As I reflect on my pro bono work this year, I recall my teaching experience in Zambia with New Perimeter and I recall those fond memories as I write this blog.
Comprising of a truly international group of DLA Piper lawyers from Chicago, Frankfurt, London and Los Angeles, together with lawyers from General Electric (GE) legal teams in Italy, South Africa and Germany, and Claire Donse our Project Leader from DLA Piper's Paris office, we arrived in Lusaka for a New Perimeter pro bono project teaching the next generation of lawyers at the Zambia Institute for Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE).
Over five full days our international group of presenters delivered legal drafting skills and techniques training to 239 students in classes ranging from 25-70 students. Classes were divided into five different subjects: (i) Principles of Effective Writing and Drafting; (ii) Drafting Sale and Purchase Agreements; (iii) Drafting Joint Venture and Heads of Terms Agreements; (iv) Negotiating and Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses and (v) Drafting African LMA Loan Agreements.
The course, designed to provide practical legal drafting "skills" training as opposed to purely academic legal teaching, was an opportunity for the students to gain valuable knowledge, skills and experience to assist them in their internships and in due course, in their full time jobs. The students proactively engaged in the course, they were eager to learn, asking interesting questions, and were particularly enthusiastic and passionate during the negotiation exercises.
It was a week that was so different from the usual in so many ways: the teaching, the interaction with the students, the country and spending a week with new people that I had never met before. Despite our providing training to the students, I felt that I had learnt a great deal too, for example, about certain aspects of Zambian law.
On the first day back at my desk after returning to the UK it felt a little strange not going to the classroom and teaching with my co-teacher, with whom I had perfected our training session on Drafting Joint Ventures and Heads of Terms Agreement. I feel absolutely privileged to have had the opportunity to teach at ZIALE and to have been part of this fantastic pro bono project.