Russian legal clinics representatives from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod met representatives of German legal clinics and other providers of pro bono legal advice services by students and civil society actors, as well as practicing lawyers from Berlin. The discussion focused on the relevance of legal clinics for the raising of lawyers in Russia and Germany, as well as the potential of the international cooperation for legal clinics and between NGOs and legal clinics and its synergies for socially disadvantaged groups.
The participants of the round table agreed that legal clinics are of great benefit – not only with regard to practical training in legal education and legal assistance to socially disadvantaged groups, but also in view of their contribution to the public discourses, for example through awareness raising activities. Professor Galina Ambrosimova from the Lomonosov Moscow State University added that legal clinics also contribute to a better understanding of “real life” by law students, giving them an insight into initially unknown social milieus, and thus increasing the general tolerance.
However, the potential for cooperation with other actors, such as NGOs, has still not been exploited yet in both countries. One of the reasons is that NGOs shy away from investing time and efforts needed to prepare the students for competent consulting: like many others, they look for a favourable staff immediately, as Christoph König from the Refugee Law Clinic Berlin e.V. explained.
For more information about the cooperation with Law Clinics as part of the Legal Dialogue programme see here.