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Journal of Legal Education

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All around the globe, legal educators, law students, consumers of legal services and others in the legal community are debating reforms to legal education, prompted by external demands on the profession, the need for law graduates to be competent in rapidly developing areas of law, and changes in practice due to globalization and technology. The drum beat for change is familiar by now in the United States, with a renewed interest in curricular reform that seeks to balance teaching students foundational legal knowledge with important lawyering skills and professional values. In Asia, in particular, globalization, economic growth and development, funding and structural changes to both governmental and legal education systems, and the influence of international aid organizations have all contributed to rapid changes in legal education. These changes have included increased attention to clinical legal education, which has long been recognized as a critical pedagogy that prepares students to serve clients. Clinics and other methods of experiential education can help students develop basic lawyering skills while also cultivating their appreciation for lawyers' responsibilities as citizens and their obligation to enhance the administration of justice, globally and locally. * As a clinical legal educator, my professional focus is to help students develop knowledge, skills and values so they can become competent, ethical lawyers. I do that through my work in an inter-professional medical-legal partnership clinic. In the summer of 2012, I went to Thailand at the invitation of a non-governmental organization based in Chiang Mai, Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative. I was assigned to work at Mae Fah Luang School of Law in Chiang Rai province to mentor law faculty in developing a clinical and social justice curriculum and to help incorporate experiential and interactive learning into the law classroom. My experience as a visiting clinical professor at Mae Fah Luang, and what I learned through my collaboration with the Bridges NGO and its efforts to transform legal education in the region, form the basis for the observations I share in this paper.


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Recommended Citation

Lisa Bliss, Lessons Learned from Teaching Clinical Legal Education in Thailand, 63 J. Legal Educ. 524 (2014).