AUN Hosts African Clinical Legal Education Colloquium 

AUN Hosts African Clinical Legal Education Colloquium 

AUN through its School of Law hosted the second NULAI African Clinical Legal Education Colloquium.

The three-day conference was held in collaboration with the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA), West Africa Chapter, and the Foundation for Social Justice for All (FOSOJA).

NULAI is the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions established in 2003 to promote clinical legal education as well as enhance legal aid and access to justice.

There were 22 participating institutions for the event that had in attendance the Chief of Staff to the Executive Governor of Adamawa State, Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN), and the Attorney-General, Ministry of Justice, Adamawa State, Hon. Afraimu K. Jingi.

Declaring the event open, President Dekle said the University is honored to host the conference. She remarked that the colloquium is bringing together experts who will present ideas and debate cutting-edge current topics in clinical legal education. "...and it continues the NULAI community's proud tradition of being thought leaders in clinical legal education."

Interim Dean Professor Peter Ocheme told the gathering that in compliance with President Dekle's directives, the School of Law had freed its various facilities for the effective and successful hosting of the colloquium. "This is one of the great things to happen to our relatively young School of Law."

The theme of the conference was 'Advancing Excellence in Legal Education'.

Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, Professor Muhammadou Kah, said the theme of this colloquium resonates very well with AUN. He spoke of the unique features of the AUN unique Law program one of which is the foundation which is grounded in liberal arts education within the context of Nigeria's legal education. This, the Provost said, was particularly challenging because, in the American system of higher education, an undergraduate degree is a requirement to study law.

"We can marry the two traditions here. We have taken the best of both worlds, engaged our colleagues in the legal education ecosystem in Nigeria and ensured compliance with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Council of Legal Education requirements and their standards that established our very unique undergraduate degree law program that recently got accredited by the NUC."

Since the Fall of 2016 when the University admitted its inaugural class of law students, the desire has been not just to train lawyers theoretically but also to expose them to practice through the clinical legal facilities such as the law clinic and the moot court.

"We continue to drive rigor, excellence, pragmatism, learning engagements infused with liberal arts education and depth in our curriculum and preparation of our students... Through engagement with their peers beyond our School of Law, we subject our students to internal, regional and international moot court competition from their early days as law students here."

At AUN, lawyers are being trained to make a difference.

"And we continue to pride ourselves in their growth and achievement as critical thinkers, problem solvers equipped with modern tools of the legal profession, learning engagement that stimulates, real-life cases that they will be expected to confront when they graduate from our law program."

President of NULAI Nigeria, Ernest Ojukwu (SAN), said the seminar was an opportunity to transform the lives of participants.

"The transformation of education is really about transforming ourselves; not the theories…You can't transform anything around you unless you transform yourself."

As for Prof Maxwell Gidado, the conference is one of the best things that could happen to AUN. This is one of the many reasons why he believes that the students are very well prepared for the Nigerian Law School education and the world.

"As the consultant who assisted with the setting of the AUN School Law, I knew very well that, with the kind of background we were trying to set for the law students, if that is complemented with such programs like this clinical legal education, we will be bringing up well-rounded graduates."

Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa