The Hague Institute for International Justice announced the Legal Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP) launched in the United Arab Emirates, led by Dr. Abdul Wahab Abdool, immediate former Chief Justice of the Supreme Federal Court, supported by the international legal services and management consultancy firm WASEL&WASEL, in addition to LexisNexis, the leading global provider of legal, regulatory and business information.
LEAP is the first lawyers’ incubator of its kind in the UAE and the Middle East. The program specializes in helping and enabling Emirati lawyers to acquire the skills needed to launch successful practices to expand their legal services. In line with the activities and strategy of The Hague Institute for Global Justice to achieve increase access to justice and advance the rules of law through the development of legal services, The Hague Institute for Global Justice, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, has developed LEAP as a comprehensive and integrated model that provides lawyer entrepreneurs and new graduates in the field of law the skills and support to develop their own law firm, and understand the science behind, and practicality, in the fundamental and important sector of legal services.
The Hague Institute for Global Justice was established in 2011 by the Municipality of The Hague with support from the Dutch government. Independent and non-partisan, The Hague Institute focuses on interdisciplinary research in three perspectives: conflict prevention, rule of law, and global governance, and has worked with the United Nations in the field of business and human rights arbitration, with the International Criminal Court for Justice and Peace, and with the World Bank.
The legal incubator will be implemented under the leadership of Dr. Abdul Wahab Abdool, immediate former Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court and the first Emirati citizen to assume this prestigious position. Dr. Abdool is recognized as the go-to jurist and exemplar for lawyers in the UAE. In addition to his position as Chief Justice, Dr. Abdool continued his academic and educational career as a part-time lecturer at leading Emirati academic institutions, and participated in the chairmanship and membership of committees guiding researches in matters of law and the judiciary, as well as chairing the lawyer’s disciplinary board and the judicial disciplinary board.
The President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, Sohair Salam Saber, expressed her delight at the launch of the lawyers’ incubator in the UAE, as the UAE is recognized as a leader in the Middle East in the development of the rule of law. Saber stated that the incubator program reinforces that lawyers are an important and necessary component of developing access to justice.
Dr. Abdool stated: “I am proud of this project that will assist lawyer entrepreneurs in the development of their practices as we see that most law graduates complete their programs from colleges of law without having enough real-world experiences in representing clients directly and independently let alone practical training in managing a law firm to allow them to be world-class lawyers”. Dr. Abdool continued to emphasize that Emirati lawyers must either establish their own practice or be an employee at an Emirati law firm to maintain their rights of audience, which means that Emiratis who would like to practice on their own must set up a law firm, bear the costs of doing so, subsequently have to hire and manage staff, without having had sufficient experience in fundamentals such as client onboarding policies, “know-your-customer” and anti-money laundering procedures, and various fee structures, in addition to more complex systems such as enterprise resource planning, docket management systems, and law firm partnership structures.
Therefore, the legal incubator for legal entrepreneurs comes against the backdrop of continuous efforts to advance the mechanisms for the development and modernization of legal services provided by Emirati law firms.