PILnet and the School of Law at Fordham University are launching the fourth round of the Asia Regional Course on Public Interest Lawyering for lawyers and representatives of NGOs in Asia. This 5-week, online course aims to create a channel for early career public interest-minded lawyers to gain experience and an international perspective on public interest lawyering, as well as to create a platform for network building.
The course takes place over 5 weeks (about 3 hours per week) from March 4 to April 5, 2024.
We aim to inform applicants as to whether they have been selected no later than February 10, 2024.
Junior lawyers, recent law graduates and NGO representatives interested in public interest law are welcome to apply to join the course. Applicants with a legal background and familiarity with public interest law in Asia will be given preference. We also welcome applications from refugees and others with lived experience of displacement.
The program will accept 50 participants. The course is free of charge.
The Regional Course on Public Interest Lawyering consists of 5 interactive and interconnected sessions, which include sections of self-paced learning and live webinars/discussions with expert speakers.
The course participants can access theory, video presentations, resources, and quizzes related to each session the week before the live session on that topic. Participants will be expected to complete the self-paced portion of the session before joining the live discussion. Live sessions/discussions will be held for five consecutive weeks, one day per week. Each live session will last 2 hours.
The course is divided into the following five thematic sessions:
- Access to Justice is a foundational concept for the way public interest lawyers think about their societies. This is because the problem of unmet legal needs means that law is not working for everyone and, as a result, that the legal systems may be treating some people unfairly or favoring the interests of some at the expense of others. Recognizing the problem is the first step for public interest lawyers in thinking of ways to address it.
- Pro Bono Publico calls to mind the responsibility of the legal profession in helping to address the unmet legal needs of society by acting for the public good. For the privilege of being able to practice law, all lawyers have a duty to help ensure that the legal system is not just serving the interests of paying clients. How far this duty goes and what it means in practice is viewed differently in various societies, and it is often in competition, or even conflict, with the commercial practice of law.
- Legal Empowerment addresses unmet legal needs by using low cost methods, like paralegals. Unlike litigation, which seeks to remedy problems after the fact, legal empowerment seeks to anticipate future problems by providing timely targeted advice that can prevent or mitigate potential harm. Whether this approach can be used strategically to effect broader change, is not yet well established.
- Strategic Litigation involves selecting and litigating key cases that have the potential to effect change beyond the interests of a specific client. Perhaps because the express premise of this strategy is that some cases can have an impact that serves the public interest, it has become the best known form of public interest lawyering. But it is not the only or necessarily the best approach.
- New Directions? Informed by social science research and new capabilities afforded by technology, some public interest lawyers are finding new ways to think about addressing the unmet legal needs in their societies.
Access to Justice
5-7 p.m. HKT. Resources available from March 4, 2024.
Pro Bono Publico
5-7 p.m. HKT. Resources available from March 11, 2024.
5-7 p.m. HKT. Resources available from March 18, 2024.
5-7 p.m. HKT. Resources available from March 25, 2024
New Directions in Public Interest Lawyering
5-7 p.m. HKT. Resources available from April 1, 2024.