International symposium on ‘Educating Future Lawyers for Just & Sustainable Society’

The Institute of Law, Nirma University in association with South Asia Network for Justice Education (SANJE) organized an international symposium on ‘Educating Future Lawyers for Just & Sustainable Society’, on 8-9 February 2021. The symposium focused on needs for social justice and ‘Justice for All’, the SDG 16. This symposium focused on what can be done and how, so that the law education does not restrict itself to legal service delivery to clients and dependence on judges and courts.

On the first day (8 February 2021), a panel of Prof. (Dr.) Srikrishna Deva Rao, Vice-Chancellor, National Law University, Delhi. Prof. (Dr.) Lisa Radtke Bliss, Associate Dean, Experiential Education and Clinical Programs, Georgia State University, Georgia. Prof. (Dr.) Catherine F. Klein, Director, Columbus Community Legal Services Catholic University, Washington DC.  Prof. (Dr.) M R K Prasad, Professor of Law, V.M. Salgaocar College of Law, University of Panaji, Goa presented their thoughts on role of performing arts for promoting social justice based on their life and work experiences. They linked several aspects of justice education with arts, such as, how arts is able to connect lawyers with community and understand community perspective; stresses for engagement with the marginalized communities and their participation for access to justice, dimensions of social justice, etc. as professionals; how arts can be seen as expressions of communities and could be used for peace building, access to justice, healing of the victims, dealing with the perpetrators and violence, and so on. While reflecting on ‘law as a professional course’, and as a law teacher, the speakers elaborated importance of understanding the ground reality in holistic manner, how inter-disciplinary approaches help in building networking, alliances and collaborations for enhancing the process of justice and sustainable society.

On the second day (9 February 2021), a panel of speakers: Prof. (Dr.) Susan L. Brooks, Associate Dean, Experiential Learning & Clinical Professor, School of Law, Drexel University. Prof. (Dr.) Asha Bajpai, Former Professor and Visiting Faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and Institute of Law, Nirma University. Prof. (Dr.) Sarasu Esther Thomas, Registrar and Professor of Law, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.  Prof. Abhayraj Naik, Advisor, Consultant and Researcher based in Bengaluru; Visiting Faculty at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. presented thoughts on ‘Clinical Legal Education’ (CLE) and its linkages with ‘relational lawyering’, ‘New Education Policy’ (NEP), ‘Education 4.0’, and SDG 16 based on their life and work experiences. The search for best practice standards and interdisciplinary model of CLE, quality assessment tools for CLE, and how NEP and thinking on Education 4.0, i.e., special needs of law education for just and sustainable society. In the “relationship-centered Lawyering”, every lawyer needs three broad areas of competency: (a) understanding theories about the person-in-context, (b) promoting procedural justice, and (c) appreciating interpersonal, cultural, and emotional issues. Education 4.0 stresses needs for ‘teaching law’ with more relevant pedagogies, technological advancement, and development of human capabilities, for example, digital gaming, simulating materials using digital technology.

The symposium was attended by more than 150 participants belonging to different faculties including Law, Education, Arts, Fine Arts, Management, Social Sciences and Humanities, Social Work and others. Prof. (Dr) Purvi Pokhariyal, Director and Dean, Institute of Law thanked all the guest speakers for their insightful thoughts on the theme. Prof. Varsha Ganguly and Prof. Arpit Sharma were the moderators for the event.

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