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Law and Shari’a faculties in Afghanistan now have a critical mass of professors trained in the principles of interactive teaching and experiential education. Many deans and other administrators are keen on the idea of hosting a legal clinic or an innovative educational model. Piloting a clinical program requires a team of junior and senior faculty members who remain in continuous and long-term contact with their peers and practitioners across the nation, and with clinicians in the Global South and North. This should include a partnership with a reputable law school abroad for study, clinical practice and clinic tutorials; assistance from in-country administrative staff; and periodic visits by consultants who offer hands-on technical assistance and critique.

In addition, the legal faculty and university administrators need to nurture clinical education by facilitating changes in policy and practice that spur the development of new curricula, service learning and interdisciplinary and inter-university collaboration and exchange. Many policies and procedures can be plucked from clinics operating elsewhere in Afghanistan, or adapted from those in Central or South(east) Asia or across the globe. As for the actual clients and socio-legal issues to be addressed, data are already available from governmental, non-profit and academic sources. This should allow the start-up clinic to focus on service areas (without reinventing the wheel on documenting the problem) and on modes of advocacy and service delivery.

The temptation to purchase durable goods will be great, whether donor-driven or grantee-generated. Rather than routine acquisition of equipment, furniture and books, the clinic should be much more strategic about ways for students, staff and clients to access information and to access a space for consultation, training and work. An essential but arguably elusive goal for successful clinicians is to maintain a relationship with donors marked by candor and coordination of activities with other funders. Finally, clinical legal education cannot be divorced from the rest of the curriculum. The groundwork should be accomplished through skills-based, interactive education, in moot exercises and competitions, and in clinics, both inside and outside the classroom.


Unpublished paper.