Oct. 31, 2017
By Vivi Sdrenia
A few months ago, I was honored to
be admitted to the Ohio State Bar Association and receive training as an
international legal professional. As an intern at the OSBA, I have had the
opportunity to collect valuable experiences and work with inspiring people that contribute
to the promotion of the legal profession and the advancement of the justice
system in Ohio. Through this experience, I am trying to learn as much as
possible about the characteristics of the legal world in the United States.
Last August, I had the chance to
get a different kind of exposure by participating in a Rule of Law
Program. It was held by the Columbus International Program (CIP) and
offered me excellent insight into the American legal reality.
CIP, which is a non-profit
organization committed to promoting international understanding through
professional development and cross-cultural exchange, ran a two-week program
for Judge Ilunga from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and me, an
attorney from Greece. By meeting and interacting with Judge Ilunga in this short
journey, I had the pleasure of learning a lot about life and
culture in DRC, as well as some African customs and traditions.
Additionally, we talked about the judicial systems in our countries, which
are actually quite similar since both follow the civil law system.
Throughout the program, we met
legal professionals who welcomed us at their workplaces and discussed a variety
of topics, such as the differences and similarities between the common and
civil law system and the practice of capital punishment. Thanks to their experience
and perspective, we were offered enlightening presentations on the legal
system in the U.S. In particular, we attended hearings at the Franklin
County Courts with Judge Brunner, who further clarified for us the
procedural rules and the way the judiciary branch is
structured in general. We received a tour of the Supreme Court of Ohio
where we met with the Director of Judicial Services and the Director of
Public Information. Our discussion focused on Ohio's judicial
system and the appellate process. Furthermore, we discussed the
challenges of practicing law in the U.S. for attorneys of different
specialties. We had the chance to address aspects of Public and
Administrative Law with staff members of the Franklin County Auditor Office, the
City of Dublin and the City Attorney, whose office filled with maps was
an interesting surprise.
Last but not least, I could not
elide our participation in some sessions of the American Language Law
program at the Moritz College of Law. I admired the style of the lectures,
which was quite different from what I am used to. Everything from the class
size to the shape of the room was designed to facilitate the active
participation of the students. We met law students and attorneys from all over
the world and felt like students again, which is always fun without exams.
To summarize, I truly enjoyed my
involvement in the program. It was one of those experiential learning
opportunities that help you broaden your horizons and enhance your
potential. Most importantly, in addition to gaining valuable knowledge, I am
glad that I met all of these welcoming and respectful people who
contributed in their way to make our program an unforgettable experience
and a story to tell.Vivi, Judge Ilunga and Judge Sean Gallagher inside the Cuyahoga
County Courthouse in Cleveland.