USC Rule of Law Collaborative Conducts Workshop in Moldova to Strengthen Legal Clinical Education

A clinical legal education professor from Balti University Legal Clinic explains how educational reformers in Moldova are working to persuade university administrators of the value that practical skills training brings to law schools.






The University of South Carolina’s Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC) conducted a workshop from December 1-2nd in the Republic of Moldova. This workshop was designed to help Moldovan legal clinics network with other domestic and international clinics, to share and learn from each other’s experiences including best practices and future goals, and to increase their sustainability by learning to identify and respond to potential funding opportunities from international donor organizations. This workshop concludes a two-part series of workshops conducted by ROLC for this group of Moldovan legal clinics. Both workshops, the first of which was held in February 2022, focused on practical skills including teaching methodologies, alternative dispute resolution techniques, and client counseling. ROLC is conducting the Moldovan legal clinical support program on behalf of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, who is in turn implementing a Moldovan-focused grant funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (US-INL.)

To ensure that the legal clinics got the most out of the workshop, ROLC held brainstorming sessions with the participants in advance to discuss useful topics and logistics. As a result, the December workshop centered on subjects that were immediately relevant to the practical needs of the clinics. Networking among legal clinics within Moldova, for example, has become especially important given the large number of Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in need of legal aid. At the conclusion of the workshop, the Moldova State University legal clinic faculty stated that they would take the initiative to start networking efforts by hosting a website for legal clinics in Moldova to share information and keep each other updated on developments in their respective areas of practice and geographical focus.

The workshop also included discussions about how to better integrate the clinics into the university administrative frameworks. Legal clinics in Moldova vary in the degree and nature of attachment to their associated universities, from being fully integrated into the university to operating more as an independent NGO. This workshop represented another step by Moldovan legal clinics to make progress towards the growing international trend of viewing practical skills development as a critical component of higher legal education.

In addition to ROLC staff members Scott Ciment and Asma Peracha, Professor Delaine Swensen, Director of the Center for Advancing Legal Skills at the Catholic University of Lublin, and Professor Ulrich Stege, the Executive Director of the European Clinical Legal Education Network and Director of the International University College of Turin, Italy Clinical Legal Education program also gave presentations.