Inspired by a training method used at US law schools, students of jurisprudence have founded a Law Clinic in Vienna. There they offer free legal advice to NGOs in matters of the asylum and the aliens law and to would-be entrepreneurs in startup matters (corporate law, company law, civil law). While increasing the offer of low threshold legal services, they themselves gain hands-on legal experience and work on techniques like questioning, legal advice to clients, drafting legal documents, representing clients in legal negotiations and court proceedings. Collaborating closely with NGOs and coworking initiatives, it is the cooperation with renowned law firms that ensures quality control.
Vienna Law Clinics
2,000 Euro Prize 2016
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Migration
Project owner: Verein "Vienna Law Clinics - Studentische Rechtsberatung in Wien"
Responsible person: Felix Kernbichler
At university, jurists acquire theoretical knowledge. At the Law Clinic, they can test their knowledge against practice – and be at the same time useful to others. Institutionalised professional support by law firms guarantees the quality of such legal counselling while a contribution to the common good is made. Practical components of teaching law have so far been largely ignored by Austria’s academia. May the University of Vienna innovate and integrate some law clinic-like practical training into its teaching programme. Students of law will then have much more opportunity during training to confront their future social responsibility, and to realise how unequal access to the law is distributed in society.