Many and international) or cannot afford counsel

Many of us would find meaning in our lives through the actions which might leave the world a better place. We all want to be a part of something that will outlive us and through which we can leave a kind of legacy. As I see law as a true calling – not simply a job to do, I would be willing to dedicate my life to ensuring universal access to justice in developing countries, especially when it comes to international courts.Rule of law and respect for human rights are key driving factors behind the development of any country. In many aspiring democracies, such as Ukraine, local legal systems are plagued by political bias and corruption. At the same time, on-going globalization and integration increases the role of international law and international courts, such as European Court of Human Rights. In both local and international courts, lawyers act as guarantors of fundamental human rights, build confidence and ensure access to justice for the general public: a number of declarations and principles adopted by UN General Assembly recognize the importance of access to legal assistance and communication with a counsel for those who seek aid. However, today there are millions of people who miss an opportunity for justice or go unrepresented because they either lack the knowledge of their rights (both local and international) or cannot afford counsel at current rates. In some rural areas there might be no attorneys at all. At the same time far too many attorneys around the world are unemployed or do not have enough work. This well-known paradox of imbalance between supply and demand hinders the development of democratic societies around the world. My goal is to create a non-governmental, international organization (NGO) whose goal would be to address this issue.In developing countries, many ordinary people still have little idea about a legal system and opportunities it provides. That is why the very first step would be to run an educational campaigns to disseminate knowledge on people’s rights and opportunities to protect them. In contrast to existing effort, I would like to focus on practical aspects – when a person can defend his rights and how this can be done. These educational programs would contain information about local as well as international laws and would demonstrate how an ordinary person can utilize them to protect his or her interests. Obviously, this would require tailoring the programs for a particular region and highly-motivated educators with solid grasp of legal systems. The practical nature of such an education effort would make it highly effective and attractive for a target audience. What is probably more important is that such a campaign would foster the development of civil society and democratic values as there is no democracy without rule of law, and only when one knows his or her rights such rule becomes feasible.The next goal for my NGO would be to make legal counseling services affordable and accessible everywhere. Information technology and automation would play central role here. Today many tasks routine could be performed automatically. For example, virtual assistants can answer questions online by searching a legal knowledge database or a certain standard document can be created automatically and free of charge – for example, a will, a real estate contract or an application to an international court. It is not far-fetched to imagine simple cases fully handled by robot lawyers in the foreseeable future. What is more, free from tedious tasks, lawyers would be able to focus on meaningful practice of law and complex cases. Secure means of communications such as video conference, messengers and social media would help them connect with who seek help and offer their services. All this automation would require a significant investment in infrastructure, research and development. But it is definitely worth it – such service would allow us to reach millions of people who lack legal advice and help. On the other hand, it would allow those lawyers who need work to find new clients and continue their practice from anywhere in the world. So it it will create a win-win situations for everyone.However, no amount of automation will ever replace people in this field because a lawyer is someone who provide guidance when a client is upset, stressed or frustrated. Such people skills actually define a good lawyer, and ethical and humane values are in their core. In order to maintain the dignity of the profession, lawyers must be committed to the ethics of their profession and be protected from outside influence. Therefore, my NGO would strive to instill and strengthen ethical values in lawyers and law students through creating a network of voluntary professional associations for them around the world. The aim of such bodies would be to promote the ideas of compassionate, moral and lawful service to the people. Regular meetings, seminars, training and international collaborations would not only help the members of such associations to keep up to date with the latest developments in the field, but also connect professionals and students who believe in legal profession’s ideals of public service. In the end, a membership in such an organization should become a internationally recognized hallmark of the highest integrity and the reputation for a law professional. On the practical side, this organization would be able shield attorneys from interference or fear of reprisal – very common phenomena in developing countries. And last but not least, any member must be prepared to give something back to a society as a whole – volunteer their top services for a socially important cases and help those who are in dire need. As a result, this voluntary association of lawyers will strengthen the position of lawyers as representatives of people, help to raise and maintain people’s trust in the profession and support the development of free and democratic judicial systems around the globe.I firmly believe that global and focused NGO described above will make a difference. It will advance nobel causes of truth and justice where they are most needed through empowering ordinary people with knowledge and helping devoted lawyers to reach those seeking help. I would be infinitely proud to be a person behind such an effort as it hopefully will be my legacy for the future generations.