June 26, 2019 │ Madison, Wisconsin

Photo of the people listed in the caption taken at the NCBE Headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin

Members of the Kenyan Council of Legal Education with NCBE President Judith Gundersen, Chief Strategy Officer Kellie Early, and Testing staff members
Front row: Georgina Wabwire, Judith Gundersen, Leah Macharia
Back row: Douglas Ripkey, April Southwick, Kellie Early, Joanne Kane, Mark Albanese

Travelers cannot fly directly from Nairobi, Kenya, to Madison, Wisconsin. As the crow flies, Nairobi is about 8,073 miles from Madison, but the actual journey is even longer—crossing eight time zones and requiring 21 hours in the air and three layovers. Most travelers would want plenty of time to reorient and rest after such a trip. Only travelers with a deep-rooted sense of mission would try to complete the round trip in only one week, and only the most determined would add trips to Seattle, Chicago, and Albany without extending their stay. Leah Macharia and Georgina Wabwire are such people.

Undaunted by the difficulty of the expedition they had planned, these two members of Kenya’s Council of Legal Education recently completed their one-week trip to four American cities in an effort to study and gather information about the processes of legal licensing in the United States.

The Council of Legal Education is a government agency established by the Legal Education Act No. 27 of 2012 of the Laws of Kenya to regulate legal education and training in Kenya, license and supervise legal education providers, conduct the bar examination, and advise the government of Kenya on matters relating to legal education and training. Macharia is Senior Examinations Officer for the Council. Wabwire is the Investigations Officer for the Quality Assurance Compliance and Licensing Department.

On June 26, Macharia and Wabwire spent the morning with NCBE staff members, including Judith Gundersen, Kellie Early, Beth Hill, Mark Albanese, Douglas Ripkey, Joanne Kane, and April Southwick.  Much information was exchanged about legal education and admissions in the two countries, and NCBE staff members answered questions about NCBE’s relationship with jurisdictions, test development, test administration and grading, and test security.

Enthusiasm for the topic of legal licensing among representatives from countries separated by eight time zones generates the thoughts: What does international collaboration look like among legal licensing agencies? How many ideas and innovations are we overlooking by not creating opportunities to confer with one another?

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