The Firm's Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), Rick Deane, Annamarie Daley, and Erin McGinley traveled to Nigeria to lead training programs.
Four Jones Day attorneys and senior counsel from client Chevron traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, for successful training programs for 74 prosecutors and public defenders during the week of October 28, 2019. The participants came from six Nigerian states and also included attorneys from South Africa and four leaders of the newly established trial-level public defender's office in Oromia State, Ethiopia's largest state.
Jones Day's Judge Williams led the training, which focused on trial advocacy skills, persuasive writing, and ethical advocacy, all toward the goal of more efficient and just trials. Jones Day's Erin McGinley co-led a "Train the Trainer" program for 34 attorneys to ensure sustainability of the acquired skills. Jones Day partners Rick Deane and Annamarie Daley, and Chevron Senior Counsel Gene Litvinoff (invited to attend by Jones Day), brought their extensive experience to the faculty, and Firm associates in Chicago and Houston helped develop program materials. The program was conducted in partnership with the U.S. National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the British Council's Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (RoLAC).
"Working with the Rule of Law Initiative to train prosecutors and defense counsel in Nigeria was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had at the Firm," Deane stated. "The lawyers are earnest, hardworking, and so appreciative of the training and insights we offer. In return, we were treated to a warmth and hospitality that was truly memorable. To a person, we all felt honored to have had this opportunity."
Effective Training Programs
The programs were viewed as a resounding success. Daley said, "The Nigerian, Ethiopian, and South African lawyers were inspirational in their total commitment to improve their advocacy skills and to advance the public's trust in their respective justice systems. "A grateful Olayinka Adeyemi, Director of the Lagos Office of the Public Defender, reflected, "We have been greatly impacted by your expertise. You have made us better advocates. You have given us a chance to change our world. We are forever indebted to you. Thank you and thank you again." Echoing these remarks, the RoLAC program director wrote that participants were "inspired, delighted, and thankful" and already making plans to spread the knowledge and skills they gained to their colleagues. The coordinator of the Ethiopian delegation stated the program "was incredibly well organized and a fantastic training program for our staff" and added that he wanted to deliver training modeled after these programs to all of Oromia State's newly hired public defenders.
This training marked the second visit by Judge Williams to Lagos this year. In January, joined by Jones Day's Jamila Hall and others, Judge Williams led a program on child witnesses and a separate program for judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys on effective plea bargaining that respects the rights of defendants and victims. Despite a backlog of cases, less than six Lagos State Public Defender cases were resolved by plea bargain in 2018. In the six months following the January training, 48 cases were resolved via plea bargain by the Public Defender's office alone. It is because of the training, Director Adeyemi told us, that "a plea bargain agreement is now an option the defense and prosecution are willing to explore, and the courts are encouraging its use where an agreement can be reached."