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Alumni & Professor Create Pilot Teaching Program in South Africa
Above, Project volunteers in Cape Town, South Africa.
Four Law School alumni and a professor have helped create the Commercial Law Education Project, a pilot program featuring senior U.S. and South African lawyers who teach Commercial Law courses to young black South African lawyers. Paul Coetser LL.M. ’87, Leigh B. Middleditch, Jr. ’57, James St. Clair ’60, Frank Stewart ’57, and Law School professor Michael Dooley worked with multiple delegations to plan the eight-week course given at the University of Wittswaterrand in Johannesburg, South Africa from May 4 – July 2, 2004. The program was sponsored by the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, the International Senior Lawyers Project of New York, Coetser’s Johannesburg law firm Brink Cohen Le Roux, and the Black Lawyers Association of South Africa. The sponsors hope to raise sufficient funds for the program to run annually. According to the Black Lawyers Association, the end of apartheid opened the way for black South Africans to participate fully in South Africa’s economic and professional life, but few programs help them become full and equal players in their chosen professions. In the legal field particularly, many lack the historical advantages of connections to successful law firms or business enterprises that their white counterparts frequently enjoy, forcing them to establish new firms that do not have senior lawyers to train and mentor them. The Project brings to these young lawyers the experience of veteran attorneys who can help them engage fully and effectively in the practice of commercial law. Kevin Salisbury, an American attorney and one of the program’s instructors, said that he has had “experience with other, U.S. government-to-government ‘top down’ programs in underdeveloped countries,” but he believes that the “yield from private ‘bottom-up’ programs like these, where the contact is one-on-one with the practitioners, is far more effective in real terms, and tends to reinforce the rule of law at its foundations, right where ‘the rubber meets the road.’” Added St. Clair, “The student-lawyers were a joy to work with; so eager to learn and so grateful for the Senior Lawyers’ help. I look forward to returning for another session.” For more information about the program, contact Leigh Middleditch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (434) 977-2543.
- Virginia Law Alumni Events
Mortimer Caplin was appointed to a three-year term to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. He reports that “this fi ts in closely with the work of [the Law School’s] Public Service Center and hopefully will bring more of the leading adherents to Charlottesville.” Caplin recently delivered the Erwin N. Griswold Lecture in San Diego before the American College of Tax Counsel. (See “The Tax Lawyer’s Role in the Way the American Tax System Works”). The October issue of TAXES was dedicated to an Interview with Mortimer Caplin.
U.S. District Judge Robert McRae died of pneumonia in June. After graduating from the Law School, McRae’s practice began in Memphis as an assistant city attorney. In 1964, he was elected circuit court judge and remained so until his federal appointment. McRae retired on New Year’s Day in 1995. He is survived by his son, Malcolm McRae.
Benjamin K. Phipps of The Phipps Firm, Tallahassee, FL, was designated a Certified Member of the Institute (CMI) in property taxation by the Institute of Professionals in Taxation. The Institute’s members include appraisers, accountants, and attorneys who provide representation for taxpayers in state and local tax matters. Phipps is the only attorney in Florida with the CMI designation in property tax.
Lawrence H. Hoover, Jr., of Hoover Penrod PLC in Harrisonburg, VA, was elected a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.UVA Lawyer Home