With the formal establishment of the International Development Law Center in July 2022, UC Law SF now has a permanent home for international grant activities. The mission of the Center is to share international development expertise while providing research and learning opportunities for UC Law SF students, professors, and graduates.
The Center seeks and implements international projects in a variety of subject areas, including food and agriculture, sustainable development, and legal education. Established with the explicit objective of collaborating across disciplines and cultures, the Center pursues links with other academic and research organizations, increasing the law school’s global footprint while generating international contacts and opportunities for the UC Law SF community.
Past and ongoing projects have benefited from funding by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), Pacific Community (SPC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the US State Department.
Recognizing that law is a key tool to tackle the world’s problems, the International Development Law Center seeks to inspire and provide concrete opportunities for the next generation of international development practitioners.
UC Law SF was awarded a grant by the U.S. Embassy in Ghana under the University Partnership Initiative. Through this grant, the young and dynamic law school at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) has partnered with UC Law SF. Clinical legal education is one area of collaboration – UC Law SF has a robust and mature clinical program, while UPSA’s is only just being launched.
Professor Linda Tam of Berkeley Law School, who is a clinical legal education expert, and Professor Victor Ayeni of Adekunle Ajasin University in Nigeria, an expert in African human rights, travelled to Ghana in February 2023 under the auspices of the grant. Both lectured to faculty and students, while also reviewing curriculum. Professor Tam evaluated the school’s existing plans for legal clinics and shared best practices for establishing, managing, and evaluating legal clinics. Professor Ayeni gave a public lecture on LGBTQI rights in Africa.
Additionally, in April 2023, UC Law SF Professor Stefano Moscato travelled to Ghana to support UPSA as it shifts toward a more analytical skills-based curriculum, while in May 2023, UC Law SF affiliated expert Dyann Heward-Mills gave a public lecture co-sponsored by UPSA and the Ghana Bar Association on data privacy trends in Ghana, Africa, and the world.
In May/June 2023, two UPSA law professors travelled to San Francisco for the international symposium on restorative justice, mediation, and human rights. While here, they signed, on behalf of the UPSA law dean and UPSA vice chancellor, an agreement between our two law schools. Chancellor and Dean David Faigman of UC Law SF signed on behalf of UC Law SF.
From 2021 to 2023, under two subcontracts from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and US small business Millennium Partners, UC Law SF carried out quality control and backstopping of a local Ethiopian evaluation team from the University of Bahir Dar Law Faculty which assessed all 33 LLM programs throughout Ethiopia. The assessment, overseen by Professors Jessica Vapnek and Lois Schwartz, covered curriculum, teaching, placement, and staffing, among other topics. Then UC Law SF MSL student Meron Agonafer provided research support. Additionally, UC Law SF and affiliated faculty have reviewed textbooks on tax law (Professor Leo Martinez), labor law (Professor Miriam Cherry), and business law (Professor Abe Cable) prepared by the Ethiopian law faculties.
The International Development Law Center is particularly proud to work closely with the Indigenous Law Center. Professor Jo Carrillo, Faculty Director of the Indigenous Law Center, commissioned a video documentary to profile the first four students awarded restorative justice summer fellowships by UC Law SF to support their work with Native American tribes in Northern California. Faculty Director of the International Development Law Center Jessica Vapnek helped produce and edit the video, which is now playing on a permanent loop in the Commemorative Space on the ground floor of the 200 McAllister building.
The video can also be viewed on the webpage of the Indigenous Law Center: https://www.uchastings.edu/academics/centers/indigenous-law-center/
In January 2023, the International Development Law Center supported a reception and launch party for the video, held in the Skyroom of the 100 McAllister building. Attendees, including UC Law SF faculty and staff, members of the UC Law SF Board of Directors, and visitors from Kosovo and Ghana, were welcomed by Assistant Chancellor and Dean Jenny Kwon, Indigenous Law Center Faculty Director Jo Carrillo, and Associate Dean of Experiential Learning Gail Silverstein, who established the summer placements for the UC Law SF students.
The International Development Law Center looks forward to continuing its partnership with the Indigenous Law Center on other initiatives in the coming years.
From 2022 to 2024, UC Law SF is implementing a project funded by a $352,000 grant from the US State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) entitled, “Expanding and Improving Practical Legal Education in Kosovo.” The project has three overall objectives: improving critical thinking skills among Kosovar law students and recent graduates; increasing Kosovar law faculty capacity to teach critical thinking skills; and producing a transformed and accredited curriculum that empowers Kosovar professors to apply new skills.
In October 2020, UC Law SF’s Dean of Experiential Learning Gail Silverstein, Prof. Betsy Candler, and an independent expert, Bob Dean, traveled to Kosovo to kick off the project. The UC Law SF team met with representatives from three Kosovar law schools as well as with public advocacy groups and law school graduates. The team reviewed curriculum, conducted training-of trainers for Kosovar law professors, discussed incorporating legal analysis into doctrinal courses, and evaluated the legal clinics.
Next, the Dean of the University of Prishtina and two faculty colleagues spent a week in San Francisco in January 2023, observing numerous clinics, participating in roundtables with doctrinal faculty, and debriefing after attending law school classes. The group also met with public defenders and prosecutors in San Francisco and with clinical faculty at Berkeley Law School.
In May 2023, two additional faculty, Linda Tam of Berkeley Law School and UC Law SF Associate Dean of Global Programs Binyamin Blum, travelled to Kosovo to continue discussing clinical legal education and incorporating skills into doctrinal classes.
