) Africa-Related Legal Issues, Campaigns or Transactions that Section Members Would Like to Explore The survey asked Section members to identify the types of legal projects that they hoped to work on in the future. This information was intended to help Section leadership, staff and members tailor Africa program proposals and professional exchanges to popular demand. In response to the question, Section members expressed a strong interest in continuing to work on Africa-related rule of law initiatives. Other areas of strong interest included extractive industry transactions, intellectual property law, financial market development, human rights, and water law. The particular responses are summarized below. For ease of reference, the responses have been categorized as Rule of Law / Governance, Legal Education, Human Rights, Economic Development, Environment Business Law, and Criminal Law. Rule of Law / Governance: Rule of law generally (including increasing effectiveness of rule of law initiatives) (12); good governance (2); local law and judicial process (2); capacity building in legislative drafting (including professional conduct, development, environmental law and reform) (3); administration of elections, enforcement of laws, enforcement of remedies, training judiciary (including on finance); post-conflict constitution drafting; peace negotiations; democratic governance (2); election monitoring. Legal Education: Strengthening legal education in Africa (clinical legal education skills, such as interviewing, counseling, negotiations, arbitration and mediation (3); involving U.S. students in service learning in Africa. Human Rights: Human rights generally (4); women s rights (3); health law (2); child rights, disability rights, human trafficking; domestic violence; refugee rights; collaborations between human rights advocates and scientists, engineers and technology experts in order to enhance evidence-driven advocacy; human rights issues and mobile technologies. Economic Development: Economic development (2); land tenure/inheritance (2); women s economic empowerment; cultural heritage protection and promotion projects; microfinance, 4

5 voluntourism, South-South collaboration, poverty, capital flight, structuring partnerships between international NGOs and local organizations. Environment: Environmental law generally (2); water law (4); climate change (2); sustainable travel; environmental conservation; animal conservation. Business: Extractive industry transactions (including mining, oil and gas) (6); intellectual property (patents, copyright, trade mark, trade secrets (5); financial market development (4); regional trade and business development (3); anti-corruption law (3); project finance (3); arbitration (including energy arbitration and enforcement of arbitral awards) (2); competition law (2), mobile payment technologies (2); admiralty and maritime law (2); international trade and customs law (2); employment law (including nondiscrimination law) (2); United States trade policy with Africa; small business development; agribusiness; public utilities, power generation, and energy distribution; accounting risk; import-export law in African Countries; joint venture formation; aviation law; regulation of foreign versus local business; debt management and insolvency. Criminal: Legal defense; forensic sciences and medical evidence. c) Member Suggestions for Developing Partnerships Between the Section and Lawyers in Africa Respondents felt that Section outreach should be guided by the legal interests and training needs of lawyers practicing in Africa, rather than the interests of the Section. Suggestions for identifying lawyers with whom to partner included reaching out to bar associations, law reform commissions, law schools, institutions that provide judiciary training, paralegal professional organizations; government officials, U.S. embassies, Rotary International offices, and Section country liaisons. Respondents were asked to select which form of communication they believed would be most effective for facilitating two-way exchange with lawyers in Africa. The most popular response was a periodic update featuring articles and solicitations from African lawyers, followed by a dedicated Section of the Africa Committee s Africa Law Today newsletter, an invitation to join the Africa Committee s LinkedIn group, and an invitation to connect to the Africa Committee s Facebook page. Other suggestions included advertising the Section through local online and print newspapers and United Nations web sites and by sending printed Section materials to law schools and bar associations. Also suggested was convening meetings and legal trainings in African countries and participating in the International Bar Association s African Forum. Member suggestions for types of legal exchange included the following proposals: Conduct continuing legal education seminars through free teleconferences and webinars; organize short conferences in African countries that focus on legal issues and practical skills training; invite speakers from African countries to be on Section panels; encourage a legal discussion topic of the month on the Africa Committee LinkedIn group or dedicated listserv; encourage guest blogging web sites; request that lawyers in Africa submit periodic evaluations of changes in laws for the Africa Law 5

6 Today newsletter; offer internship opportunities to advanced practitioners from Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa.to become trainers of trainers in various areas of the law and then supplement initial training with monthly Skype workshops; subsidize legal internships and lecture trips for African academics; facilitate mentorships; and sensitize legal practitioners in Africa about the benefits of networking with the Section. II. NEXT STEPS The Africa Committee will finalize the Directory of Lawyers in Africa and plans to update it regularly with new attorney listings. Targeted outreach to lawyers included in the Directory and other potential partners will be conducted on an ongoing basis. The survey results demonstrate that Section members are eager to become involved in Africa outreach efforts. Approximately sixty Section members have volunteered to participate in a focus group to assist the Africa Committee with refining its outreach activities, and seventy-four percent of respondents indicated that they would be interested in providing legal trainings to lawyers in Africa. Because the names of survey respondents were not automatically captured by the survey and associated software, only respondents who provided their addresses within their responses will be contacted to assist with outreach efforts. Please contact Christina Holder at if you would like to participate but did not provide your address. For additional information about the survey, or if you are a lawyer practicing in Africa and would like to learn more about the Africa Committee or be included in the Directory of Lawyers in Africa, please send an with your name, contact information, and area(s) of practice to 6

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