In a conference-filled weekend, I also attended the Annual Conference of the Irish Association of Law Teachers, which was held in the Strand Hotel, Limerick.
I spoke about community-based learning, or ‘service-learning’, which is also known as ‘students learning with communities’.
I run such a project at Dublin Institute of Technology with LL.B and PGDip students. The students provide legal research assistance to a NGO, with the NGO providing the brief to which the students work. In 2010/11 we are proud to work with the Irish Penal Reform Trust, Ireland’s leading non-governmental organisation working for the rights of all those in the penal system, imprisonment as a last resort and on the basis of a commitment to social justice.
Students get an opportunity to put their skills of research into practice, learn about dealing with clients and the responsibilities involved and, hopefully, develop a greater awareness of the ethical dimensions of their work as lawyers and a deepened commitment to civic engagement.
You can read more here: Law Students Learning with Communities