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Practical Training in Law in the Netherlands: Big Law Model or Clinical Model, and the Call of Public Interest Law

Author(s): Richard J. Wilson

Journal: Utrecht Law Review
ISSN 1871-515X

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 170;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: practical training | public interest law | clinical legal education | legal education | big law | comparative law

This article identifies two models now at work in the Netherlands, models that present potentially competing visions of practical training for law graduates seeking entry into the legal profession. The first is the Law Firm School, a new innovation in 2009, designed and funded by 14 major Amsterdam law firms, firms that make up part of what is often called Big Law. The Law Firm School model is embedded within the traditional apprenticeship training for all lawyers, but is available only to associates of the participating firms. The second model is clinical legal education, which ideally is offered as part of the course of study within the curriculum of formal legal education. The article presents four separate examples of clinical legal education now in operation in the Netherlands. These two models are examined within the broader context of public interest lawyering, a style of law practice common to the United States and almost non-existent in the domestic legal culture of the Netherlands outside of a broad program of legal aid. The further development of clinical legal education responds more fully, it is argued, to the call of public interest practice: the need for training of new lawyers for a legal profession that focuses on the values of justice, fairness and morality in everyday law practice.
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