What’s a Law Clinic?
Law Clinics are practice-oriented training programs at law faculties in which students offer free voluntary legal advice. In some clinics students work for one or even two semesters on a high level of expertise for non-governmental organisations that undertake strategic litigation for example. Other clinics focus on individual legal consultation.
In every clinic the goal is to offer access to high-level and free of charge legal advice in socially relevant sectors. By that Students aquire practical competence and expertise – similar to the clinical medical studies at the bedside.
By now law clinics with different focus fields exist at many german universities. Especially the number of Refugee Law clinics is increasing; the first one started 2007 in Gießen.
Why a Law Clinic?
For those seeking justice the advantages are clear: They recieve high-quality legal advice at no costs. But the law faculites are starting to see the attractivness of the Law Clinic as an educational format.
The concept is very successful primarily beacuse students engage deeply in academic work in a specific field. Furthermore they fullfill the Universities social duty by achieving a knowlege transfer towards the practice.
An independent long term pracical expierience is provided by the mandatory student internships only to a small extend. Through law clinics students are able to engage voluntarily and gain practical expierience. Not only do they learn the application of law but also professional outward appearence, reliability, sense of responsibility, organisational skills and productive handling of challenges and conflics in various situations.
Beyond that, a law clinic encourages the solidartiy between students. They work towards a shared social cause and knowlege is passed down from expierienced students to the novices. The Refugee Law Clinic places emphasis on group exercises and enhances competences for the technical work.
By this, Law Clinics enable participatory learning with high self-motivation and achieve great learning successes. Oh, and not to forget: its also a lot of fun…
About Refugee Law Clinics in Germany
Der Spiegel, 15.11.2013: Studentische Rechtsberatung für Asylbewerber: Die Fluchthelfer
DW, 07.04.2013: Law Clinics: Spielwiese für Jura-Studenten
FAZ, 17.09.2014: Law Clinics: Jura-Studenten machen sich nützlich