More than fifty years after the first post-colonial Southeast Asian regional conference on legal education, commentators and educators do not necessarily agree on the appropriate curricular balance between theory, doctrine, and practice, or what role the government should play in directing the orientation of legal studies and careers in Indonesia’s law schools. The author argues in favor of legal education that is rich in experiential learning and integrates the involvement of practitioners and doctrinal faculty. This objective may be a relatively new reality in Indonesia, but also one that needs revitalization in other Southeast Asian nations and beyond. This article lays out the contemporary debate in Indonesia over the composition and direction of legal education, asserting that consistent with best practices, learning practical skills in analysis, advocacy, and professionalism — including clinical methods — should be integrated into the program. Moreover, Indonesia’s recently adopted Legal Aid Law presents an opportunity for students and staff at publicly funded law schools to become more actively involved in delivering legal assistance to the indigent. If faculties are not sufficiently resourced, they should more effectively employ lawyers and judges in an adjunct capacity, particularly in a practicum or other co-teaching model. Finally, the author argues that the State should play a guiding role in developing a cadre of social-justice lawyers.
23 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y J. 395 (2014).