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Hands-on legal learning in Haiti

An Elon Law professor and five students joined a delegation from the North Carolina Bar Association on a recent visit to the Caribbean nation to learn more about the opportunities and challenges there of building a vibrant economy.

Professor John Flynn (right) with five Elon Law students who joined an NCBA delegation to Haiti in May 2017: Shanelle Edmonds, Kimberlee Farr, Liliane Long, Veronica Townsend and Brad Beyer.

Elon Law students and the director of the school's Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic joined the North Carolina Bar Association this spring in a visit to Haiti to strengthen mutually beneficial relationships with the Port-au-Prince Bar Association.

Led by then-NCBA President Kearns Davis, the visit to Haiti for an international investment conference organized by the Port-au-Prince Bar Association was intended to help bolster the Caribbean nation's economy and business climate.

Professor John Flynn, who serves as distinguished practitioner-in-residence at Elon Law and oversees the business clinic, brought Shanelle Edmonds, Kimberlee Farr, Liliane Long, Veronica Townsend and Brad Beyer with him as part of the delegation. Each student is a member of the NCBA’s Law Student Division; all but Beyer were enrolled in the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic this spring as part of Elon Law's Residency-in-Practice Program.

"The NCBA's intent is to create a lasting relationship with the country where we help them overcome obstacles to development that we teach about here," Flynn said. "Exposure at a conference like this as a young person is invaluable. ... You're putting a face to the type of legal problems we study."

Elon Law students attended three days of the week-long confererence. The conference had initially been scheduled for October 2016 but was moved to mid May because of Hurricane Matthew.

"This country is full of people who scratch out a living however they can, in conditions we can't even relate to," Davis said in a news release prior to the trip. "The needs are great and numerous, but economic opportunity is high on the list. If Haitian lawyers and leaders can strengthen and protect institutions that attract investment and jobs, they can change many lives."

The delegation's visit came full circle on June 24 when Stanley Gaston, president of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association and the Federation of Bars of Haiti, returned to the United States to deliver remarks about the partnership at the NCBA's annual meeting in Asheville. Flynn, Edmonds and Beyer were in attendance for that talk.

Eric Townsend,
6/30/2017 8:30 AM