Since 2006, Burton Rands Associates LLC has been working to provide various locations worldwide with legal advice. In fact, the U.S. Department of State has contracted with Burton Rands Associates to assure the spread of democracy. Currently, Burton Rands Associates has developed a program, the Criminal Justice Program Support (CJPS), to help support the U.S.’s plan to create new democracies abroad. This woman-owned small business is hiring lawyers, judges and court administrators to work as “rule of law advisors” in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Sudan, and the West Bank. The contract is for 5 years with different projects that could last up to a year. In order to apply for these positions, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen with at least 3 to 5 years of criminal trial experience as a criminal defense attorney, prosecutor, judge, or court administrator. It is also preferred that the individual have at least 1 year experience with international rule of law programs.
But, is Burton really contracting with these individuals for the purpose of acquiring legal advisors? Alternatively, my belief is that their purpose may really be to re-create another U.S. legal system abroad. Wouldn’t it be hard to incorporate a country’s unique beliefs given that Burton lists that the legal advisors responsibilities include “drafting new legal codes and procedures, training local officials and providing guidance on managing and prosecuting complex criminal cases”? Are the attorneys that contracted with Burton planning to instill a replica of the legal system we have here in the U.S., or are the attorneys contracting to simply give legal advice to help develop these countries their own legal system fit for them?
First, U.S. prosecutors are asked to help teach these countries how to gather evidence in a case, when to initiate a lawsuit, and the how to present a case in the courtroom. Will these experienced prosecutors teach these countries the flaws in our legal system as well as the benefits?
Second, what about the judges and court administrators that contract with Burton? Do these U.S. attorneys strongly believe that our court system works efficiently? Or are they instead an essential part of the alleged U.S. tactics of overreaching to spread democracy?
Clearly, attorneys have gone abroad to help with this mission, but do they know what they are getting into? Is this program appealing to young attorneys ambitious to give legal advice?
Would you commit yourself as an attorney to a yearlong project in Afghanistan? The U.S. military is committed to this “war on terror” but are experienced attorneys just as willing to enlist?
Attorneys that truly are interested in this program should send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.