Daniel J. Meador, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law for most of six decades, and Ronald Sokol (Law ’62), an American lawyer in France who studied under Meador while a student at UVA Law, maintained a lively correspondence that spanned 45 years. This personal correspondence, which consisted of 133 typed and handwritten letters, encompassed matters of jurisprudence and legal theory, literature, law practice and teaching, and international travel.
Given Sokol’s training as a lawyer in the United States and years of practice involving international law and the French civil law system, Meador convinced Sokol in 1996 to participate in a Cambodian justice project in the newly democratic Cambodia. The vision for this project was to bring practitioners from the United States and France to train a new generation of Cambodian judges and prosecutors. It would be known as the Cambodian Court Training Project (CCTP).
This digital collection contains the correspondence between Sokol and Meador from 1967 to 2013, and it displays the significance of the CCTP and its relationship to key legal concerns in contemporary Cambodia. Sokol’s work in Cambodia also highlights the problems inherent in a judicial education program conducted largely by Western legal practitioners in a post-colonial world. Specifically, the correspondence between Sokol and Meador raises questions about the relationship among French civil law, American jurisprudence, and international human rights law. The correspondence between the French international lawyer and the American law professor may be used in a broader context, encouraging us to question the available tools for reconstructing a broken judiciary in the aftermath of genocide and war.