Claudia Man-yiu Tam (LLB 2019)
International Journal of Clinical Legal Education
2020, Volume 27, Issue 1
Abstract: As law schools in Hong Kong begin to integrate experiential learning into their educational models, clinical legal education (CLE) has symbiotically gained traction as an effective way for students to apply their legal knowledge in a skills-based and client-centered environment. This empirical study is the first of its kind to evaluate the impacts of CLE at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) over the past ten years, by analyzing the survey responses provided by 125 law students regarding their attitudes towards and experiences of CLE. The article traces the birth and development of CLE at HKU, turning first to its theoretical basis to make the case for its importance, and placing emphasis on the ability of CLE’s teaching-service pedagogy to alleviate the public interest law deficit and supplement passive learning as an engaging instructional method in the Hong Kong context. The survey results are then discussed in light of the doctrinal analysis to illustrate that clinic and non-clinic students alike are generally satisfied that HKU’s CLE program has achieved its skills, cognitive, and civic aims, and notably, that clinic students had a statistically significant higher intention to participate in pro bono work after graduation than non-clinic students or students engaged in volunteering.