Clinical Legal Education in the Law University: Goals and Challenges


  • Margaret Barry Catholic University of America



Calls for reform of legal education in India have focused on preparation and relevance. The route to achieving both has consistently been linked to clinical legal education. In 1999, I heard one of the leaders of legal education in India, Dr. Madhava Menon, discuss his goals for clinical legal education in at the first Global Alliance for Justice Education Conference in Trivandrum. I learned at the time that he had been invited to lead a new law school in the country, and he made it clear that clinical legal education would be central to the new law school model that he intended to pursue, a model based on recommendations that grew out of prior assessments of legal education in India. Under this model, law students would be trained to be productive members of a community of lawyers that had refined the skills needed to develop and implement creative  strategies for addressing the pressing demand for social justice in the country. The approach reflected a connection between responsibility for the underserved and goals for clinical legal education in India that dates back to collaboration with academics from the United States in the late 1960’s.