Six Month-Internship program for fresh lawyers from vulnerable groups
Nepal's law and justice sector has not been very encouraging in relation to inclusion of the vulnerable communities such as women, Dalits and other marginalized castes and communities. Under-representation of these groups one of the problems impeding the creation of equal and just society.
Increased representation of women and vulnerable groups in the law and justice sector will contribute to the welfare of these groups by creating greater empathy towards these communities. For instance, cases involving Dalit community members can best be defended by a Dalit lawyer. So, the representation and empowerment of these vulnerable communities is mandatory.
To address this, UNDP’s Rule of Law and Human Rights (RoLHR) Programme has adopted a three-pronged strategy of affirmative action in legal education by offering scholarships, clinical education, and internship programme for young lawyers of the vulnerable groups.
As a first step, the programme launched a six month internship programme for 15 young trainee lawyers on 3rd February in Kathmandu. Of the selected fifteen, 9 are female and the remaining six represent various marginalized castes and communities. The internship programme is being organized in collaboration with Nepal Bar Association.
Speaking on the launching event of the internship programme at Hotel Himalaya, Secretary of Law and Justice Ministry Mr. Bhesh Raj Sharma stressed the need to increase the representation of the vulnerable groups while also preparing competent practitioners in view of Nepal's WTO membership indicating the challenges of the global competition in this sector.
Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Ms. Kiran Gupta, a young woman lawyer expressed her confidence that the training would help them develop their professional competence. "I am very much excited and hopeful that these six months will shape up my longstanding dream of being a lawyer."
The internship programme will be instrumental for young lawyers who wish to enter the legal practice but have minimal opportunity to hone their professional skills, knowledge and confidence. The six month package programme is designed to impart an intensive training of 1 month followed by 4 months of paid internship opportunity at law firms and a refresher orientation at the conclusion. Another 15 young lawyers will be provided with similar opportunity in the second stage of the internship programme starting from the June/July 2014.