Drawing parallels: Examining the student experience of skills enhancement in three pro bono clinics in Australia, Chile and South Africa

Francina Cantatore, David Mc Quoid-Mason, Valeska Geldres, Juan Carlos Guajardo-Puga

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


This paper argues that law students face challenges when entering the employment market irrespective of where they reside, and that pro bono teaching clinics can help to alleviate graduate employability concerns. Factors such as increasing competition from their peers, a disconnect between the theory in law courses and the realities of legal practice, and a lack of legal technology knowledge, are problems faced by law graduates globally. These challenges have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which may affect graduate lawyers’ job prospects and graduate skills expectations in the foreseeable future. The significant leap from “student” to “early career lawyer” or “graduate lawyer” requires law schools to be more proactive in incorporating practice-based legal skills. Extra-curricular community engagement has been widely recognised as enhancing graduate employability by combining experiential learning, coursework and community service. In this context, pro bono teaching clinics can provide suitable learning opportunities for law students. This paper focusses on the perceived benefits of experiential learning in pro bono teaching clinics with reference to three case studies of successful law teaching clinics within law faculties in different jurisdictions: an established law clinic in Australia; an established law clinic in South Africa; and an emerging law clinic in Chile. It also examines the impact of employment issues faced in diverse employment landscapes and how law students can increase their workplace readiness by participating in pro bono clinics.


ConferenceGlobal Alliance for Justice Education - International Journal of Clinical Legal Education - Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education Worldwide Online Conference
Abbreviated titleGAJE-IJCLE-ACCLE
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherWe face unprecedented multiple challenges, the most prominent being linked to the ongoing health crisis. The pandemic has changed our day to day lives, breaking down routines and well-established paradigms. It has forced educators and students around the world to rapidly transition from in-person instruction to distance learning, with little time to prepare for this shift.

In the midst of this health crisis we face other severe crises linked to climate change and to economic, social and political instabilities everywhere. The recent past has been characterised by environmental disorder, conflict, displacement, growing economic insecurity and austerity. Increasing social polarisation has meant that contemporary societies are becoming more unequal. These crises threaten to overturn well-established theoretical frameworks, approaches and categories, which also deeply affects education and the production of knowledge. This upheaval both challenges us and presents opportunities for rethinking approaches to education.

Clinical Legal Education and more generally Justice Education, has always demonstrated its potential to confront crucial practical legal problems societies face and to find innovative responses to them. Many of these legal education programs have enhanced social justice worldwide in many different ways, both directly and through the emphasis on socially relevant legal education.

This conference, organised in partnership between the Global Alliance for Justice Education, the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education and the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education, will provide a platform to discuss the current challenges, the extent to which they can be turned into opportunities and practical ways forward. It offers an important forum for connecting with and being inspired by a broad diversity of legal justice educators from all over the world. It provides a unique platform for sharing innovative approaches and research on educational methods promoting students’ engagement, diversity and social justice.
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Drawing parallels: Examining the student experience of skills enhancement in three pro bono clinics in Australia, Chile and South Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this