Studying abroad: young lawyers share their impressions
What is interesting about studying outside Ukraine? The UNBA Youth Committee decided to collect stories from colleagues who have gained such experience in order to tell advocates about existing projects, typical selection criteria, teachers, and knowledge gained.
Academy of European Law
One of the attorneys who is constantly improving his or her skills is Sergiy Barbashyn, the Chairman of UNBA NextGen. He spoke about the Summer Course on European Intellectual Property Law to be organized by the Academy of European Law: ERA. The course was held in Trier, Germany, from June 27 to July 1, 2022.
The course covered the legal and institutional framework of European intellectual property law, the EU trademark legal system, European patent law, and more. The information combined both theoretical and practical aspects, with discussions in working groups. The course was also accompanied by the issuance of applied material for further use.
The course provided for the possibility of obtaining a scholarship, and, accordingly, the possibility of free participation for Ukrainian lawyers. Of course, subject to the requirements and deadlines of the organizer.
Tetiana Veremiy, a representative of the Youth Committee in Chernihiv Oblast is currently taking a course on Human Rights for Practicing Lawyers organized by the Czech CEELI Institute. This institution has been organizing international training for professional lawyers for many years, together with the Institute for Regional Press Development and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union with the support of USAID.
The trainers and lecturers are judges and lawyers of the ECHR. Therefore, the students have the opportunity to comprehend the full range and diversity of human rights protection mechanisms guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
This course is designed for 9 months, combining face-to-face events in Ukraine and Prague and online learning on the platform. The training methodology is based on the constant involvement of participants in the learning process, exchange of experience and simultaneous application of the acquired knowledge by practicing lawyers.
Participants include not only lawyers, but also judges, prosecutors and academics. And communication between lawyers of different professions adjusts approaches to cooperation and communication, uniting them by common values, with human rights protection at the center.
The selection procedure was competitive, and candidates had to fill out a questionnaire, part of which was to write a motivation letter. Knowledge of foreign languages was an advantage, but was not decisive for the selection process.
Professional Fellows Program, UN Summer Academy
Participant of training and exchange programs in the United States, Germany, Sweden, Poland, and Estonia, lawyer Andriy Nakonechniy also spoke about his experience in international training.
Among the various international exchanges and training programs in which he participated, the Professional Fellows Program (PFP) in the United States made the greatest impression on the attorney. As part of the program, he interned at the Cook County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development (Chicago, Illinois) and in Washington, DC. He learned about the program during a presentation by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
«Knowing about the program is only half the battle, says the advocate. - It's very important to understand certain nuances: who they are looking for (the ideal candidate), restrictions, optional requirements. There may be a situation where you seem to be a good fit, but after the presentation and a few questions, you realize that you need to improve your knowledge or skills to be more competitive, or that you are not interested in this program».
A. Nakonechniy compares the assessment process for participation in programs to a job application. After all, among dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of other candidates, you need to prove that you are the perfect candidate. And to do this, you need to demonstrate that you not only fully meet all the criteria for participation, but also have unique skills and knowledge (that stand out among others), or that participation in this particular program will help you to acquire them. After all, this knowledge and skills are critical to your job or career.
The lawyer advises to read the terms and conditions carefully, consult with colleagues who are graduates, think about the questions that may be asked, how to strengthen your weaknesses and show your strengths. «In my experience, there are programs where the selection process lasted a week without additional clarifications, and there were programs where you had to wait six months for a decision and pass several interviews and an exam to test your English language skills, explained Nakonechniy. - The clear recommendation here is not to be afraid to participate in such programs and to be persistent».
As a member of the alumni community, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany offered and funded him (after successful selection) a study program at the UN - the UN Summer Academy «Governance for Sustainable Development».
HELP (ToTs) platform
In 2022, Tetiana Rabko, a representative of the Youth Committee in Donetsk Oblast, participated in the HELP Platform Training of Trainers (ToTs) in Strasbourg.
The purpose of the ToTs is to prepare participants to act as HELP trainers for the legal community and other legal professionals, as well as to acquire skills for successful training in HELP online courses. Participants were selected based on their motivation letters.
During the training, the participants were introduced to the HELP platform and the algorithm of national adaptation of HELP courses. Upon completion of the training, they had to complete a practical task to create a test course on the platform. The opportunity to train participants to become HELP trainers allowed them to gain new knowledge and skills on the HELP platform and meet like-minded people.
Participants received a HELP trainer certificate. A nice bonus was the opportunity to visit the building of the European Court of Human Rights.
«Participation in international training programs for attorneys is a good opportunity to improve one's professional level and gain new unique knowledge or advantages in work, says Barbashyn. - Some employers, especially among international organizations and companies, highly value participation in international training or internships, and such experience is an advantage when hiring».
In his opinion, another result of studying is joining the alumni community and a network of useful contacts. Members of such communities are periodically offered interesting opportunities. «Therefore, international programs become a springboard for advocates to professional growth and a successful caree, summarized the Chairman of the UNBA NextGen.
This material is the first publication in the planned section. So, if you have interesting stories related to studying abroad, as well as want to share your experience, please send information to Olena Davydiuk, a member of the UNBA Committee Coordinator team (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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