Abstracts

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: Policy And Legislative Advocacy: Learning Skills And Promoting Access To Justice

Lead Presenter: Guadalupe Barrena

Co-Presenters:

  1. Jose García Añón

Session Abstract: We will explore the tension that can exist between teaching lawyering skills and promoting access to justice working from the experiences the presenters have had teaching in legislative and policy advocacy clinics, and taking into account the needs and expectations of local, state, national and global decision-makers. We will address: Which projects do we select and why? What are our goals and how do we hope/expect that the projects on which we work will meet those goals? How do we ensure that our students develop relevant skills and that the projects provide value-added to the organizations with whom we partner? Policy and Legislative advocacy is probably one of the most influential and relevant ways in which lawyers promote social justice, as well as one of the most valued ways of collaborating with communities and social movements. Teaching a legislative and policy advocacy clinic raises many similar, but also many different, pedagogical challenges from teaching more traditional individual representation (litigation) clinics. A range of factors affect whether a particular advocacy project is appropriate for clinic representation. Some projects allow us to be more helpful to our community partners than others; some engage students more than others; and some are better learning tools than others. The sesión will open identifying the skills most sought or appreciated when engaging in national or international legal work from the perspective of international institutions and decision-makers, such as the European Union; he also will address the possibility of creating collaborations between such institutions and clinical programs, as some clinical programs do in Spain. Jose Garcia Añon and Guadalupe Berrena will respond, describing some of the advocacy projects on which they have worked in their clinics and the factors that have made them good (or less good) vehicles for advancing student learning and achieving social justice. We also will ask session attendees to join in this discussion, sharing their own experiences or posing questions. Next, we will discuss how students can learn the skills identified in the first part of our session in the clinic. We will address classic skills (research, drafting, interviewing, multi-cultural competencies, etc.), others related to values (developing political awareness and values awareness) or psychological skills (maturity, capacity). Finally, we will share some of the actual methods used to teach these skills (e.g., seminars, assignments) and to learn from the session participants from their successes and frustrations when teaching legislative and policy advocacy. Relevant Background: Jose García Añón teaches in the Legal Clinic for Social Justice in the University of Valencia, which is divided into five different clinics: penitentiary, international human rights, migrants, public interest and private interest. They primarily conduct litigation for which they do extensive research and drafting on legislative- and policy-based advocacy. Through these projects they have supported lawyers of NGOs that have achieved favourable results in courts (e.g., the CERMI case about disabled people rights). Guadalupe Barrena runs the legal clinic at the University Human Rights Program, based at the National University in Mexico. The clinic is currently focused on criminal defense, freedom of information in relation to migration control, and legal capacity for persons with disabilities.

Session Material:

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See full list of abstracts here.