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June 30, 2010

Fillmore Riley's Eleanor Wiebe volunteers in Lao PDR.

Eleanor Wiebe travelled to Vientiane, Lao PDR to participate in a practice skills training session, held May 26-28, 2010, with two other Canadian lawyers. An initiative of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), the project in Lao is part of the CBA’s ongoing commitment to "the values of an independent legal profession, an independent judiciary, the rule of law...”

The involvement of the CBA in international development has been long standing—20 years in 2010—and it is supported, in part, by lawyers volunteering time to prepare and present workshops. The CBA receives most of its funding for international development programs through the Canadian International Development Agency.

This was Eleanor's second visit to Lao as a volunteer as she previously participated in 2007. Both programs in Lao focused on developing the skills of members of the Lao Bar Association.

This May, Eleanor presented on the topics of the role of the lawyer, basic negotiation skills (with emphasis on commercial transactions) and legal drafting. She also gave a guest lecture on May 24, 2010, at National University of Laos, Faculty of Law and Policital Science to third year students, on the topic of commercial negotiations

Eleanor worked with translators to present to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. The Canadian lawyers were invited to meet with members of the Laos judiciary and were able to have site visits to legal aid units. She endured the hot humid temperatures of late May in southeast Asia.

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