Law students take part in Caribbean legal clinic

| 25/11/2016
CNS Local Life

Truman Bodden Law School

(CNS Local Life): Four representatives from the Truman Bodden Law School (TBLS) recently participated in the Caribbean Law Clinic (CLC), organised by the American and Caribbean Law Initiative (ACLI). The Cayman contingent comprised the school’s director of legal studies, Mitchell Davies, and three law students, Craig Thomas, Everton Spence and Danny Shebaclo. The Nova South Eastern Law School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hosted the event.

The ACLI is an association of law schools – six from the southern US and four from the Caribbean – which organises the CLC biannually, with member schools hosting the clinic in rotation. In addition to Truman Bodden, the member organisations are: Norman Manley Law School (Jamaica); Eugene Dupuch Law School (Bahamas); Hugh Wooding Law School (Trinidad); Thurgood Marshall Law School (Texas); Charlotte School of Law, North Carolina; Florida International University; Nova South Eastern University (Florida); Florida Coastal Law School; and Stetson Law School (Florida).

The Caribbean Law Clinic is the flagship event of the ACLI and exposes students to valuable advocacy training, requiring them to make legal arguments to an experienced panel of judges, which often include members of the local judiciary.

There are two novel features of the clinic, which Davies said make it “a unique and valuable legal research and advocacy experience”, explaining: “Students are placed into teams with their peers from the other law schools. This means that participating students from CILS will usually not be in the same team as each other, encouraging team-building skills and collaborative techniques.

“The questions set for oral argument at each clinic all concern practical legal issues and are usually set by members of the attorney general’s chambers of the host organisation, often being based upon real cases which may even be ongoing.

“This leads to the second unique feature of the clinics: the advice given by students is required to focus on (for most participants) foreign law and procedure. As well as testing students’ legal research skills, this requirement therefore provides invaluable exposure to foreign legal rules.”

Although participating students from the other member law schools are usually studying law at a postgraduate level, TBLS students have traditionally acquitted themselves with distinction at the CLC. The latest clinic was no exception, with Thomas, Spence and Shebaclo (all second year LL.B students) presenting their arguments to the acclaim of the panel of judges drawn mainly from the Florida district attorney’s office.

Thomas said on behalf of the Truman Bodden participants, “It was an absolute pleasure to work in collaboration with such bright and talented individuals. The problem we tackled revolved around terrorism, immigration, and complex pieces of United States legislation such as the Patriot Act 2001.

“Pointed questions from the judges really made you think on your feet and helped to sharpen our oral advocacy skills. The overall demonstration of skill, passion, and knowledge by my fellow teammates and competitors was truly inspiring.”

Trinidad’s Hugh Wooding Law School will host the next Caribbean Law Clinic in March 2017.

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Category: Education

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious to know why the law school refuses to hire qualified caymanian lecturers and is the director role until thy kingdom come? I’m more qualified and keen on applying but hitting roadblocks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Are these students Caymanian? The Law School was started to train Cay. to be lawyers. Is that still their mission?