PR for People Monthly MAY 2017 - Page 8

and education were the qualifications needed when I was asked by some colleagues from the University of San Francisco to participate in a project in Cambodia to set up a couple of legal education programs immediately after the UN brokered elections.

Ron Schiffman: Serendipitous. Nothing is really serendipitous. We made friends with people, specifically U.S.A.I.D contractors. Pat was fascinated with living overseas, to travel and work. She started seeking programs where her skills would fit. So she was out there looking, networking and making contacts.

PR4P: How do you go about setting up legal systems, i.e., is there a specific protocol or is every nation different?

Pat Noonan: Every nation is different and the people who do the work are unique. Setting up a legal system depends on the human resources that are available and country’s experience. Ultimately it is the people on hand who will be able to define what can be done and what cannot be done.

For example, working in South Sudan immediately after the peace accords, there were no banks and no currency. The new banking law needed to be simple and straightforward, and could not be copied from another country.

Ron Schiffman: Pat’s process was never based on boilerplate statutory schemes. She always sat down with the client and talked about their needs, and then worked backward from that. Her work was defined as Democracy and Governance. Essentially, she helped to architect the infrastructure on which a fledgling nation can hang democracy. Some of those components include the judicial system, a free media, separation of powers in government, free elections and the ability to combat corruption in government—that is the Bag of Democracy, and she’s done it differently, in different countries depending on their immediate needs. Her work most always involved some aspect of the judiciary, and more often than not, there was a technology component and a training program.

PR4P: How has the work transitioned as governments’ adopted legal systems?

Pat Noonan: With the breakup of the Soviet Union, the initial tasks were creating the basic foundation, a Constitution and laws. As those pieces fall into place, the work shifts to focus on education and training. The transition reflects the different history and culture of each country.

Many of the countries chose to adopt constitutional courts which have the power to declare an act of the other branches of government to be in violation of the constitution and therefore invalid. These decisions can be controversial, particularly in the early years of a new