Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education during periods of disruption: Challenges and opportunities

Mandy Lee Shircore, Francesca Bartlett, Francina Cantatore, Rachael M Field

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch

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Student pro bono activities and law clinics have traditionally relied on face-to-face, point in time modes of service delivery. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the need for conventional student pro bono legal services and clinical legal education programs to be adaptive to disruptive influences. While many legal service providers were quick to pivot to new modes of service delivery, the challenge for legal academics and clinicians was how to successfully adapt student programs in a way that would continue to assist these organisations in a time of crises, whilst maintaining an optimal student experience.
This paper considers the challenges faced by two university pro bono and CLE programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, how they were addressed, and the lessons learned. It looks at technology and innovation in service delivery and how pro bono student services and CLE programs can enhance student digital literacy, a skill considered essential for the 21st century lawyer. It also reflects upon the value students placed on being able to continue these ‘real’ experiences during periods of enforced isolation and the positive impact this appeared to have on student wellness.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022
Event2022 Professional Legal Education Conference: LawTech, Newlaw and NetZero: Preparing for an Uncertain Future - Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 28 Sept 202230 Sept 2022 (Conference Program)


Conference2022 Professional Legal Education Conference
Abbreviated titleCPLE Conference
CityGold Coast
OtherEmergent technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital robotics, new business models, and the impacts of climate change will transform the profession, transform its community interactions, and change the way we practise and teach law.

As legal professionals and legal educators, how do we prepare for this uncertain future and provide our stakeholders with the tools to navigate change? What new models for the delivery of legal services and education will best help us, our students and our communities navigate change? What can the legal profession do differently in response to a vastly different and rapidly changing world?

The CPLE and Actium.AI Pty Ltd jointly hosted this conference to provide the answers to these and other questions, exploring our place in an unknowable future.

Thought leaders shared new perspectives on:

- Practical legal skills training
- Law student and lawyer wellness and resilience
- Legal technology and ethics
- New legal technologies including AI and Robotic Process Automation
- Legal education and legal tech training
- Future methods of legal services delivery
- Legal technology and compliance obligations
- ESG, law and legal practice
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