Hamjambo Tanzania Law School!

Photo above: Tristan Chubb is Senior Counsel- EMEA with GE Aviation. We welcome his guest blog post about his experience participating in the New Perimeter Tanzania Law School legal education project in 2014.


Or “hello, how are you?” for those of you not familiar with Swahili…

I was fortunate recently to take part in the New Perimeter Tanzania pro bono teaching project. This is a fantastic project run in partnership with DLA Piper, where teams of DLA Piper and GE lawyers travel to Dar Es Salaam to teach a week’s course on legal drafting and negotiating skills at the Law School of Tanzania. Each pair of lawyers (one from GE, one from DLA Piper) was tasked with teaching a single topic (I taught Drafting and Negotiating Arbitration Clauses), delivered to rotating classes of around thirty students each day for five days. The Law School is the only one of its kind in Tanzania and the project is a key part of its efforts to improve and broaden the scope of the legal education it provides to Tanzania’s next generation of lawyers.

My first Dar Es Salaam experience was the taxi ride from the airport to our hotel, where I learned, in a somewhat more bracing fashion than I’d hoped after the sixteen hour journey, that red lights do not necessarily always mean stop, that the width of the road is a matter of driver opinion and that the posted speed limits are, like the Pirate Code, “more like guidelines.” A high adrenaline start to what would prove an exhilarating week.

There was more than a touch of anxious nerves in the minibus on the way to the Law School on Monday morning, and not solely because of the road conditions. As teachers, we had no idea of the scale, standards or expectations we were about to face.  We did however have the benefit of the excellent materials prepared by the New Perimeter team. We need not have been concerned.

Throughout the week, the classes were a delight to be part of, particularly as we, as teachers, became increasingly comfortable with the materials and how best to pitch them to the level of the students. The students were full of enthusiasm, actively participating in sessions and clearly keen to learn. The sessions were designed to be as interactive as possible, and included, at least in my case, a negotiation session pitting teams of the students against each other. This was a session the students particularly enjoyed, and we enjoyed viewing, especially as the deadlines approached and the volume escalated exponentially!

I think I’d speak for all of the team in saying that we got as much, if not more, from the course as the students. From the experience of teaching and leading a class, and a different class each day at that, learning from the students about their lives and ambitions and just simply being in and around Dar es Salaam for a week, we all came back with a greatly expanded horizon and invigorated by having made, however small, a contribution to the development of a great group of individuals and a wonderful country.