TLI Summer Internship 2016. Kansas, USA

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Loredana Gamurari: About the internship at the Miami County District Court, Kansas

Together with colleagues from other universities, I undertook a legal internship at the Miami County District Court, Kansas, organized by the Leavitt Institute for international development. We had the privilege to watch in action the US judges, prosecutors and lawyers. At the Johnson County District Court, I have witnessed a jury trial. This was the highlight of our overseas experience, as it was up to 12 citizens to decide on the innocence of the defendant, showing the core of the American legal system.
We were really surprised by the American journalists' interest in us, students from Moldova studying their justice system.
Following this link you can see their material on our group: 
http://www.republic-online.com/…/article_ad44615c-de9a-5e78….
We've also visited the Topeka Appeal Court, where we've seen how the cases are solved. We have also visited the Federal Court. 
Also, we have participated in a women lawyer conference organised by the Kansas Women Attorneys Association in Lindsborg, where I met lawyers dealing with juvenile delinquency at the Miami County Court and judges from the Appeal Court of Topeka. We've participated at debates, ethics seminaries where we've learned of the problem of the minor refugees that came unattended to Kansas. 

 

The law students learn to reform the Moldovan Justice System in the USA 

The organizers of the internship have arranged meetings with the law students of the Kansas University during which we've spoken on different professional and non professional issues. 
At the State Capitol of Topeka we got to sit in the places of the governor, the members of the senate and to see all the official rooms. Three weeks of internship may not seem enough to comprehend the American justice system due to the deep discrepancies between our Romano-Germanic legal system and the common law. However, we had a two semesters course on the american legal system, so from a theoretical point of view we were prepared.  
When I asked an experienced Kansas prosecutor if he has ever faced a case of corruption, he denied it categorically. I found it very impressive how valuable the testimony of a police officer is in court and that when he looses his credibility, it affects all the cases he was involved in.
Comparing our legal system with the American one, we can be proud about some of our norms, especially the minors protection in the sexual abuse cases. They are not questioned publicly by the judge, but in separate rooms to diminish the stress level of the victims. Moreover, the rape cases in Moldova are examined in closed trial, both of the examples are more than welcomed.
I am glad that the projects of the Leavitt Institute encourage the participation of barristers, including barristers in training together with the National Justice Institute and university students. Thanks to the efforts of the American counterpart, the young lawyers that really want to change the system are identified and given the chance to network. The US experience will allow me to do my part in ensuring a better functioning of our justice system.

 

The Leavitt Institute Course.

The teaching methods of the Canadian and US professors are different from those that we are used to in high school or university. Our American teachers used the Socratic method to make us come to the right answers through open discussions and the fact that the lectures were not mandatory eliminates some of the frustration that we're not always performing optimally. 
The JET Initiative helps the development of critical thinking and represents a good occasion to practice English for both beginners and advanced students. A big advantage in this sense is the translation provided throughout the courses.
At the final of the lecture cycle, the students representing the six universities implicated in the project use the theoretical knowledge in a simulated trial environment. They play lawyers and prosecutors defending their procedural positions. 
After the interview from the final competition, 21 young lawyers were selected for the internship in the USA and Canada. The number of beneficiaries is constantly growing allowing a bigger number of Moldovan law students to learn in a country considered the biggest democracy in the world.