The year’s activities culminated in an international training-of-trainers symposium in San Francisco, covering mediation, human rights, and restorative justice. Two faculty members from the University of Prishtina spent a week in San Francisco in May/June 2023 participating in the symposium, along with representatives of Ghana and Haiti. A third Kosovar faculty member presented live on Zoom.
The Pacific Community (SPC) is an intergovernmental organization of Pacific nations. UC Law SF continued implementing a second generous grant from SPC this year under the umbrella of a memorandum of understanding signed between our two institutions. Faculty Director of the International Development Law Center Jessica Vapnek, with support from several UC Law SF students and two graduates, has been working closely with the SPC this year developing and implementing an online asynchronous legislative drafting course.
Throughout fall 2023, Professor Vapnek, Peter Boaz ’15, and Alex Sauerwein ’20 graded assignments submitted by fisheries and legal officers from the Pacific Region. Subsequently, with support from the grant, Professor Vapnek was able to travel to New Caledonia for an international workshop. The workshop brought together the first cohort of government officials from across the Pacific Region who had taken the online legislative drafting course. The workshop cemented learning and allowed sharing of best practices from around the region.
Evaluation of the Development Law Service
In 2022, UC Law SF conducted an external evaluation of FAO’s Development Law Service (LEGN). Professor Jessica Vapnek and her team administered surveys, carried out a desk review of documents and databases, led focus groups, and conducted individual interviews of international and national legal consultants, FAO legal and non-legal staff, FAO headquarters and non-headquarters staff, national government counterparts, and institutional partners. The objective of the evaluation was to assess LEGN’s achievements from 2018-21 in relation to achieving the goals of FAO’s Strategic Framework. Arturo Reyes JD ’19 supported this effort, as did then UC Law SF JD students Jillian Guernsey and Jacklin Lee.
UN Decade on Family Farming
In 2020 and 2021, UC Law SF developed a methodology and prepared a publication examining legislative and regulatory frameworks for family farming, and then presented the results to parliamentarians convening in Rome. The resulting publication examines how legislation can best support policy processes aimed at advancing family farming and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. Peter Boaz JD ’15 worked on this activity and co-authored the publication, while UC Law SF JD students Sarah Casey, Jasmin Cohen, Carlisle Engelhardt, Chris Michail, Cameron Sousa, and MSL student Mikhail Yakovlev provided research support.
From 2019 to 2021, UC Law SF supported the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) by revising four publications on legislative drafting. First, we updated a pesticide legislation publication, which provides guidance to national policy and lawmakers seeking to update their national legal frameworks for pesticides. Second, we prepared draft guidelines on pesticide licensing legislation. The draft guidelines, prepared by Professor Jessica Vapnek and Alexandro Sauerwein JD ’20, became official guidelines adopted by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) under the International Code of Conduct for the Management of Pesticides. Third, we updated a practitioner’s guide on how to prepare legislation under the auspices of technical assistance projects. The update included adding a new chapter on gender-sensitive legislative drafting. Finally, we provided inputs to draft regional guidelines on food safety legislation.
From 2018 to 2020, UC Law SF administered a subcontract from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We advised on the pros and cons of establishing an LLM program at one Uzbek law school, conducted a legal clinic assessment of two law school legal clinics, prepared curricula and conducted training of trainers (TOT) on clinical education, and delivered remote TOT courses on the common law legal system and on legislative drafting. Professors Linh Spencer and Yvonne Troya carried out the curricular and assessment work in Uzbekistan, while Professor Jessica Vapnek and Helga Turku JD ’12 delivered TOT courses to law professors and prosecutors by Zoom during the pandemic.
Since 2021, UC Law SF has been supporting the World Organization for Animal Health (formerly known as OIE), by preparing a methodology and the veterinary chapter of a study on how countries can evaluate their national legislative frameworks on antimicrobial resistance. Professor Jessica Vapnek spearheaded this effort, which was conducted under the auspices of the tripartite (three UN specialized agencies – the World Organization for Animal Health, World Health Organization, and UN Food and Agriculture Organization). In addition, UC Law SF JD student Kelsey Galantich completed an international externship at WOAH headquarters in Paris in 2019 and has worked both in Paris and Botswana for WOAH ever since.
Faculty Director – Jessica Vapnek
Jessica Vapnek joined the UC Law SF faculty in 2017 after a long international career. Most recently, she was a Regional Technical Director for a consulting firm in San Francisco implementing rule-of-law projects around the world. In that role she managed complex international projects, helped write winning proposals, and published articles on access to justice and dispute resolution. For almost 15 years, Professor Vapnek served as a Legal Officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, providing policy advice to member countries, drafting legislation on agriculture and natural resources, and writing and editing a number of articles and books. She has lived in Africa (she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the former Zaire and a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana) and has worked in or traveled to 93 countries during her career. She continues to do occasional work for the UN as an expert, for example travelling to Bhutan and Malawi to review their veterinary legislative frameworks and to Nepal to evaluate a proposed draft food safety law. She speaks French, Spanish, and Italian. Professor Vapnek is excited to continue sharing her passion for international development work with UC Law SF. She hopes to involve more UC Law SF students, faculty, and alumni in international projects, exposing law students to the world of international grants, and, most importantly, inspiring students and alumni to pursue careers in international development.
November 21, 2022