The Clinical Legal Education Handbook has just been published, open access and is free to download. Co-edited by Linden Thomas, Senior Lecturer, Solicitor and CEPLER Manager of Birmingham Law School, The Handbook offers practical guidance on all aspects of setting up and running a university law clinic.
The idea for The Handbook was devised at a CLEO conference in 2016 and its contents were shaped by contributions and feedback from a number of CLEO members. It contains contributions from more than 25 clinicians, practising lawyers and third sector experts and is intended to act as a good practice guide and practical resource for those engaged in the design and delivery of clinical legal education programmes at university law schools.
The book is broken down into seven parts:
- Law Clinics: Why, what and how? (which includes a case study of The Open University’s online clinic – a topic which may be of particular interest to clinics looking to move their services online over the course of this summer)
- Regulatory Framework – 18 chapters, outlining the regulatory requirements on clinics operating in England & Wales
- Assessment in clinics: Principles, Practice and Progress – A practical overview of the different methods of assessing clinics and reasons for the same
- Research on Clinical Legal Education – A critical review of the existing body of literature on Clinical Legal Education
- Precedent documents and resources – A bank of materials that clinics are welcome to adapt and use for their own purposes
- Glossary of Clinical Legal Education networks – Details of how to connect with fellow clinicians from around the world
- ‘Things I wish I’d known before I started doing clinical legal education’ – Words of wisdom and personal reflections from experienced clinicians.
CLE has become an increasingly popular method of legal education in recent years. Despite the popularity of CLE, there is very little guidance available in England and Wales as to how clinics ought to be set up or how clinical programmes might best be delivered. Although the legal regulators have a statutory duty to improve access to justice, it is not always readily apparent how pro bono and CLE fits into a complex regulatory framework. This Handbook aims to address those gaps.
Linden is a Senior Lecturer at Birmingham Law School, a solicitor, and the manager of the University of Birmingham's Centre for Public Legal Education and Research (CEPLER). As supervising solicitor she is responsible for coordinating the School's pro bono programme, which includes the Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group, the SIFA Fireside Clinic, the Birmingham Environmental Law Foundation Clinic and many other projects. Linden also teaches on the LLB programme and undertakes research into clinical legal education and pro bono and corporate social responsibility in law firms.