Kosovo: NCSC Maps Youth Entry into the Legal Workforce

In June 2015, NCSC experts, Violaine Autheman and Florije Manaj-Zogaj, conducted a series of discussions of research on the aspirations, needs, and challenges facing youth and women in the legal workforce in Kosovo. The research, titled Finding Our Voices, documents the youth deficit and low representation of women in the legal workforce and analyzes the aspirations and fears of law students, judges, and legal professionals in securing employment and advancing professionally. The legal workforce is aging rapidly across professions, with 79% of lawyers, 61% of prosecutors, and 54% of judges above the age of 50, and less than 10% of professionals under 35. By contrast, youth makes up 56% of the potential workforce in Kosovo.

Respondents shared a commitment to justice and the defense of rights. Despite gender equality in opportunities, recruitment, and treatment across the legal workforce, youth and women expressed concerns about the unequal influence of women professionals compared to their male colleagues, with more than 30% of the women surveyed considering that men and women do not participate equally in decision-making in justice sector institutions and do not have equal access to leadership roles. Men displayed growing awareness of youth deficit and the underrepresentation of women—a positive sign that men can be strong allies for change in the future. The research was administered through a survey of students and professionals and key informant interviews conducted in April and May 2015. More than 175 individuals participated in the research.

Finding our Voices aims to trigger debate on initiatives to increase youth entry into the legal workforce and bridge the gap between legal education and the legal professions. The report was presented at the law faculties of Iliria College and the University of Pristina, the Kosovo Bar Association, and the Skenderaj and Malishevo Courts. Presentations will continue throughout the summer.

For more information on NCSC’s past and present activities in Kosovo, please visit www.justice-ks.org.