Center for International Human Rights to Work on Justice System in Republic of Georgia

September 08, 2015

The Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) is the recipient of a five-year grant of over $310,000 to work on U.S. AID’s Promoting the Rule of Law in Georgia (PROLOG), administered through the East-West Management Institute. The program’s goal is to protect human rights and build a strong legal framework in the Republic of Georgia; and as part of those efforts the Northwestern Law project will have multiple components including curriculum, training, and strategic litigation.

Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law David Scheffer believes now is a valuable time for the Law School to engage with the Caucasus region. “As Georgia continues to face geopolitical challenges this is an interesting opportunity to help promote the rule of law in the region. There are enormous challenges regarding corruption and human rights, which we can contribute to resolving. We can make a difference.”

Scheffer went on to note that there will be a variety of opportunities for students to engage with the project through CIHR, ranging from international externships to clinical offerings, and anticipates some being available as early as 2016.

The three core areas of the grant are: professional training, such as working with attorneys in the Georgia Bar Association for continuing education; academic assistance within Georgian law schools; and finally strategic litigation to help enforce due process and protect the rights of marginalized communities.

The Law School’s relationship with PROLOG runs deep. The director for legal education at the East-West Management Institute’s program in Georgia is alumnus Steven Austermiller (JD ’92). Over the last three years Austermiller has worked on USAID-funded legal education programs in Georgia, helping to modernize their system.

This grant represents one of the many ways Northwestern Law continues to grow its global presence.