New Perimeter (www.newperimeter.org) is a non-profit organization established by the global law firm DLA Piper to provide long-term, high-impact pro bono legal support to qualifying non-profit organizations, governments and academic institutions, primarily in developing and post-conflict regions. Founded in 2005 as a result of DLA Piper's commitment to support legal advancement worldwide, New Perimeter draws on the skills and talents of more than 4,000 DLA Piper lawyers globally. To maximize impact, New Perimeter sends teams of lawyers into the field to work alongside partners and clients whenever possible. New Perimeter focusses its work on legal education, women and children's rights, access to justice and law reform, environmental protection, economic development and food security.
Since its inception, New Perimeter has supported legal education in Sub-Saharan Africa. New Perimeter pledges to focus and deepen its commitment in this area by delivering innovative, practical, skills-based legal education programs in East Africa, specifically in Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya. In Kenya and Tanzania, teams of DLA Piper lawyers will deliver simulation-based training to government lawyers on business negotiations and international arbitration. In Zambia, DLA Piper lawyers will teach interactive courses on legal drafting to law students.
New Perimeter will implement and manage the training projects. Based in Washington, DC, New York, and Sydney, New Perimeter's team includes full-time lawyers, staff members and legal fellows. Lawyers who participate in New Perimeter projects are drawn from among the firm's global offices and selected through a competitive process that focuses on the lawyers' relevant expertise, including previous work in Africa and prior teaching experience. In addition, New Perimeter has successfully partnered with lawyers from the in-house departments of corporate clients. New Perimeter will maximize the resources available to deliver on this commitment by working with corporate partners who will help provide the training.
For 2012-2013, New Perimeter has developed an action plan to deliver training in schools and for government officials. In October 2012, New Perimeter will finalize MOUs with project partners. In the following three months, recruitment of teams of lawyers to staff each project will be selected and orientation for the Tanzanian Government and Zambia law school trainings. For the first five months of 2013, New Perimeter will deliver training to students in Zambia and Tanzanian Government lawyers. Finally, orientation for Kenyan government training will be held in July 2013 and delivered in November 2013.
Legal education in East Africa is in a nascent stage of development. Prior to the independence movement of the 1960's, colonial administrators discouraged the development of domestic legal sectors, and legal education in English-speaking African colonies was virtually non-existent (Kahn-Fogel, 2012). As the former president of Zambia stated in 1962, 'The lawyer, through his training and experience, is perhaps better fitted than anyone else to work out solutions to the social and economic problems of society' (Dauphinais, 2009).
Sound legal and judicial sectors that promote adherence to the rule of law are necessary for a country's economic, political and social development. Throughout East Africa, however, the number of practicing lawyers remains strikingly low. In the United States, there is roughly one lawyer for every 260 people. By contrast, there is one lawyer for every 5,686 people in Kenya as of 2007 and one for every 18,000 people in Zambia.
Even where lawyers are receiving education, there is increasing acknowledgement that young lawyers lack the practical training necessary to prepare them for the challenges of the profession, particularly in societies where their services are in such high demand. As one legal scholar noted, 'Many lawyers are ill equipped to efficiently and competently provide for their needs for development. Thus
the development of an effective lawyering skills pedagogy for East Africa is vital to the further progress of the law and development movement (Kahn-Fogel, 2012).'
New Perimeter is a non-profit organization established by global law firm DLA Piper to provide long-term, high-impact pro bono legal support to qualifying non-profit organizations, governments and academic institutions, primarily in developing and post-conflict regions. New Perimeter welcomes the opportunity to discuss partnering with CGI members on projects focused on legal education, women and children's rights, access to justice and law reform, environmental protection, economic development and food security.