A very quick “signpost” blog, to direct any readers interested in clinical legal education to my article ‘Selling intra-curricular clinical legal education’ (£ – but see below) in the most recent edition of The Law Teacher.
Here is the abstract to the article:
A well-run student law clinic can bring benefits to its local community and to the students who participate in the initiative. The many shapes and sizes of law clinics mean that the model adopted can have an impact on the mix of community benefit and student benefit that any particular project brings. One key potential difference between clinical programmes is whether an intra- or extra-curricular model is employed, with the question of whether one is preferable to the other being a difficult one to contend with when considered in the light of the (often equally valid) competing interests that exist. This article makes a case for the practical and tactical decision of introducing an academic, credit-bearing element to student clinical legal activity, drawing on a literature review of clinical legal education (CLE) sources, lessons from experiences of CLE and survey data from volunteers at the Aberdeen Law Project, the University of Aberdeen’s student founded and, until recently, extra-curricular organisation.
The article builds on work digested elsewhere on BaseDrones plus the experience of teaching an optional course called “Clinical Legal Studies” at the University of Aberdeen. That course was – and still is – available to third year undergraduate law students with at least one year’s experience of pro bono publico (for the public good) voluntary work.
Other law schools have models that have a far more integrated approach to student activity and the formal curriculum. As such, it would be fair to say Aberdeen is not quite in the midst of a CLE revolution, but the Clinical Legal Studies course does (I hope) demonstrate an attempt by me practise what I preach.
As ever, if you find any of this of interest, please do leave a comment below.
If you wish to see the full article, I am able to share online access with a limited number of parties. Please get in touch if you are interested and I can pass you a link to the full eprint.