“Legal Clinics are the Whole Galaxy” – Key Issues about ALCU National Forum 2019

We still ask ourselves – how? How in two days we managed to do what seemed to be impossible – to quickly and constructively discuss main organizational issues of our activity, update the charter documents and approve new regulations, present a new Association identity, listen to presentations on financial education and alternative dispute resolution from our partners of USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project, to hold panel discussions with foreign colleagues from legal clinical movement and meet with representatives of the human rights sector in Ukraine, get presentation from director of the very first legal publication, run interesting breaks with Docudays UA film clubs, Educational Ombudsman, get to know about the projects – winners of the Regional Initiatives Contest among legal clinics and – finally – provide participants with the opportunity to visit parallel workshops on tangible aspect of legal clinical operations. And all of this held in the picturesque Bila Tserkva hosted by the Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University Legal clinic “Law and Practice”.

“Legal Clinics are the Universe. The Whole Galaxy – Organizations, Events, People, Ideas” – Olha Halchenko, Coordinator of the International Renaissance Foundation’s Human Rights and Justice Program shares her own impressions of the Forum-Conference of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine 2019


This article provides overview of the key findings and happenings during the ALCU Forum 2019.

Chapter 1. Structure and Idea

An organization Forum is a statutory event necessary to address organizational issues within the scope of the general meeting, update information and establish a current register of legal clinics, make joint community decisions, etc. But this time, the organizers decided to go further and employ the opportunity to bring together representatives of the vast majority of active legal clinics in Ukraine, for something even more productive and useful – sharing experiences, training, motivation for independent activity. Consistently implementing the idea of ​​enhancing regional leadership in legal clinics, developing new directions – we have built a four-block Forum program: actually – the Forum itself and discussion of organizational issues, “Financial Consumer Protection”, presenting initiatives for legal clinics in partnership and the development of legal clinics in the form of creative workshops and interviews.

Information about the upcoming Forum drew so much attention that even coffee breaks were filled with constructive and interesting events. During “coffee-with-partners” sessions representatives of legal clinics obtained practical information for their further interaction and enhancement of law-enforcement work – in particular, through media education on Human Rights via Docudays UA film clubs.

Chapter 2. Opening

Traditionally, the Forum was started by the Chairman of the Association Andrii Halai. Also participants were greated by the BNAU Vice-Rector for Education and International Affairs Tatiana Dyman, the Dean of the BNAU Law and Linguistics Faculty Valentyna Borshchovetska, Consumer Protection Advisor Tetiana Burak. Later, Head of the All-Ukrainian Professional Bar Association Nadiia Korinna and the Director of the Coordination Center for Free Legal Aid Oleksii Boniuk also addressed welcoming speeches.

During the panel discussion “From Understanding to Development: Renewing the Goals of the Board, Regional Leadership”, Andrii Halai spoke about the main trends and priorities for the development of the modern legal clinical movement in Ukraine. Following that, the members of the Association Board held a Q&A session, answering questions from participants.


Chapter 3. Forum

The substantive part of the Forum started with a discussion of the updated version of the ALCU Charter, Standards of Activities of Legal Clinics of Ukraine and the newly created Regulation on ALCU Advisory Bodies: Board + and the Honourable Council. The Association Executive Director Yuliia Lomzhets told about the key changes in the previously adopted documents and the content of the new regulation, which was developed at the request of the previous Forum of 2018 participants. With special pleasure we listened to the presentations of active legal clinics “Adiutorium” of Chernihiv National Technical University and Academy of Labour, social relations and tourism, whose leaders – Valentyna Lytvynenko and Olena Kravchenko became new members of the Association, and their legal clinics are included in our register.

First block was completed with the presentation of the Association developed identity. ALCU Communications Development Manager Mariia Tsypiashchuk revealed the idea of the updated logo, the structure of the brand book and, in fact, demonstrated the elements of the new infostyle.

Chapter 4. New strand “Protecting the Rights of Financial Services Consumers”

The second block of the program was opened by Tetiana Hryshchenko, Head of the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project Legal Division. Combining the presentation with the online poll, she described how one should protect from financial fraud. Afterwards, participants and guests of the Forum participated in a panel discussion “Practical Aspects of Consulting on Financial Services”, moderated by the Association’s Educational Component Development Manager, Yuliia Matveeva.

First coffee with partners took place during the break, where Oleksandra Nabiieva, communication coordinator of the project “Human Rights Campaign with Docudays UA International Documentary Film Festival Tools”, explained how Docudays UA Film Clubs work and the opportunities they open for legal clinics. In particular, it was emphasized that human rights documentaries could be used as a meaningful and aesthetic tool for legal education, both for the participants in the legal clinics themselves and for target audiences for which they work.


The second block concluded with a substantive discussion on various issues of protection of the financial services consumers’ rights and the prospects of creating an institute of alternative dispute resolution in Ukraine, presented by Tetiana Burak.

As a result of the first day, Andrii Halai presented a new model of legal clinics monitoring 2:0, which provides support for the implementation of expert recommendations. We will illustrate it in more detail in future publications.

