The third edition of the EU Public Interest Clinic kicked off on January 7th. This joint program between NYU School of Law and HEC Paris was created in January 2014 by Professor Alberto Alemanno.
This innovative program provides students coming from the US and Europe with a unique chance to gain a first-hand understanding of the European decision-making and acquire global fluency.
According to Professor Alberto Alemanno, the creation of the EU Clinic does not only offer a unique experiential learning opportunity but also guarantees the pursuit of social justice. In his own words, it is invaluable to “ensure that students get experience that instils in them a sense of social responsibility and commitment of their role as a lawyer and the importance of them as lawyers in contributing to the public interest in society.” In his view, “the clinic promotes the public interest within the European Union as it ensures that underrepresented interests, such as environmental and consumer protection, are equally represented in the policy processes”.
Structured into two parts, the program includes:
- A seminar taught by Alberto Alemanno on EU Law and public policy that focuses on the various participatory channels available to citizens. The idea is not only to help citizens gain access to the decision-making process in the EU, but also to analyze and support regulatory proposals in fields as diverse as consumer protection, public health, open government and data protection.
- A fieldwork component, during which students work on projects provided by NGOs involved in EU law advocacy. Each project are carried out by the students under the supervision of Alberto Alemanno, Lamin Khadar (Executive director of the clinic) as well as leading experts in the relevant fields of law or policy.
The fieldwork element of the clinic provides an excellent networking opportunity for young lawyers planning to work in the European offices of international firms. This is all the more true for those who take pro bono seriously as an important part of legal practice.
This year, HEC students are working for the following NGOs: WWF, Transparency International EU and Amnesty International EU. In the past, the Clinic advised Wikipedia, AccessInfoEurope, as well as BEUC, representing EU consumers. According to Lamin Khadar, the purpose of the fieldwork is to construct a clinic with “a sort of networked advocacy where many different actors pull their knowledge and resources together to try to produce an end product for the NGO client which will hopefully have some impact, either through sharpening their advocacy or giving them an edge or insight in their work.”
Students praise for the program
Benjamin Abraham Fellous (DMI 2016) is delighted to have been selected to the EU Clinic. He particularly wished to join the program to deepen his knowledge of European Union law and to be able to work together with American students who have some very different legal understandings. Benjamin hopes to improve his drafting writing and legal thinking.
As for Jade Relmy (GE MBL 2016), she seeks to gain exposure to the practice of Public Interest law. She explained, “I think law is important not only for businesses. Due to its multi-disciplinary nature, it is everywhere and should be understood at every level”. She added, “as I wish to pursue a career in competition law, which is mainly dealt with at EU level, the clinic will enable me to discover more about the EU and its institutions and the way they work”.