Law Students as Active Citizens: Instilling a Career-Long Commitment to Pro Bono and Social Justice via the CLE Curriculum


  • Andrea Todd University of Chester



By engaging in pro bono work whilst at university, students demonstrate that they are good citizens. Students perform a valuable service for members of the local community, and the skills they learn enhance their ability to secure, and succeed in, a graduate role. But is this enough? Should we, as clinical legal educators, be doing more to facilitate students becoming active (and not just good) citizens, who know not only how to ‘do’ pro bono, but who also actively engage with the why of pro bono? Can facilitating a critical understanding of the political and social backdrop to the need for pro bono advice engender a genuine commitment to social justice which students can take with them into their working lives? This paper explores the drivers for an ‘active citizenship’ approach to pro bono learning and reflects on the pilot year of a student-led module aimed at fostering social responsibility and a strong sense of social justice to achieve a long-lasting commitment to pro bono in the lawyers of the future.






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