Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) is a charity that brings together volunteer lawyers and professionals from law firms, in-house, and academia to develop and support rule of law projects in the human and wildlife rights and global capacity building sectors.
LWOB also works with law students from around the world and now has 24 student divisions (from the UK to Australia). Students work on pre-agreed projects that support LWOB’s work, culminating each year in the much anticipated LWOB Student Rule Of Law Challenge (ROLIC).
Students are challenged to create learning mechanisms for use in LWOB’s ongoing programmes, with the winning projects used in the field. This year, students chose from a range of formats: a public service campaign, educational talking books, videos or card games, with each team being paired with a mentor from amongst LWOB’s partner law firms.
The final was set to take place in London with all teams represented (including Australia) and 90 students gathering for live presentations.
As with so many aspects of our lives, COVID-19 intervened and Ropes & Gray worked with LWOB to rethink the event and make sure that the students' hard work was acknowledged. They submitted pre-recorded presentations of their entries, and the final took place over Zoom with over 50 students, judges, and panelists attending.
The entries were as creative as ever, as shown in this short video compilation [Password: 2020], with King’s College London receiving first prize overall for their anti-human trafficking handbook and teaching guidelines. Ropes & Gray mentored the teams from Cardiff (most innovative project ) and Cambridge (overall third place).
The presentation also included a virtual panel, moderated by Ropes & Gray partner and LWOB board member, Amanda Raad. Other panelists were Patricia Sullivan, LWOB board member and Global Co-Head of Financial Crime compliance for Standard Chartered Bank, Tracy Alexander, Director of Forensic Services at City of London Police and President of the British Academy of Forensic Scientists, Jessica Ryckman, Deputy Director at LWOB, and Amber Pledge and James Colautti, lawyers from Morrison & Foerster and ROLIC mentors.
The panel discussed their interest and involvement in rule of initiatives, as well as the obstacles and new challenges faced due to the global pandemic.
We are all truly inspired by the students.