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.
Bibliographical noteThanks to Professor Donald Nicolson of the University of Strathclyde and to Dr Darren Comber, Dr Joy Perkins and Phil Marston of the University of Aberdeen for their comments on earlier, very different, versions of this article.
- law clinic
- clinical legal education
- pro bono