RETHINKING LEGAL EDUCATION IN TIMES OF CRISIS Some Remarks from the Case of the Roma Tre Migration and Citizenship Law Clinic
The article provides a critical understanding of the expansion of clinical legal education in Italy, which have occurred in the last decade, in order to investigate the meaning of the implementation of law clinics in Italian law departments and its role in rethinking legal education methods and practice. In this light, the paper will not deal with the issue of the definition of law clinic, which fuels the debate among clinical scholars. Rather, it will analyse the evolution of clinical legal education through the lens of the concept of ‘crisis’. Intended as a situation in which social processes, actors and forces push for a rethinking of legal knowledge categories and teaching methods, ‘crisis’ will provide a critical analytical framework through which to reflect on the unconventional approach to law and legal education that law clinics foster. In the following sections, the article will build on practical examples from the experience of the Roma Tre Migration and Citizenship Law Clinic to show, on the one hand, how a law clinic can become a relevant actor in promoting access to justice for marginalized people and groups; on the other, how it can carry out activities that – by linking research and social engagement – lead students to develop a critical approach toward law and legal instruments, deepening their understanding of the relation between law and social phenomena.