With a GDP that continues to show strong growth and a population of more than thirteen million, one might be shocked to hear that there are fewer than 1,000 attorneys in Zambia.
In an effort to strengthen the legal profession throughout the country, the Law Association of Zambia has launched a new initiative that offers continuing legal education for those practicing law in the country. To help with this effort, a trio of Cornell Law professors and one alumna made the trip to the Southern African nation in early January to lend their expertise.
Over the winter break, Professors Peter Martin, Charles Whitehead, and Muna Ndulo were in Lusaka, Zambia, to lecture as part of a workshop jointly sponsored by the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research—founded by Professor Ndulo—and the Law Association of Zambia. Sara Lulo, J.D./LL.M. '02, who is currently the Director of International Programs at Yale Law School, was part of the workshop, as well. They were joined by Professor Funmi Arewa from University of California at Irvine.
“To be able to help lawyers in Zambia build expertise in the topics on which we lectured increases their potential to be major participants in the global trade and investment taking place in the country,” says Martin, the Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Emeritus, of the importance of the workshop.
Martin added that the feedback he received regarding the workshop was overwhelmingly positive as the attendees relished the opportunity to expand their expertise.
“Across the week’s sessions the participants were very, very engaged.”
According to Martin, of the fifty-four participants in the workshop, half were engaged in private practice while one-third worked in a government capacity. More than half of the attendees had been practicing for less than a decade. In fact, three of the participants were law students who had yet to be admitted to the bar.
A wide range of topics were covered at the workshop. Martin taught about ways the Internet and technology can be used to improve the practice of law while Professor Whitehead discussed the legal side of corporate acquisitions. Additionally, the topics of commercial arbitration between governments and outside investors, as well as private equity and venture capital funds, were discussed. The topics of commercial arbitration between governments and investors were covered by Muna Ndulo and Sara Lulo; private equity and venture capital, by Funmi Arewa.
Ultimately, given the nature of Zambia’s developing economy, the workshop had a special value for the attorneys involved.
“It’s apparent that much has been going on in Southern Africa and especially in Zambia since it gained independence in 1964,” says Whitehead, who specializes in corporations, M&A, and financial markets.
“The country has been growing economically and it continues to do so. It was useful for those who attended the workshop to get a sense of some of the developments outside of Zambia and then consider how they might apply them within the country.”