an Interview with Inas Gaber, Dean of arab academy for science and technology newly established law school.
Q. Why did you choose studying Law, and being a professor over being a lawyer or an arbitrator?
A. To begin with, I am fond of studying theory, and I believe that studying law empowers women in general, and we need that kind of empowerment. Since I was a little girl I have shown interest in law and I loved watching trials. Whenever a trial scene would come up on the TV, it would immediately catch my attention; all of the previous really encouraged me to study Law even after finishing my undergraduate degree. My interests were leaning towards international law; I wanted to learn more about international organizations and diplomatic agencies.
Q. What does the admission process consist of and what do you require in the applicants?
A. The thing I require in an applicant is the English language and this doesn’t mean that the students will not use the Arabic language as they will study their subjects in both languages because at the end the student will choose either working in Egypt or abroad and in both cases they have to be perfect with the language they’ll use and that’s why most of the law scholars was mastering more than one language. Each of the applicants will be interviewed by me to know the reason they’re joining law school and to make sure he’s serious and he knows the value of joining a law school, an applicant who’s applying to the law school because of his law grades will be rejected.
Q. As students new to the legal community, they struggle to acquire new legal writing skills. How can law students improve their legal writing and knowledge?
A. As students new to the legal community they struggle to acquire new legal writing skills. So one of the easiest tips to improve the legal knowledge and writing is reading everything related to the legal field such as scholar’s books that would let the student learn a lot of legal terms and judicial opinions as well would improve the student’s legal writing.
Q. What is the strategy you’ll use in the exams and what advice do you give students in studying?
A. First of all I don’t believe that law students should depend only on memorizing because as soon as students are done with their exams they’ll forget everything but instead, a student must depend on understanding and by this way the student will never forget what he has studied, and I consider the “case study” is one of the best ways of studying. So, the strategy we’ll follow is that half of the exam will be theoretical and the other half will be practical.
Q. Would you offer applicants courses to be prepared for law school?
A. Every Friday an orientation session takes place, so we can familiarize the students with the topics they will be studying and the future career opportunities. A course will be in place to prepare the students for the external affairs exam. Our goal is to open up career paths, not just giving them a degree. We are trying to offer a training course before enrolling students in the university.
Q. As a dean what can you provide the student with?
A. The Arab Academy of Science and Technology offers direct communications between
students and professors. If a student is facing any kind of issue they can directly take it to the dean. We tend to improve our students’ self-esteem. A students’ self-esteem can be improved by making sure that they are heard. One of my major goals is to establish strong self-confidence students. In addition, I will try to offer them training opportunities in various areas.
Establishing agreements and partnerships between our university and universities abroad is on the agenda, this will open up a great opportunity for students to continue their post-graduate degree abroad.
Q. Would you take the step and establish a partnership with a law firm or exchange programs with international law schools or cooperating with other institutions as other universities did?
A. We actually started searching for the best universities to give the students the opportunity to study abroad at the best law schools in their third or fourth year. I believe when students study law abroad, they may have an invaluable opportunity to learn more about international law, legal guideline in other countries and this might help them becoming better lawyers and have more competitive resume or cv. Summer law programs abroad may also provide them with the chance to learn how to communicate with people from other cultures and backgrounds. We are also planning to have a partnership with the best law firms and banks in Egypt to provide students with internships to apply practically what they’ve learned and by the beginning of October we’ll announce the protocols and the partnerships we’ve had with the universities and the law firms.
Q. What future plans do you have to ensure that you Law school would be at the fore front of legal education?
A. Law is a well respected field, and I plan to make this program unique, therefore, all
professors will be more than qualified, the curriculum is going to be carefully considered to meet up with curriculum taught abroad. I have introduced new areas of study, and I plan to pay more attention to the practical part of law.
Q. In your own prospective how can the Egyptian legal system generally be developed?
A. Unfortunately, the Egyptian legal system is in need of improvement. Here in Egypt we put the law but we don’t apply it and there are many laws that contradict each other that are in need of amendments. Add to this, the judicial system has to be changed as there must be some sort of organization and speed and by the way the students will learn a subject called “Judicial logistics” and this will let them aware of the judicial procedures.
Q. Dean Inas Gaber, Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have any general advice you would like to offer law students and graduates?
A. For law students and graduates, keep learning & developing yourself as the legal field is an interesting field and keep yourself updated with the new laws and provisions and with the new style of oral pleading as it has changed in recent years.
By: Farah Hatem & Rawan Roushdy