In 2014 Standards of the Legal Clinics Activity in Ukraine were approved by the All-Ukrainian Congress of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine. These Standards set the minimum quality requirements for a legal clinic to operate successfully in major four aspects: organization of operations, support to educational process in legal clinic, free legal aid provision and integrating legal clinic into academic curriculum. To assess the Standards’ implementation by a particular LC – in 2017 specific Tool was created. 16 legal clinics were monitored during couple years. And, in 2019 an upgrade for this monitoring model was introduced: after the monitoring is conducted and recommendations are provided to the legal clinic – one expert from the monitoring group continues mentoring legal clinic first – on developing a short-term plan for implementing monitoring recommendations, (this plan has to be approved by the university or law department administration), and then – in actual plan fulfillment. By now Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine has 6 success stories of this updated monitoring version and the results are rewarding.
We asked Filip Czernicki, Head of Polish Legal Clinics Foundation – one of world’s biggest legal clinics national networks to share his opinion on the experience and importance of legal clinical operations quality assessment.
Here is what Mr. Czernicki has told about profound Polish experience:
“The Polish Legal Clinics Foundation is monitoring the legal clinics activity since 2002. The standardization procedure includes regular monitoring process in order to have actual knowledge about the standards implementation and the clinics performance according to standards. We believe that every rule and standard will be fully implemented only if someone will overview the process and evaluate it. History of over 20 years of Polish clinics activity proofs that the undertaken strategy was with full success! No single legal clinic in Poland was closed down in this 20 years and no single complain against a legal clinic advice was filled in courts. The Polish legal clinics has provided clients with over 150 000 written legal opinions and trained all together over 24 000 law students.”
“The Ukrainian model of monitoring that has been developed as part of the common action plan of the members of Legal Clinics Association looks amazing to me. This is probably the most developed and most sophisticated evaluation program in the world. What is even more important, and what I like the most about it, is the preparation of the improvements implementation plan. Thanks to the approval by the university or faculty administration of this plan, one can be sure that the recommendations will actually be implemented within 2-3 months.” – Mr. Czernicki says.