DLA Piper, Press Release 25 November 2013
New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s nonprofit affiliate dedicated exclusively to global pro bono work, and Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEA CLE) are pleased to announce the completion of the second Myanmar National Clinical Legal Education (CLE) Workshop. The workshop occurred September 27-29, 2013 at the University of Mandalay and included faculty from 17 universities in Myanmar and lawyers from three Mandalay law firms.
Building on the success of the inaugural CLE workshop at the University of Yangon in Myanmar in July 2013, the workshop was organized in furtherance of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project to support the development of CLE in Myanmar. Developed in consultation with Myanmar’s Ministry of Education, the workshop focused on providing practical guidance for university law departments across the country in developing and implementing CLE programs.
“It was an enormous privilege to work alongside legal professionals and researchers from across Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the world to help further apply CLE teaching methods in Myanmar,” said DLA Piper lawyer Michael Gill, who taught a course focused on interviewing and counseling skills, as well as pro bono legal work. “Participants were highly engaged throughout the workshop and very receptive to the benefits of CLE for helping students better apply the law through interactive and experiential learning. The process also helped draw attention to the importance of pro bono work early in a legal career.”
The second workshop focused on the practical requirements and potential hurdles that participants might face in instituting interactive and skills-based legal training into their curricula. Among the key issues discussed were how to establish and operate a legal clinic; the development of community teaching curricula; and instituting evaluation systems to better ensure the needs of specific communities are met. Sessions were facilitated by regional and international CLE experts, pro bono lawyers and researchers from Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the United States and Vietnam.
On the heels of the CLE workshop, BABSEA CLE hosted the second Southeast Asia/Asia Pro Bono Conference and Workshop in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on October 11-12, 2013. The conference explored how pro bono initiatives can strengthen access to justice for communities in Southeast Asia and internationally. To further highlight the concepts discussed during the workshop in Myanmar, BABSEA CLE brought 15 law faculty and 11 law firm/civil society members from Myanmar to the Southeast Asia/Asia Pro Bono Conference in Vietnam.
BABSEA CLE is a not-for-profit organization that has been working in the Southeast/South Asia region for more than 10 years helping universities establish and strengthen CLE programs. Bruce A. Lasky, co-director of BABSEA CLE, said “the success of the second workshop and the passionate support of the subsequent pro bono conference further reinforces the commitment throughout Southeast Asia to utilizing pro bono initiatives and CLE programs to help increase access to justice for underserved populations.”