Providing Legal Training and Curriculum Development Assistance to Ethiopia’s Premier Law School
Commenced in 2008, the Addis Ababa Law School Project represented a collaborative effort by New Perimeter, Northwestern University School of Law, and consulting firm Accenture to assist the University of Addis Ababa Faculty of Law in Ethiopia. Although the premier law school in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa Law School faces challenging circumstances. It is severely hampered by aging facilities and a lack of financial resources that compromise the school’s ability to provide a solid legal education to its students—the future leaders of Ethiopia.
To carry out this project, New Perimeter assembled a project team of DLA Piper lawyers from Europe, the United States and the Middle East. Lawyers from 16 DLA Piper offices around the globe participated. Nine teams of lawyers traveled to Addis Ababa to teach short courses to Ethiopian graduate law students in areas relating to business law. Course topics included international business negotiations, international arbitration and international taxation. When in Addis, each teaching team also provided lectures to the Ethiopian Bar Association and reached out to relevant local organizations and government ministries. The teams worked closely with the Law School Dean and faculty and left behind detailed teaching materials that can be used in the future.
The New Perimeter team also helped the Law School plan and host a conference on law and economic development in Addis Ababa in November 2008. Hosted by the Law School and sponsored by New Perimeter and LexisNexis, the conference attracted 150 attendees, including legal practitioners, academics, Ethiopian government officials, delegates from non-governmental organizations, law students and representatives of the Ethiopian business community. Conference participants heard from panels of distinguished speakers on topics such as foreign investor protection, dispute resolution in the promotion of economic development and WTO accession.
In addition, the project partners worked with the law school to expand both its hard volume and data-base library collection and to provide expanded opportunities for Addis Ababa law faculty to obtain further training in the US and elsewhere. The DLA Piper Foundation issued a significant grant to the Law School to go toward the purchase of legal texts and technological equipment and to help fund research grants for faculty members.