A legal clinic is a unique experience, meaningful practice, development of competencies and soft skills of future lawyers. In order to secure and improve this form of students’ training – Standards of Activity of Legal Clinics in Ukraine were approved at the ALCU All-Ukrainian Congress 2014.Due to them legal clinical movement in Ukraine is being improved.
On February 26-28, a monitoring team from the Association of Legal Clinics in Ukraine visited Ivano-Frankivsk. Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University legal clinic – one of the oldest legal clinics in Ukraine.
Monitoring of Legal clinics is conducted to ensure the development of legal clinics in the regions and to enable the Association to understand better the needs of the legal clinical network. During the monitoring, areas of activity of the legal clinic, such as organizational, educational, legal protection and legal education work, are investigated.
The members of the monitoring group were:
- Maria Tsypiashchuk, a Board member of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine, mentor at the Ostroh Academy legal clinic “Pro bono”,
- Yaroslav Malik, mentor at the National Academy of Internal Affairs legal clinic “Zakhyst”,
- Natalia Kozheimyaka, integrator of the Kryvyi Rih Local Secondary Legal Aid Center.
The strengths of the legal clinic were identified during the monitoring. Thus, the legal clinic has unique support from university administration. Three specialists are employed on a full-time basis. So there are more opportunities for advising the population, conducting interesting law-enforcement activities and introducing various forms of distant education more.
“This legal clinic has unquestionable advantages and a solid basis for further development: sufficient staffing, a well-coordinated team of specialists and an awareness of the direction in which to move,” – Maria Tsypiashchuk is convinced.
During the monitoring, trainings were held as well: Maria Tsypiashchuk conducted a training session on interactive methods in law education, and Natalia Kozheimyaka – on plane and clear language in communications, including the possibilities of social networks.
“It is interesting for me to listen to the person’s problem that he or she has come up with and to think out about strategy for solving it. When you realize that this solution depends on you, you do your best to help the person. It is simultaneously a lawyer’s and a citizen’s responsibility. Right here (in a legal clinic) I realized that the future depends on each of us and our attitude to the case. So the legal educational event that I conducted at school made me understand the importance of having contact with the audience, speaking in plain and understandable language. This is not an easy task. But I’m not afraid “- tells a legal clinic student Sofia Holodniuk.
“The monitoring allows looking at the legal clinic teams’ work from the side: to evaluate, summarize, to improve something, to learn something and to determine the direction of future development. It’s a brainstorming when your friends and partners share ideas so you can continue to work even more inspiringly and effectively,” – shares with impressions the head of the legal clinic Ivan Kostiv.
According to preliminary results, the activity of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University legal clinic meets 68.75% Quality Standards.
“I am pleased with the results of the monitoring. Sometimes it’s necessary to deliberate step out of your comfort zone to see the path that can bring positive change. “- comments Valentina Vasilyeva, director of the educational and scientific Carpathian National University V. Stefanik Law Institute.
Following the monitoring, the Association team made some recommendations to improve the legal clinic’s activities:
- Update internal documentation (regulations, job descriptions).
- Introduce systematic training for legal clinic consultants.
- To strengthen planning and ensure the regularity of the legal educational component.
- To arrange the record of legal clinic activities.
- Improve the communication component of the legal clinic.
The results of the monitoring are a guide to what can be changed. After the presentation of the monitoring results, for this reason, a strategic session with partners was held.
Representatives of the legal clinic, partners from state and public institutions have come to the presentation of the monitoring results. Representatives of the Regional Representative of the Human Rights Commissioner of Ukraine, Ivano-Frankivsk Local Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid, public organization “Moloda prosvita Prykarpattya”, Ivano-Frankivsk Territorial Center for social services for solitary disabled citizens, the National University of Internal Affairs legal clinic have exchanged visions of future cooperation in the field of legal educational work.
“Ivano-Frankivsk is lucky. There is a fairly large range of legal aid partnering providers here. Therefore, the readiness of the legal clinic team to develop legal education, to cooperate with different institutions is inspiring. ” – tells Nataliia Kozheimyaka, a representative of the free legal aid system.
Among the jointly produced ideas are:
- documentary film club and mobile exhibition on human rights together with public organization “Moloda Prosvita Prykarpattya”,
- thought festival, human rights festival, series of meetings in the center,
- joining to the cooperation with the Human Rights Commissioner regional office,
- coordination in conducting activities in schools,
- continuation of cooperation with the Center for Secondary Legal Aid as a platform for legal education and a base for practice and internship, a partner in providing legal assistance to the population,
- creating of organization map providing free legal aid in Ivano-Frankivsk.
The monitoring team together with the administration of the institution and the head of the legal clinic approved the Legal Clinic Development Plan, which was prepared based on the monitoring results.
Contacts of the Vasily Stefanyk Carpathian National University Educational and Scientific Law Institute Legal clinic:
Ivan Kostiv, head of the legal clinic
address: Ivano-Frankivsk, str. Shevchenko 44a, 115
tel .: (0342) 59-61-33
Legal clinic monitoring is conducted by the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation initiative “Development of Regional Leadership and Establishing a Model of Coordination of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine.”