Chapter 5. Initiatives for Legal Clinics in Partnership – International and National

Even before the start of the program of the Forum second day, Viktor Kovalskyi – President of the first Ukrainian legal publishing house “Yurincom-Inter” and chief editor of the national legal newspaper “Yurydychnyi Visnyk Ukrainy” (Legal Herald of Ukraine) – informational partners of this Forum – stood before the participants. Mr. Kovalskyi presented the integrated electronic system of legal acts and legal analytics “Activlex” and the newly printed legal advisor, whose co-author is also the representative of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine.


Partnership block began with a panel discussion on the current challenges for legal clinic networks. It was moderated by the Chairman of the Association, Andrii Halai, and invited speakers from the legal clinical communities of Great Britain, Germany and Italy, and Poland – Jonny Hall, Ulrich Stege, Filip Czernicki, Pawel Klimek, as well as a representative of the Association Board, Mykola Udod took part in the discussion. Video of the panel discussion can be viewed here.

After a joint discussion, parallel panels began.

Solicitor, legal consultant, ex-editor of the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education (IJCLE) Johnny Hall spoke about the pedagogical design of the LC curriculum in the UK, Mariia Tsypiashchuk and Pawel Klimek, a lawyer, representative of the Polish Network of Legal Clinics, together presented a new format of Consultation competition in international partnership. This year in Ukraine it is planned to hold the qualifying quarter-final rounds among the desiring teams from legal clinics, and the semi-final and final rounds – in Krakow, simultaneously with the national round for the Polish teams – and then to play several friendly rounds between the Ukrainian and Polish teams.

Further Filip Czernicki, President of the Polish Legal Clinics Foundation, and President of the Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE) and Ulrich Stege (Executive Secretary of the European Network of Legal Clinical Education (ENCLE) spoke about the sustainability and standardization of legal clinics. At the same time, Serhii Burov, Director of Educational Human Rights House in Chernihiv presented opportunities for cooperation between legal clinics and the Human Rights Houses.


After the break, Olena Nemchenko, the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation Administrator of Legal Aid for NGOs and Networking, presented opportunities for cooperation with legal aid providers for the legal clinics within the Pro Bono Space platform, and Nataliia Bimbraite, Chairman of the Legal Development Network NGO Board elaborated on prospects for the functioning of the Legal Space information portal, which is now being transformed into an updated information and analytical joint communication platform for legal aid providers.

At the end of the partnership initiatives presentations, parallel workshops were held: “We erase borders: foreign internship programs for students at the Legal Clinic” by Kateryna Datsko, Head of the V. Hetman KNEU KEI Law Clinic; “The experience of regional cooperation of the Tserkva Legal Clinic in Kyiv region” by Olha Nastina, the head of the legal clinic, which welcomed this Forum.

Kseniia Semyorkina, Coordinator of the Implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy Public Monitoring, Expert of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Andrii Halai spoke about “UHHRU Human Rights Monitoring and Opportunities for Legal Clinics”.


A spontaneous, but very useful addition to these workshops and the second day of the Forum as a whole, was communication with the Education Ombudsman Serhii Horbachov, who voiced the objectives of the newly created structure and also listened to the aspirations of the legal clinics representatives in the context of possible cooperation.

And, in fact, the Forum made it possible to present publicly regional development projects that have won the competition. The session was moderated by Yuliia Lomzets and Olha Nastina, Tetiana Sholkova, Anna Myroniuk, Khrystyna Kovtsun, Yuliia Khmaruk described the project goals and planned activities. This presentation completed the third block of the program.


Chapter 6. Briefly but Accurately

The fourth block “Development of Legal Clinics (Creative Workshops and Interactive sessions)” began with two parallel workshops “Why Legal Clinics are Dwindling and How to Raise Them Up?” from Andrii Halai and “Legal Education as a Branch of Legal Clinics Activity: pro at contra” by Yuliia Matveeva. Serhii Derkach, Anti-Corruption Investigation and Prosecution Expert of EU Anti-Corruption Initiativeб ALCU Expert  expalined how to get together for joint projects and how to seek funding for them and Anna Myroniuk, Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine communication manager assistant held the workshop “Meet by the picture … ” (apps and techniques for eye-catching visualization of posts).

The speakers of the final workshops were Andrii Halai with Interactive session “Coaching Life Hacks: the Five Main Rules of a Coach Teacher” and Mariia Tsypiashchuk – “By a Pen or by Touch – How to Use Modern Media Technology Effectively and Easily”.

Chapter 7. Acknowledgments and Plans for the Future

The Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine team is grateful to the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project for its support, and to the BNAU “Law & Practice” Legal Clinic team – especially its leader Olha Nastina, whose wonderful coordination made the forum participants feel comfortable and implement the program by 120%.

What’s next? – the updated format showed its effectiveness. We tried to do something similar in 2017, when it took place in Chernivtsi. And then it was also interesting and productive. But this year, the level is brand new, as well as the approaches and the participants. More knowledge and understanding of how this development can be ensured and many new ideas for collaboration emerged in discussions with partners, which we will be implementing very soon, and something over time.

We thank everyone who made the ALCU Forum 2019 to hold and we are actively working on!


Publication by: Mariia Tsypiashchuk, Anna Myroniuk

Photo: Victoria Tkachenko, Law and Practice Legal Clinic of Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University

“Legal Clinics are the Whole Galaxy” – Key Issues about ALCU National Forum 2019
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