My second to last week in the office was also just a normal week. There was nothing too exciting going on, which allowed me to get a lot of work done. In fact, I was able to finish one of my smaller projects early and spent a lot of time on my main project.
The main project that I have been working on is really a collaboration between IJM and the Judicial Studies Institute (JSI). JSI is the body of the judiciary that is responsible for training judges and magistrates in the law, kind of like a continuing education program. It runs the website that contains Ugandan case law, holds trainings, and has also been involved in the Plea Bargaining Program that Pepperdine is working on. IJM is helping JSI redesign and revamp their website, and I had the chance to be part of that process.
One of the features that we are adding to the website is a digest or database of case law relating to specific topics. We started with cases involving land issues and gender based violence, since those are the case types that IJM is working on in Uganda. I was tasked with the job of coming up with a way to organize the database and then to go through the cases and organize them into the database. It was quite a big project and I am so honored that IJM entrusted it to me and gave me the freedom that it did.
To complete this task I started by just reading cases and writing down the case title and the topics that were covered. I ended up compiling over 200 cases from the years 2016-2010, with the help of one other girl, to put into the database. Then I created an outline by using the topics that were discussed and sorted the cases into this outline. I was able to work with the technology guy at JSI and we were able to come up with a design for the website and even think that we may be able to make the database searchable, which would help cut down on research time.
While this was actually a very interesting project and I loved reading the cases, what I enjoyed the most was work with the people at JSI. As part of this project I was able to spend one day a week, for about a month, at JSI and work with their staff to complete this project in time. They welcomed me with open arms and helped me so much. They taught me how to research better using their tools and databases, they listened to my ideas, and they helped me understand more about the structure of the judiciary and JSI’s place within it. As challenging as this project was at times and for as many hours I spent reading on my computer, it was all worth it to meet these amazing people and to make those connections.
This was not quite the project I was expecting as a summer legal intern, to be honest I am not really sure what types of projects I was expecting, but I am so glad that I had the privilege to work on this project. I learned so much and this is one thing that I will be able to look back on and know that I did something and made an impact for IJM. Plus, I am excited for the launch of the redesigned website and too see my product in working condition and not just on a word document!