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Leitner Center Donates a Few to Help the Many

Leitner Center alumni have made a generous $4,150 gift to fund the purchase of computer equipment for Legal Aid Ghana. Matched by Fordham Law alumnus Jim Leitner (’82) for a total amount of $8,300, the donation funded the purchase of ten desktop computers and printers, one for each of Legal Aid Ghana’s ten regional offices throughout the country, and an additional pair of laptop computers for field work. 

 

 

Ghana Legal Aid Director Seini (above) tests a new laptop; the equipment (below) was donated by the Leitner Center.

Legal Aid Ghana provides legal services for the poorest in criminal and civil disputes. The number of clients that need assistance is extremely large in a country where many still live on less than $2 a day. In fulfilling this critical role in ensuring access to justice and the right to fair trial, Legal Aid Ghana faces significant funding and human resource challenges. Since 2009, Leitner Center Professor Paolo Galizzi has worked as Special Adviser to Legal Aid Ghana, assisting in the organization’s efforts to enhance legal service delivery in Ghana.

 

On a visit to a regional Legal Aid Ghana office last fall, Professor Galizzi and International Law and Development in Africa Clinic students Diana Schaffner (’12), Anne Kelsey (’12),  Ayinde Sawyer (’12),  and Erin Miles (’12), were greatly touched by the dedication of the Legal Aid Ghana lawyers and staff working under such challenging conditions.  When they arrived back in New York, the students set about organizing a bar night fundraiser, as well as participating in a Center-wide donation drive coordinated by Leitner Center alums, Carolyn Houston (’09) and Felice Segura (’09). The resulting donation is the single largest intervention in the history of Legal Aid Ghana and will support justice delivery in Ghana by providing the necessary computer resources for quality, efficient legal services to vulnerable members of society.

 

Speaking at the donation ceremony on Monday, 27 June, Legal Aid Director Mr. Al-Hassan Yahaya Seini emphasized how the work of Legal Aid has been hampered by inadequate equipment and said the donation was a great relief.  He expressed gratitude to the students for their support, adding that their gesture would enhance the work of Legal Aid at the grassroots level, because the equipment would be shared among each of the ten regional offices across the country, ensuring that every office has the technical capacity to serve its community. Echoing these statements Supreme Court Justice William Atuguba, Chairman of Legal Aid Ghana, stated that the donation could not have come at a better time, as Legal Aid Ghana is in the process of organizing a Legal Aid Week to draw attention to both the work and needs of the organization nationwide.

 


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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10023 USA

Email: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu
Telephone: 212.636.6862
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Faculty and Staff
Paolo Galizzi
Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Sustainable Development Legal Initiative
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