The idea of developing regional cooperation and enhancing the capacity of legal clinics is not new. In one form or another it has been discussed for the last five years. However, further talk did not go. Heads of he most active ALCU legal clinics regularly attended annual forums but, returning to their daily routine, forgot about regional leadership until the next meeting.
After the successful implementation of the Project “Institutional Capacity Building of the Association / Network of Legal Clinics of Ukraine” (in partnership with the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation), we realized two things: the first – we are capable of more, the second – the development of the network is impossible without strengthening the capacity of the legal clinics themselves. As a result, the development of regional leadership in the network of legal clinics has become one of the main priorities of the Association’s development.
The first step in the search for future leaders of the legal clinical movement was the First Ukrainian-Polish School for Academics of Legal Clinics, held in June 2019 in Warsaw. The participants of the School discussed in detail and openly the vision of regional cooperation development and possible problems and presented their own project initiatives. For the first time in many years, besides the desire to develop a legal clinical movement in the regions, we have received specific proposals and projects from people interested and motivated to implement them. What else is needed? Financing!
The implementation of the project allowed to hold a competition and provided funding for three projects, which, in our opinion, will allow cooperation between legal clinics and enhance their ability to independently search and implement projects.
The project “Strengthening of Regional and Cross-Sectoral Cooperation of Legal Clinics of Kyiv Region” is implemented by the Legal Clinic “Law and Practice” of Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University in cooperation with the LC of University of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and the LC of Academy of Advocacy of Ukraine.
The project has two strategic goals. The first is to analyze the stakeholders and their interests, to explore the Ukrainian market of legal aid providers.
The second goal of the project was to develop the skills of legal clinic students in the organization of law classes and increase the financial literacy of school youth.
The project “Legal clinics – agents for promoting mediation as a way of resolving disputes” is implemented by the Legal Clinic of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University in cooperation with the LC of King Danylo University, LC of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University and LC “Femida” of the Precarpathian Faculty of the National Academy of Internal Affairs.
Can legal clinics settle disputes through mediation? Yes, they can – the authors of the project are convinced. The main thing is to teach the students-consultants to convey the benefits of mediation and to convince the client of its effectiveness. LC students themselves need to know the basics of mediation and promote mediation to the general public. Accordingly, the purpose of the project is to create and develop, on the basis of legal clinics, a regional network of mediation promotion agents.
The project “Free Legal Aid for Small Business” is being implemented by the Legal Clinic “Pro Bono” of National University of Ostroh Academy, in collaboration with the Ukrainian Catholic University, LC of leonid Yuzkov Khmelnytskyi University of Management and Law, and LC “Liberta” Ternopil National Economic University.
This project is an attempt to go beyond and allow students to work with a whole new category of cases. The essence of the project is to provide consultants of participating in the initiative of free legal assistance legal clinics to the representatives of small business and the opportunity to acquire complex knowledge and experience in the field, which they would come across only at work.
Yulia Lomzets, Executive Director of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine