At MLA, we strongly believe that lawyers have a special responsibility to contribute to their society and their communities by providing pro bono legal services to underserved members of society. We are also cognizant of the 50-hours service requirement in recognition to the justice gap for those who cannot afford lawyers.
While our associates frequently find themselves assisting our fellow citizens without means in individual matters, we have also extended our assistance to serve governmental and non-governmental organizations.
A few of the recent activities we have undertaken include:
- Assistance to the World Bank Group by conducting legal researches on immigration issues and procuring infrastructure PPPs in Ethiopia. With regard to the former, our associates responded to a legal questionnaire that aimed to capture legal integration policies on economic, education, health, and other opportunities pertaining to economic migrants in Ethiopia.
- Legal research for a not-for-profit international NGO, through the DLA Piper Tokyo Partnership, on labor/ employment laws and regulations in Ethiopia.
- Legal research for the Centre for Reproductive Health.
- A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) project in collaboration with DLA Piper in which we conducted research on national legislation regarding refugees. The purpose of this research was to collect information on how the national legislation in Ethiopia regulates access to rights for refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons granted international protection.
- Assistance to UNAIDS in reviewing legislation to determine the extent to which it is complying with the political declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2016, on HIV/AIDS. The declaration outlined States’ intentions to accelerate the fight against HIVAIDS and end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. To that end, MLA helped create a scorecard to track the progress of the Ethiopian government in regards to laws and regulations of the country, and determine which of those laws need to be amended and/or repealed.
- MLA has also assisted New Perimeter in its one-week intensive course at Addis Ababa College of Law and Governance Studies. New Perimeter is a non-profit organization established by the global law firm DLA Piper to provide pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world to support access to justice, social and economic development, and sound legal institutions. For example, in 2016, 172 DLA Piper lawyers from 42 offices worldwide worked on nearly 40 New Perimeter projects. New Perimeter’s one-week course on international business negotiations was held at Addis Ababa University College Law & Governance Studies and in collaboration with the Business Law Program. The programs offer graduate LLM degrees in Business Law.
- The New Perimeter-AAU Law-MLA collaboration brought to Ethiopia DLA Piper’s international teaching team of ten lawyers to work with a class of forty 40 students drawn from the business law stream, which included LLM students, top undergraduate law students, and a few business school students. The course, developed by Jay Finkelstein, a partner at DLA Piper’s Northern Virginia office, was simulation-based and interactive and involved a mixture of lectures and practical negotiations using a fact pattern involving negotiation between an international pharmaceutical company and a fictional African country over the use of natural resources.
- Of Counsel Yared Getachew, in collaboration with an international law firm, provided training on international arbitration at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in which attorneys both from the OAG and other government ministries and agencies participated.
- MLA is assisting the government of Ethiopia with its initiatives to revise several sectors in the law. Mehrteab Leul is a member of the Working Group tasked by the Ethiopian Government (through the Federal Attorney General) with drafting a proclamation that regulates advocates and their legal practice in Ethiopia.
- MLA is also part of the Ethiopian Investment Commission task force to revise Ethiopia’s investment laws.