Prof. Marcia Levy, Fulbright Specialist, Offers Legal Skills Course to Displaced Ukrainian Students

Friday, July 1, 2022

Marcia Levy presenting during Career Services Week this past semester

Professor Marcia Levy presenting during Career Services Week this past semester.

When Marcia Levy first began seeing images and hearing the stories of those impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she knew she wanted to use her skills as a lawyer and educator to help in some way.

“Like so many who have watched this war unfold,” says Levy, the director of legal residencies at UNH Franklin Pierce, “it felt heartbreaking to see so many people displaced and lose their lives,”

After reaching out to a colleague in Poland to check the viability of an initiative there, Levy turned to the CEELI Institute to see if she could propose a project in the Czech Republic. Based in Prague, the organization is “dedicated to the development and training of an international network of legal and judicial professionals committed to advancing the rule of law.”

In addition to her work at UNH Franklin Pierce, Levy is a Fulbright specialist, a role for which she was selected after a lengthy application process. The position calls on her to use her vast experience to spearhead international legal issues with law faculties or NGOs. In that capacity, she proposed a project to serve as a Fulbright specialist with the CEELI Institute to conduct a summer school for Ukrainian law students who are displaced and studying in the Czech Republic or elsewhere in Europe. The proposal was accepted, and the free summer school — “Legal Skills in a Time of War” — is scheduled run from July 4 to 15 at Villa Grébovka in Prague, with 24 Ukrainian law students and junior lawyers expected to be in attendance.

Through a combination of lectures, discussions, and group work, the summer institute will explore three modules: legal skills, international law and justice, and international criminal law. Tuition, meals, and lodging will be covered for all participants. While the second week will focus on genocide and war crimes and how to practice in international courts, the first week of the school will be taught through a “trauma-focused” lens, which, Levy explains, is important for young and aspiring attorneys to understand.

“By adding the trauma-informed lawyering lens,” says Levy, who will teach the summer course with help from colleagues from the U.S., Kosovo, Cambodia, and Lithuania, “they will be best prepared to counsel and represent clients in the Ukraine. Trauma-informed lawyering also has a self-care aspect, so it will enable them to learn how to be mindful of their own stress during this period and find ways to take care of themselves so they can best serve their communities.”

Levy, whose specialties include the rule of law, clinical legal education, teacher training, and trial advocacy training, previously worked with the CEELI Institute to help the organization develop and deliver a trial advocacy program for lawyers in Myanmar. She also partnered with CEELI and the U.S. Russia Foundation to present a collaborative program on interactive teaching with four American and four Russian law faculties. In addition to giving back to young legal professionals, she also hopes to deepen her own perspective during her time in Prague.

“I look forward to learning more about this aspect of lawyering through my own teaching, but also teaching with others,” she says. “I also look forward to hearing more about the Ukrainian experience and to be able to share those lessons and learn from them.”