In conversation with Séréna Salem

Building Capacity at Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education
In conversion with Séréna Salem

What inspired you during the project?

This is a hard question. There were so many sources of inspiration during this project!

If I have to pick only two, then my first sources of inspiration were the organizers of the project, Simon Boon and Claire Donse. They began preparing us for the classes months ahead and put so much effort into ensuring that we would be absolutely prepared and that we would deliver the best possible lectures to the students. They focused on what the students needed to take out of this: the drafting skills but also the confidence to stand out and participate in class. Seeing how dedicated and excited Claire and Simon were inspired me −and I think the whole group of instructors − to surpass expectations and give all our energy to make the classes as successful as possible for the students.

Secondly, there was the preparatory meeting with the ZIALE management. The director and her team were so dedicated to the school and the students. Seeing this management team in action and experiencing their enthusiasm about the program made me realize the real importance and weight of this initiative. Supporting those amazing people in their quest for improvement and excellence made me proud of what I was doing.

What was the most fulfilling aspect of the work?

The students’ evolution throughout the week, without a doubt. At first slightly shy and reserved, the students gained confidence and self-assurance during the week. You could feel that they were happy to be there and proud to be challenged and asked to express themselves. They were so eager to learn but also to share their knowledge of, among other topics, Zambian law.

We were teaching a different class each day and the students were so energizing. The hardest part for our team was saying goodbye and not staying with the same students the whole week.

As a lawyer with an arbitration-oriented practice, I was very happy to mainly be teaching about drafting of arbitration clauses. Several students told me at the end of the class and at the closing ceremony that they had finally understood the contours of that dispute resolution mechanism and that it would be very useful for their practice. Some even told me that I had inspired them with my passion for arbitration and that they now wanted to contribute to its development in Zambia. I have to admit that this warmed my heart.

What one word describes your New Perimeter trip?


There were so many moving moments throughout the week. One of those unforgettable moments was at the opening ceremony when, with pride and beautiful voices, the students started singing the national anthem in unison. It was incredible!

About Séréna Salem

Séréna is a senior assocaite in DLA Piper's Paris office.

Full bio

"There were so many moving moments throughout the week."