Kosovo: Finding our Voices Research Published

On September 30, 2015, NCSC organized a roundtable for the official launch of “Finding our Voices” a research project that charts the aspirations, opportunities, and challenges facing youth seeking to enter the legal workforce in Kosovo.

The study, conducted between April and June 2015, draws conclusions from 156 survey responses from law students and legal professionals and presents recommendations for the Kosovo Judicial Council, Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, Kosovo Bar Association, and law faculties to bridge the gap between legal education and entry into the legal workforce. It is the first project of its kind to document the demographic challenges facing the legal profession.

Women and young people are greatly underrepresented in the legal profession. More than 50% of judges and prosecutors and 80% of lawyers are over the age of 50. Women’s participation remains low with women representing only 13% of lawyers, 29% of judges, and 36% of prosecutors, while they are enrolled in law faculties in equal numbers as their male counterparts. Despite the need for new members in the workforce, young graduates feel that they are unprepared for the workforce and that entry-level jobs are unavailable to them. The lack of practical experience results in a lack of confidence to pursue legal careers and negatively impacts long-term job prospects.

The study was released with presentations by the Dean of the University of Pristina Law Faculty, the President of the Kosovo Judicial Council, the President of the Peja Regional Branch of the Kosovo Bar Association, the President of the Forum of Women Judges and Prosecutors, the Chair of the Kosovo Bar Association’s Gender Committee, and the Director of the Judicial Performance Review Unit of the Kosovo Judicial Council’s Secretariat. Each of the speakers called upon institutions, professionals, and students to work together to address these challenges, to better prepare students for the workforce, and to open the path for their entry into the professions of judge, prosecutor, and lawyer. We hope these actions will inspire students to ask questions, to apply for opportunities, and to meet with professionals to define their own career paths that will be vital for the future of the legal profession.

The report is available at www.justice-ks.org