Video Interview with Mykola Sioma on Cooperation and Networking of Legal Clinics

Six legal clinics of the Capital region have joined forces to introduce innovative and effective law education topics for different target audiences on equally relevant legal themes. Since October 2019, the regional project “Strengthening Regional and Cross-Sectoral Cooperation of Legal Clinics of Kyiv Region” has been jointly implemented, including an autonomous initiative “Innovative Teaching Methods in Law Education of Legal Clinics for Secondary School Students” with a reinforced component of tax education.

As part of the implementation of regional projects, the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine continues to cover interviews on the relevance and importance of such initiatives. This time, the director of the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation Mykola Sioma spoke about the importance of cooperation within the organization, the benefits of both the regional project and networking.

– Mykola, please tell us how important it is to establish cooperation between different departments within one organization.

The ability of the organization to work effectively, according to its mission and objectives, directly depends on institutional development, and institutional development directly depends on the created quality work mechanisms and tools. If the organization has an extensive structure, then a clear division of responsibilities and the presence of quality tools for interaction and cooperation are just essential.

– 6 Ukrainian legal clinics are implementing the project “Strengthening Regional and Cross-Sectoral Cooperation of Legal Clinics of Kyiv Region”. In your opinion, how relevant and useful such a project is?

The network of Ukrainian legal clinics includes several dozen organizations. Each legal clinic is effective and sustainable in its procedures and tools. However, when we are talking about the network, as with any other system, questions appear about the quality of internal communication, the quality of redirection, and the effectiveness of joint work analysis.

Therefore, the joint project to strengthen effective cross-sectoral cooperation of legal clinics in Kyiv region is an essential pilot project, given two circumstances:

  • allows looking at the map of the legal needs of citizens from the legal clinics’ perspective;
  • enables other legal aid providers to orientate and organize joint work, taking into account the interests of both clients and providers.

Legal clinics became an independent player in the legal services market long ago, and today, they receive public recognition.

– How important is cooperation with stakeholders? Comment on the importance of creating a Stakeholder Map for the organization.

The solution to any problem is to solve people’s problems. Stakeholders are those affected by the problem; these are the ones who can influence the problem and not always positively. Therefore, if we want to reduce the problem to a controlled dimension, we just need to work with stakeholders.

Legal clinics that are starting to create a Stakeholder Map for sure are on the right track in solving people’s problems.

– In your opinion, what are the advantages of such a form of cooperation as an exchange of experience?

Experience is all we receive with our senses. The experience is useful – for reasons of common sense and pleasant – for reasons of humanity. And human life is a process of gaining experience. Therefore, the benefits of gaining experience and sharing it are apparent.

– Another form of cooperation used by legal clinics is the organization of joint events. How necessary are such measures?

The organization of joint events is the best form of gaining and transferring experience. It is also a tool to strengthen any network. In particular networks of legal clinics.

As the USSR cartoons’ character, Kot Matroskin, put it: “Working together – it unites.”

– Please, list the advantages of cooperation within the organization and its establishment outside with other stakeholders.

For the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation, the quality and success of the tasks is the sufficient work of legal aid providers. In order to assess the quality of others, we ourselves must be effective. Therefore, the Foundation’s team cares both about the quality of internal procedures and communication.

The level of work sufficiency and the usefulness of our work for people depends on the level of institutional development.

* Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation is an organization engaged in the development and spreading of best practices for ensuring equal legal opportunities. It is a platform for synergies between legal aid providers.

The project “Developing Regional Leadership and Establishing a Coordination Model of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine” is implemented by the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine with the financial support of the International Renaissance Foundation.



Video Interview with Mykola Sioma on Cooperation and Networking of Legal Clinics