Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: Carrot Or Stick? Compulsory Pro Bono In Law School Clinics

Lead Presenter: Rebecca MacKenzie


  1. Kerry Trewern

Session Abstract: This long-debated issue has prompted support for and against compulsory clinic work in law schools. Supporters of compulsory programmes argue that it is every lawyer’s professional responsibility to provide pro bono services; that lawyers owe a duty to ensure access to justice and what better place to start than in the classroom. It is a “win-win” situation. Students gain invaluable practical experience and develop a life-long commitment to delivering pro bono services while ensuring that legal services reach those who are underrepresented in the community. Others disagree and consider that all pro bono work should be voluntary. Students should be allowed to choose if and when they wish to become involved during their time at university (and beyond). To “force” students to participate in clinic breeds discontent and may result in poor service. The Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre was established as a voluntary clinic in 2007 by and for postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DipPLP) students and remains a mostly student-led service. For the past three years, it has formed an integral and compulsory element of the DipPLP Professional Skills and Responsibility course, a core course which is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland. Rebecca MacKenzie is the Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies (ECPLS) within the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh. She is also the Director of the Free Legal Advice Centre housed within the ECPLS. In this session, Rebecca will share her experience of running and sustaining a compulsory pro bono clinic and encourage debate on the issues raised.

Session Material:

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See full list of abstracts here.