About Clinical Legal Education (CLE)

“Mentoring students to develop professional ethics and practical skills for tomorrow that help marginalized communities today.”


1. What is Clinical Legal Education?
2. Why Clinical Legal Education?
The Problem
The CLE Solution
3. CLE: A Sustainable Solution
4. CLE: Promoting a Pro Bono Ethic


What is Clinical Legal Education?

Clinical legal education is a progressive educational ideology and pedagogy that is most often implemented through university programs. Clinics are interactive, hands-on classrooms that promote learning by doing.

Historically, CLE developed in the United States as part of an explicit social justice agenda and primarily in response to a lack of legal services for the poor.

Today, CLE programs offer classroom simulation lessons based on real-life cases and/or clinic experience involving interaction with real clients. CLE programs are conducted under the supervision of experienced law clinicians and legal practitioners.

CLE students also engage in a variety of community outreach programs including women’s groups, support groups for people living with HIV, juvenile detention centers, community centers and other institutions. There, they teach classes that are designed to help people understand and access their legal rights and services. Areas of teaching often include: the rights of stateless persons; criminal law; family law; consumer protection law; land law; housing rights law; HIV/AIDs and the law; healthcare rights; prisoners’ rights; juvenile justice; employment and labor law; and basic life and other skills.

Why Clinical Legal Education?

“Clinical Legal Education (CLE) programs provide pro bono services to the community while educating the next generation of social justice, pro bono champions.”

The Problem

Clinical Legal Education (CLE) provides an effective and sustainable solution to the two-fold problem that impedes and hinders access to justice in Southeast Asia.

1. Marginalized and disadvantaged groups often lack the legal knowledge, understanding or financial means to access the law and their rights.  The result is a sense of injustice throughout societies in which a growing rift divides those with financial and legal means, and those without.

2. In Southeast Asia, the traditional method of teaching law does little to make students aware of challenges to social justice and access to justice  and it does not produce law graduates with the legal skills, knowledge and values required to solve them.


The CLE Solution

CLE educates people on their legal rights and how to access them, serves the needs of the community, and provides pro bono services to the disadvantaged.

CLE builds bridges between law schools, civil society, government, non-governmental organizations and communities that would otherwise not have access to legal assistance.

CLE fosters professional ethics and teaches students practical skills for tomorrow, while helping marginalized communities today.

CLE: A Sustainable Solution

CLE offers a sustainable solution to access to justice issues in Southeast Asia and globally.

CLE provides pro bono services and legal education to communities that would not otherwise have access to legal assistance.

CLE helps to build a socially responsible and pro-bono minded legal profession.

CLE partners work together and become a part of an active, collaborative network focused on sharing resources, experiences and assisting each other in overcoming obstacles to social justice. This cross-border network of pro-bono minded advocates broadens the impact and assures the sustainability of the CLE solution to access to justice issues. Indeed, many legal issues and challenges faced by the marginalized, vulnerable and needy are not limited to the confines of a nation-state’s boundaries.


CLE: Promoting a Pro Bono Ethic

BABSEACLE helps to educate future lawyers in the spirit of public service within their respective communities and promotes the value of providing pro bono legal services. Many of these legal advocates then go on to pursue an active role in the advancement of justice and the rule of law in their countries.

In addition, BABSEACLE advocates for a pro bono ethic in the legal profession by organizing and supporting regional events for lawyers, academics, students, policy makers and representatives from non-governmental organizations to develop pro bono initiatives that strengthen access to justice throughout Southeast Asia.