Fordham Law School has partnered with global law firm White & Case LLP and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School to announce the launch of the African Centre on Law & Ethics (ACLE). The ACLE will help facilitate a growing commitment to legal ethics through research, scholarship, and training and is committed to engaging both the current legal establishment and future legal leaders.
Her Ladyship Former Chief Justice Georgina Wood delivered remarks on the importance of ethics and the fundamental role it plays in strengthening the rule of law at the opening ceremony. “It is crucial to always remember the difference between right and wrong, the difference between doing what is required by our ethical compass and what is simply unethical,” said Her Ladyship. “We must be open about the challenges we face and I do hope the ACLE will provide a platform to engage on frank discussions about law and ethics, support research and advocacy and ensure that ethical issues are front and centre in our national debate.”
Remarks were also made by the Honorable Robert P. Jackson, U.S. ambassador to Ghana; Professor Philip Duku Osei, deputy rector of GIMPA; Kofi E. Abotsi, dean of GIMPA Law School; Nightingale Rukuba-Ngaiza, senior counsel at the World Bank; and Elizabeth Black, global manager of social responsibility at White & Case.
Kofi Abotsi, dean at GIMPA Law School, said, “That so many of us in Ghana have rallied to the cause of this new Centre is a testament to its tremendous potential to foster ethically sound legal practice—for the benefit of all Ghanaian citizens for many years to come.”
Housed on the campus of GIMPA Law School, the ACLE will focus on four areas of programming: conferences and symposia; law school curriculum modules on legal ethics; executive education for practicing lawyers and judges; and the Legal Ethics Training Program for Ghanaian law students.
Following the opening ceremony, more than 80 law students from throughout Ghana began the four-day interactive Legal Ethics Training Program. Modelled on a similar program White & Case helped launch in Russia, it covers the principles and rules central to professional legal practice—in Ghana as well as other jurisdictions. These include the Ghana Code of Ethics, regulation and enforcement, the relationship between attorneys and judges, confidentiality, and avoiding conflicts of interest.
The program’s innovative format makes use of practical exercises in small group sessions, and benefits from the support and involvement of senior members of the Ghanaian judiciary.
“Instilling a strong sense of legal ethics in the lawyers of the future could not be more important—in Ghana or anywhere else,” said Jennifer Paradise, White & Case partner and general counsel, who also serves as faculty. “White & Case is proud to contribute to the education of Ghana’s future lawyers, and is honored to partner with Fordham, GIMPA and senior members of the judiciary in doing so. The rigor and enthusiasm of our students has been inspiring.”
Paolo Galizzi, clinical professor of law and director of the Sustainable Development Legal Initiative (SDLI) at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, helped create the program and now serves as faculty. “I speak for all of us at Fordham when I say we are thrilled to contribute to the founding of the ACLE, of which the legal ethics program is just one important component.”
In addition to Paradise, serving as faculty for the ethics program are White & Case partners Dipen Sabharwal and Josh Siaw, as well as global manager of social responsibility Elizabeth Black.
“We could not be more pleased about our involvement in the program and about helping to found the ACLE, which will help ensure a sustainable commitment to the field of ethics in Ghana,” said Paradise.
The American Lawyer awarded the Legal Ethics Training Program its “Global CSR Project of the Year” award for 2017.