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Volunteer Lawyer Opportunity – Nepal

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The International Legal Foundation (ILF) seeks three experienced lawyers to help develop a proactive approach to indigent criminal defense in Nepal by training and mentoring a group of local lawyers. Volunteer lawyers must serve in Nepal for three months and are paid a stipend but no salary.

The ILF is a not-for-profit organization created for the purpose of establishing public defender systems in post-conflict countries. The ILF operates on the belief that indigent representation is the key to justice reconstruction. Without defense lawyers making sure that judges, prosecutors, and police officers follow the law, nothing changes. Also, by fighting against arbitrary detention, public defenders are often the first protectors of human rights. For the past ten years, the ILF has focused solely on providing criminal
defense services to the indigent, first in Rwanda, later in Afghanistan and now in Nepal.


Nepal is currently undergoing a transition after a period of conflict. This presents the country with real opportunities for strengthening the rule of law through the development of a strong proactive criminal defense culture and practice.


The ILF seeks volunteer lawyers to help bring about historic change in Nepal’s justice system. These volunteers, named Kathryn Wadia Fellows, in honor of a former volunteer, will mentor national lawyers in criminal defense representation for indigent clients. The fellows, along with Nepalese lawyers, will oversee criminal cases in their entirety, visiting clients in jail, writing motions, making court appearances and conducting investigations. Fellows, as representatives of the ILF, will also participate in meetings with government officials, other NGOs, and donor countries involved in rule of law projects in Nepal.

The initial stage of the work is located in Kathmandu, where the ILF has an office and house. All travel, lodging and meals will be paid by the ILF, however the organization will not be responsible for any other expenses incurred during the assignment (e.g. health insurance). Nepal is a transitional country and, before applying for this fellowship, applicants should be aware of the potential risks involved in living there.


All applicants must have at least 5 years experience practicing criminal law, either as a defense lawyer, prosecutor or judge. Applicants should be sensitive to cultural differences and must be willing to work on Fridays and Sundays.

Applicants should send a cover letter and resume to Please describe your international experience and your preferred dates of travel.


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