Community projects : extending the community lawyering model

McNamara, Judith, Campbell, Catherine, & Hamman, Evan (2014) Community projects : extending the community lawyering model. International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, 21(2).

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Law schools in Australia and the United Kingdom are increasingly adopting clinical legal education (CLE) as an important part of their curriculum. Models of CLE are emerging in those jurisdictions which draw on local experience and the strong tradition of CLE and community lawyering in the United States. The purpose of this article is to examine the pedagogy that underlies CLE and to consider how it can be applied to newly emerging models of CLE. In particular, it will evaluate a community project legal clinic in which students work on social justice projects in partnership with a range of community organisations, not limited to legal centres, with a view to determining whether pedagogical goals are being met in the way that the course is being delivered. This article argues that community project legal clinics can result in positive student learning outcomes in relation to the development of a pro bono ethos and commitment to social justice, lawyering skills including client communication, and the development of a positive professional legal identity. Part II of the article provides a brief overview of the history of CLE in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, noting the trend towards the development of community lawyering clinics. Part III examines the benefits of community lawyering clinics focusing on the benefits for student learning and the service-learning pedagogy applied in community lawyering clinics in the United States. Finally, part IV looks at a case study of a new community project clinic in Australia that draws upon the service-learning pedagogy of community lawyering CLE. In the community project clinic, students engage in service-learning through undertaking projects with not-for-profit community organisations. Community partners identify relevant issues and needs, and the students work in interdisciplinary teams to address these. Law students working in these teams are often exposed to a broader social problem or issue than they would experience in a traditional ‘in-person’ legal clinic. Initial evaluation suggests that this model for community clinics in law schools assists students to develop lawyering skills and a positive legal identity including awareness of and support for pro bono legal work and a sense of belonging in the legal profession.

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ID Code: 78441
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Legal Clinic, Community lawyering, community projects
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Access to Justice (180102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Legal Practice Lawyering and the Legal Profession (180121)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 06 Nov 2014 21:40
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2014 20:20

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