Serbian Lawyers Gain a Global
by Mindy Marks
In July, Chris Hardaway left his job at Legal Aid, his wife at their bed and breakfast in Vermont, and journeyed into a country where he spoke a mere 20 words.
“I was prepared for the worst,” said Hardaway, “especially since I did not speak the language. As soon as I got off the plane, though, I loved it.”
Hardaway has been working on training for magistrates as they move the judiciary out of the executive branch and into a judicial branch of government, educating attorneys on domestic violence and helping to plan an annual meeting for magistrates.
“We help Serbians make the reforms they want to make,” said Hardaway. “We’re project managers who set things up, but it’s more about helping them than doing things
While Hardaway experiences Serbian culture every day, he had the opportunity to bring 11 Serbian prosecutors to Colorado in September to learn about the United States legal system. As a former Denver attorney and University of Denver Sturm College of Law graduate, Hardaway was well-suited to lead the group’s travels.
“In Serbia, politics have more say because of the way judges are elected,” said Branislava Vucovic, a Serbian prosecutor. “I believe we have to work on our independence.”
Serbia practices law through the Continental system, which is based on legislation.