Catholic University law school Professors Catherine Klein (above left) and Leah Wortham (above right) traveled to the Czech Republic and Poland this month as featured presenters on the latest developments in the teaching of clinical law programs.
The two colleagues gave a keynote address on setting and implementing goals for clinical programs at a conference, “Complex Law Teaching: Knowledge, Skills and Values” hosted by the law faculty of Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic from Sept. 9-12. They also conducted a workshop on the sustainability of clinical programs. The conference was part of the Lifelong Learning in Law Project at Palacky University funded by the European Union and the Czech Ministry of Education.
From there, the professors traveled to Poland the next day to give a presentation on “Ethics Teaching in Legal Clinics.” Their lecture was part of a larger conference on “Development and New Trends in Legal Education,” which took place in Szczecin and Swinoujscie, Poland, from Sept. 13-16. They were joined by Professor Malgorzata Król of the University of Lodz, author of the first Polish text on teaching legal ethics.
The conference was a joint event with an annual meeting of the Polish law school deans. It marked the tenth anniversary of the Polish Legal Clinics Foundation as well as a regional meeting of the Global Alliance for Justice Education. Participants represented 18 countries. Professor Wortham spoke to a joint session with the law deans on “The Theory of Clinical Education.”
Klein and Wortham were also recognized for their work, commencing in 1996, in helping Jagiellonian University to establish the first clinical law program in Poland, which served as a model for establishment of clinics throughout Central and Eastern Europe and for civil law countries in other parts of the world. Clinics now exist in almost all law schools in Poland. In 2010-11, Polish law school clinics worked on 12,786 cases with 1994 students and 224 teachers participating.
At the Czech Republic conference, CUA Law alumna Dianne Piché, (Class of 1985, at left) senior counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, chaired a panel on Integration of Human Rights into Legal Education. During that session, she shared her many years of experience in civil rights and educational equity, including her recent experience as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Special Counsel at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.