Community legal care (CLC) activities of Symbiosis Law School (SLS) in and around the city in collaboration with Community Legal Resource Network (CLRN), CUNY School of Law, USA, has been identified as a significant project for achieving inclusion and development by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a recent publication titled ‘Envisioning Empowerment’.
“The work of providing legal aid to the underprivileged through CLC has brought credit to CUNY School of Law, and institutes in other countries also want to work on this model. UNDP has listed this collaboration as an imperative project that needs funding,” said CLRN Director Frederick P Rooney on Monday.
Rooney is in the city along with New York Judge Justice Fern Fisher as part of a conference on ‘Access to justice and legal education’ organised on Saturday.
CUNY School of Law’s CLRN trains lawyers to serve the marginalised sections of the society and address their legal needs.
Using this model, the CLC project was started by SLS in 2008 by setting up a legal aid centre in Pirangut village to provide legal advice to villagers.
A Symbiosis Centre for Legal Care was also started under this project.
“Around two hundred cases have been solved in Pirangut village through alternate dispute resolutions, and students have worked on legal awareness, socio-legal surveys, made available library resources in Marathi, worked with various NGOs and participated in the Lok Adalats,” said Symbiosis Law School director Shashikala Gurpur.
“We have taken the best practices from CUNY to strengthen the legal system and make our students caring lawyers, as against being caught in the mire of corporate law,” she added.
At present, students from SLS go to CUNY on an exchange programme, and the two law schools are also planning a joint programme for CUNY students to come here.