“Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Is Well Placed to Become a Connector Uniting Legal Profession within a Justice Triangle

Participants and experts of the first All-Ukrainian Professional Development Program “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” held a professional discussion entitled “Advocacy of the Future: Values and Vision”.

The “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program is a community of lawyers who have a goal not only to improve their knowledge and soft skills, but also to make changes in favour of the development of a professional community in Ukraine.

During the trainings, within the framework of the Program modules, the participants, together with experts, discussed many issues related to the advocacy as a whole, as well as ways to solve the problematic issues. And since the Program brings together participants from all over Ukraine, it became clear that many challenges and problems  were common to all lawyers. It was during discussions on these topics, when sharing opinions on the values ​​of advocacy, the idea came in to combine the efforts of Tomorrow’s Lawyers to develop a common vision and values of the profession.

That is why the Program participants, with the support and participation of experts, developed a draft strategic document and initiated its discussion with a wide range of lawyers – both the Program participants and those who have strong interest in this matter.

The draft Strategic Document “Tomorrow’s Advocacy”, which was proposed for the discussion, includes four sections:

  1. Understanding the problems of today advocacy;
  2. The vision of the advocacy of the future;
  3. Values ​​of the community effort;
  4. Key directions.

At the opening session the participants were greeted by the President of the Ukrainian Bar Association Mr Denys Bugay, Head of the Bar Association of Legal Aid Providers Ms Viktoriya Mitko, Manager of the “Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine” Project Ms Oksana Kikot and the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program Leader Mr Andriy Vyshnevsky. The moderator of the discussion was a well-known lawyer and writer Ms Larysa Denysenko.

Participants of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program Ms Valeriya Kolomiets and Mr Oleksiy Kuzminsky, as well as the Program experts Mr Sergiy Goncharenko, Mr Dmytro Kukhnyuk, Ms Oleksandra Yanovska, Ms Olga Zhukovska and Mr Volodymyr Sushchenko shared their views on each section of the strategic document.

The participants of the discussion were divided into groups, working on the selected issues:

  • The problem of a low barrier for the admission to the profession and its lifting;
  • Positive shift from the corruption environment and the lawyer’s dependence to the integrity and independence;
  • Deformation / restoration of values ​​and deterioration / improvement of the quality of the community;
  • Loss and recovery of the ability to self-cleaning within the profession.

Each group presented its vision on the issue, which will be reflected in the draft strategic document. As a result of the discussion, the participants, along with the experts, will continue to work on its development, discussion and improvement in the wider community of lawyers.

Mr Volodymyr Sushchenko, candidate of judicial sciences, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, expert of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program, Honoured Lawyer of Ukraine:

“I have two dreams that were born a long time ago. The first one is to see all representatives of the legal profession united, not only organizationally and formally, but by their values and vision. Only a value-based approach can find support and protection in this environment. For me, the three key values ​​of the legal profession are: human rights and freedoms, professionalism and responsibility, not as punishment or encouragement, but as the ability to say “I shall act as I promised to myself and others”, responsibility for own thoughts, words and actions in the face of yourself. I see a strong potential in Tomorrow’s Lawyers participants to build a value-based community that will help lawyers reach a new level of quality”.

Ms Tetyana Logoyda, advocate, participant of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program:

The project of development platform “Tomorrow’s Advocacy” focuses on reforming the relevant legal institutes, business reputation and standards of justice not only for lawyers, but also for judges and prosecutors. There is no advantage to anyone, because the justice is precisely the triangle of parties, three groups of participants who are responsible for the truth and whether justice will be achieved.

The tomorrow’s lawyer will not be true if the prosecutors and the court will remain the same as before. Who are the “agents of change”? This is a professional community of like-minded people from different generations of lawyers and colleagues from academic circles united by the integrity of their values ​​with the values ​​of the legal profession and readiness not only to discuss, but also to join efforts to solve the problems of contemporary advocacy and look for key directions of future endeavours”.

Ms Oleksandra Yanovska, advocate, doctor of judicial sciences, Professor of the Department of Justice of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, expert of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program.

“If you look at the judicial system in the form of a triangle, then the advocacy will be one of its corners. This profession shall be based on independence, self-government and professionalism. And ethics, of course. Without us, lawyers, this triangle of justice will not succeed. At the same time, the Bar should not only be a component of justice, it should be the unifying factor that unites professions. Indeed, in all civilized countries there are no such separate professions. The access to all legal professions comes through the Bar. And there is no such gap between judges and lawyers, between lawyers and prosecutors. Since they all live according to the unified laws, ethical rules and uniform disciplinary proceedings. And we, lawyers, must make every effort to simultaneously develop all the corners of the triangle of justice. Attorneys must become leaders in bringing mental changes, which will improve not only the Bar itself. The “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” community has every opportunity to take the lead in the triangle of legal professions”.

Mr Mykyta Nuralin, advocate, participant of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program:

“Today’s event has demonstrated a true pluralism and diversity of thoughts on the future of advocacy of Ukraine. However, the main thing is that they are all combined with one goal – to build a strong and independent legal profession with the best values.

It should be noted that the advocacy strategy proposed for the discussion is not a monolithic, already finalized document. During the event, the proposed ideas were corrected and new ones were presented regarding the vision of the values ​​of the lawyers, which will necessarily find their way into the new edition of the document.

This strategy will become a guideline for our legal community as it will become a synthesis of the ideas of a large number of people interested in advocacy and development in this institute”.

Ms Olena Somok, advocate, Head of the Sumy Division of the Bar Association of Legal Aid Providers:

The “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program unites proactive lawyers who are ready to improve themselves and change their professional community. As a member of the Program, I got the chance to feel myself a part of a powerful team of like-minded people.

Recently, the issue of unity becomes more and more urgent for our professional community. Can we, lawyers, today fulfill our function in the justice system with integrity and honor? In order to understand where we are moving, first of all, it is necessary to determine what our values ​​and vision of the future advocacy are. I believe that through today’s debate, we have made the first steps in defining the values ​​of the professional community that we all dream about.

All the issues that we discussed today are timely and relevant. The state is reforming the justice system, and the legal professions falls within its scope. In order for advocacy reform to take place, one must clearly understand what we are striving for and what is the way to achieve the desired”.

Mr Oleksiy Kuzminskiy, advocate, candidate of judicial sciences, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Intellectual Property and Civil Law Disciplines of Cherkasy National University after Bohdan Khmelnytsky, participant of “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program.

“Today’s discussion is a unique opportunity to meet like-minded people and colleagues in order to take a different look at the directions of advocacy, to better understand the current state of profession. Attain insight into where we are moving, what are our values ​​and what our vision is for the future of the advocacy. And indeed, today’s meeting is a meeting of indifferent people who are concerned about the future of the legal profession”.

Published by Yuridicheskaya Practika (Legal Practice) Weekly.

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“Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program is being implemented by the Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) and the Bar Association of Legal Aid Providers (BALAP) supported by the “Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine” (QALA) Project funded by the Government of Canada, implemented by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) in cooperation with the Coordination Centre for Legal Aid Provision.

“Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program — the first All-Ukrainian professional development program for lawyers, intended to form a strong and active community of lawyers who are expected to become the agents of change with high ethical standards of work; introduce reforms, both at the regional and national levels; improve standards of legal aid providing and facilitate the effective implementation of self-government functions.

From among 707 applicants as much as 111 lawyers were selected to attend four training modules in Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa and Kharkiv during the year of 2017.

The Program consists of four training modules, which covers the most important aspects of legal practice, namely attorney-client relations, building collateral relations in the justice system, communication within the legal society, public relations and media.