Taking Clinical Legal Education
from Classrooms to Streets:
A Practical Perspective to
Solving Social Problems
Cosmos Nike Nwedu1
Whenever the discourse of clinical legal education (CLE) ascends, the likely injudicious assumption
that may come to one’s mind, especially of a layman is that, it concerns only classroom or clinically
confined pedagogy marked by simulations; in-house law student learning activities that end up with their
regular experiences of the learning processes. However, CLE in reality, beyond parochial thinking is a
socio-legal justice tool for addressing motley challenges of humanity particularly those that confront
poverty-stricken and vulnerable citizens who are always undid from equal opportunities and access to
the court system. Thus, this article argues that CLE transcends what goes on in typical classrooms or
law clinics. The article explores different realistic clinical legal education justice initiatives (CLEJIs) that
university and law school students can work with in fostering social justice in a wider societal context.
To achieve this purpose, the article considers a rethink of the concept of CLE to capture its historical
rationales against definitional setback offered by some authors. It further highlights some critical issues
indispensable for the sustainability of CLE initiatives around the world. While the argument of this
study draws upon existing findings, it presents new ideas achieved through synthesis of thinking in a
qualitatively analytical perspective.
Nowadays, clinical legal education (CLE) is assuming a greater height of phenomenal growth and
importance in university curriculums across the world. A considerable number of universities and law
schools have begun to incorporate law clinics not just as an essentially approved aspect of their legal
education,1 or as a course of study that involves different approaches of learning,2 but also as a practical
mechanism for providing unmatched pedagogy to law students, which at the same time focuses on
1 William Pincus, clinical legal education for laW students 467 (1980); Richard J. Wilson, Training for Justice: The Global
Reach of Clinical Legal Education, 22 Penn st. int’l l. rev. 421 (2003–2004).
2 Mark Spiegel, Theory and Practice in Legal Education: An Essay on Clinical Education, 34 UCLA L. rev. 577 (1987).
Asian Journal of Legal Education
© 2018 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Cosmos Nike Nwedu, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI),
Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
1 Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Nigeria.