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The Huddersfield and Dewsbury Law Society’s unique Twinning Programme with Uganda demonstrates the power of pro bono work to unite and develop the legal community locally and internationally – a collaboration on many levels from individuals to firms. A meeting in 2002 between the then President of Huddersfield Law Society and the President of Uganda Law Society (ULS) led to the start of the group.
The group has over the years:
• provided over 6,000 text books and training DVDs. These have been used by the ULS to establish the main legal resource centre in Kampala and ten regional resource centres.
• provided training for the last thirteen years for more than 1,200 Ugandan lawyers and 2,000 post graduate law students in Kampala. We send a group of 4 lawyers each November to provide training in Uganda.
• helped promote good governance and respect for rights and the rule of law.
The group is currently monitoring a programme which provides legal representation and legal advice to protect vulnerable children in Patongo, Northern Uganda in partnership with Chance for Childhood and the Uganda Law Society through funding from the Law Society charity. The initial funding will soon be exhausted and we are hoping to find an alternative source of funding for this fantastic project.
The Twinning link project has delivered tangible benefits to Ugandan lawyers and the community at large. The group members themselves (and their firms) have benefited greatly from the experience and personal development which has come from being involved in the project.
Four Huddersfield lawyers will travel to Uganda during National Pro Bono Week (5-12 November) to further the Law Society’s work with the country’s lawyers including Nigel Priestley of Ridley & Hall, Paul Beevers Independent Mediator and two solicitors from Ramsdens #WeDoProBono.
Jane Holroyd, Solicitor in Ramsdens Commercial team will be travelling to Uganda and comments: “ The Uganda Twinning Project is a brilliant project that has proved to be a huge success over the 14 years it has been running. Therefore when I was given the opportunity to take part in the project and go out to Uganda to see first-hand the amazing work the project do and to give presentations to Ugandan lawyers, I jumped at the chance.
Client care and professional standards is a particular issue for the Ugandan Law Society and therefore in my first presentation I hope to be able to teach the Ugandan lawyers some of the client care principles we have in the UK and help them understand why it is important.
My second presentation will relate to the drafting of partnership agreements. This will be part of a series of presentations by our group relating to expansion and mergers. Most Ugandan lawyers do not trust their peers and therefore the aim is to show them that coming together as partners can work and how the relationships with their fellow partners can be regulated.”
Sarah Ward, Solicitor in Ramsdens Family team said: “Having been involved in the Uganda Twinning project almost since its inception I am looking forward to the opportunity to visit the country again. Over the years I have been involved in packing and sending books to Uganda, raising money through softball tournaments, curry evenings and quizzes. But it was going to Uganda to deliver training which has been the most enjoyable and memorable aspect. Ten years ago I went, very nervously, for the first time and delivered a lecture on trial preparation and witness evidence and then went to visit the Legal Resource Centre, supplied with books from Huddersfield, and also to the source of the Nile and the Equator. Now I am ready to embark on another trip, this time lecturing on family law, but again looking forward to meeting some wonderful people and seeing the effect, in Uganda, of the work that the Twinning Project has done over the years.”
"I was excited about getting involved with this project in 2002 and continue to be inspired by the dedication and enthusiasm of the group. It is fantastic news that Sarah and Jane are travelling to Uganda to deliver training this year." said Kate Donaldson, Partner at Ramsdens. "We raise funds during the year - watch out for your next chance to support this unique project!"
Please contact Kate Donaldson if you are able to offer assistance with raising funds for this fantastic initiative.
This project has also been recognised regionally winning Pro Bono Team of the Year at the Yorkshire Legal Awards and nationally it was Highly Recommended at the Law Society’s Excellence Awards
Ramsdens is supporting the Law Society’s National Pro Bono Week #NPBW2016 #WeDoProBono.
Jane will be daily blogging during the week, you can follow her @RamsdensCom #Uganda.
Picture: L-R Jane Holroyd, Kate Donaldson (Member of the Uganda Twinning Project) and Sarah Ward Ramsdens Solicitors