SPME & AAJLJ Law Deans’ Mission – 2013

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On June 3rd, 2013, the College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, Israel (CLB) hosted a special reception for the deans of U.S. and Israeli law schools as well as the directors of legal clinics in Israel. The event focused on clinical legal education and was part of a 7-day visit to Israel by a group of law school Deans from distinguished U.S. universities. The visit was an initiative of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists ( AAJLI) and Scholars for Peace in the Middle-East (SPME) and supported by the Israel  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aimed at advancing a better understanding of the Israeli reality among U.S. academics and creating an opportunity to forge collaborations with Israeli Law Schools.

The U.S. group included Professors Rachel Fay Moran, Dean of UCLA Law School, Evan H. Caminker, Dean of Michigan Law School, David N. Yellen, Dean of Loyola-Chicago Law School, Gary Myers,  Dean of Missouri Law School, John J. Farmer, Jr., Dean of Rutgers Law School, Linda L. Ammons,  Dean of Widener Law School, and Harold J. Krent, Dean of Chicago Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Professor David Menashri, President of CLB and member of the SPME International Board, greeted the group and emphasized the importance of learning about Israel through visiting the country and talking to Israelis. He thanked the President of SPME, Dr. Richard Cravatts, and  SPME Executive Director, Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, for co-sponsoring the event.  Ms. Alyza Lewin, President of AAJLJ,  spoke about the potential positive impact of connecting the legal communities in the U.S. and Israel.  Among the other greeters were Ms. Irit Kohn, President of IAJLJ Israel, Mr. Eli Bentovim, Chairman of the Executive Board at the CLB, and Mr. Arthur Lenk, Director of the Department of International Law in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Clinical Legal Education has seen a rapid development  in Israeli Law Schools in recent years. Based on the American model, clinical legal education allows students to not only study Law but also practice while at Law School. The model was the topic of a panel discussion moderated by Professor Moshe Cohen Eliya, Dean of CLB Law School, hosting the Deans of Haifa, Bar Ilan and IDC Law Schools in Israel. Professor Cohen Eliya started the discussion by demonstrating the influence of Legal Clinics on social issues in Israel by alluding to a precedent set by CLB’s legal clinics in which the Israeli High Court of Justice  struck down the law privatizing parts of the prison system in Israel.

The discussion moved on to different models of clinical legal education that are currently implemented and the challenges that each model introduces. All speakers put a special emphasis on the educational value of clinical legal training that connects between law and justice and strengthens students’ understanding of access to justice and the rule of law.

Participants also discussed the clinical experience in which law students perform oral arguments before the court.  While some of the U.S. discussants questioned the educational value of a clinical program that does not allow students to argue cases, the Israeli counterparts alluded to complementary components that Israeli students receive while enrolling in legal clinics, including research, data collection, drafting legislation, and writing policy papers.

Dinner with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center

SPME & AAJLJ Law Deans’ Mission – 2013

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