FORT LAUDERDALE -- Law students from Truman Bodden Law School took part in a Caribbean Law Clinic last month at Nova South Eastern Law School in Fort Lauderdale.
The November 2016 Caribbean Law Clinic (CLC) was organized by the American and Caribbean Law Initiative (ACLI), an association comprised of six Southern U.S. law schools and four Caribbean law schools. The ACLI organizes the CLC biannually, which is hosted by member schools on a rotating basis. Member organizations include 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 (Florida); Nova South Eastern University (Florida); Florida Coastal Law School (Florida) and Stetson Law School (Florida).
Three Cayman law students participated in the clinic along with the director of legal studies at Truman Bodden, Mitchell Davies.
According to the Truman Bodden Law School, the purpose of the CLC event is to expose students to valuable advocacy training, which requires them to make legal arguments to an experienced panel of judges that often includes members of the local judiciary.
"What makes this event unique is students from several different law schools in the U.S. and the Caribbean collaborate both via distance and in person on legal problems facing the Caribbean," Davies told the Florida Record.
Attending students are placed into teams with their peers from the other law schools, encouraging team building skills and collaborative techniques. The questions set for oral argument at each clinic are usually decided upon by members of the attorney general's chambers of the host organization and are often inspired by real, ongoing cases. Questions typically center around practical legal issues and the advice given by students is usually required to focus on foreign law and procedure.
Students learn about the Commonwealth Caribbean law, how to conduct research on issues relevant to the Commonwealth Caribbean, how to work collaboratively with people from different cultural backgrounds on legal problems and how to present the results of their research both orally and in writing.
"Other issues raised in past years include trade and immigration treaties, the law of the seas, jurisdictional issues, customs issues, international drug trafficking, environmental law, criminal procedure, immigration law, nationality issues, family law, discrimination/ equal protection law and governmental corruption," Davies said.
The application process to participate in the CLC is similar to other live event law clinics,in that the criteria includes satisfactory grades, certain completed coursework and a specific interest in international or comparative law.
"The most important criteria is a true interest in the region and in further developing the types of skills taught at the clinic," Davies said.
The CLC takes place every fall and spring. In March 2017, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago will host the clinic.