New pro bono centre at NUS law faculty to boost chances for students to learn craft, support community

The new centre brings together the work of the NUS Pro Bono Office and the faculty's clinical legal education programmes, said NUS.
The new centre brings together the work of the NUS Pro Bono Office and the faculty's clinical legal education programmes, said NUS.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - A new Centre for Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education was launched by the National University of Singapore's (NUS) law faculty on Tuesday morning (Oct 31).

This centre will host an expanded range of pro bono and clinical legal education for students in the faculty.

At the launch, which was held at the faculty in Bukit Timah, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah said that such a centre will increase the "quality and quantity of opportunities for NUS law students to learn their craft and advance the law, while supporting the community they live and work in".

The new centre brings together the work of the NUS Pro Bono Office and the faculty's clinical legal education programmes, said NUS.

It will develop best practices and provide a platform for NUS law students to be exposed to the challenges of real-world practice.

One such programme that is currently being managed by the Centre is the State Courts - NUS Clerkship Programme, which started in August.

It gives students the opportunity to learn about criminal procedure and community justice issues from a judicial perspective, through the process of assisting top State Court judges in their work.

At the 60th anniversary gala of the NUS law faculty earlier in October, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon called for NUS to identify more chances for students to take part in pro bono activities, and urged the faculty to consider other ways to entrench a focus on service.

This can be done by reviewing the admissions process to the faculty to consider a record of voluntary work, or diversity of life experiences, he had said.

On average, NUS law students clock 48 pro bono hours by their second year, more than twice the minimum requirement of 20 pro bono hours in the second year.

NUS law faculty dean Simon Chesterman said: "This new centre will widen and deepen the opportunities for our students to see the law in action. Such experiences will (not only) help make our graduates better lawyers, but also teach them that the value of a lawyer is best measured in people helped rather than hours billed."