The legal clinics at Haifa Faculty of Law are all designed with a common aspiration: To address injustice in society and create meaningful social change using legal knowledge and tools; To develop in each student diverse skill-sets of legal action and problem solving and to deepen their social sensitivity and their commitment to justice as a part of their professional identities; and to be a research and investigative laboratory of law, bringing new voices and critical perspectives into legal practice and research.
The Legal Clinics at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law are an innovative academic program that engages law students in promoting positive social change through the establishment of legal precedents, legislative change, and advocacy with public authorities. Individual cases are carefully chosen by the Clinics' staff based on potential impact, to either fill a legal vacuum or to advocate for change that will benefit the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, and the disempowered. Through the work of the Legal Clinics, law students are introduced to examples of social injustice and provided with hands-on opportunities for legal intervention.
The diverse nature of the University's faculty and student body allows Jewish and Arab students unique opportunities to collaborate and work with multi-ethnic communities and ensure that various different perspectives and concerns will be taken into consideration when creating social change.
The Center for Law and Social Change is home to eight legal clinics that contend with Israel's most pressing social challenges, each jointly led by a Clinical Director and an Academic Director.
Lawyers hold the keys of access to justice. People who lack legal knowledge and expertise are often denied the realization of their most basic rights. This is one of the great privileges of the profession, but it also entails that lawyers have an ethical and moral duty to the society in which they operate. They have a duty to serve society as a whole, and to contribute to making law accessible to all humans. The clinics aim to instill in the future lawyers a sense of that calling and to shape the way they will act as future lawyers, in whatever career paths they may choose.
The clinics serve as a crucial part of students' legal education, complementing and enriching the students' theoretical study of law with hands-on experiences in interviewing clients, investigating facts, dealing with adversarial parties, working with government agencies, negotiating on behalf of clients, drafting contracts and legislation, and participating in court and administrative proceedings. The clinics also facilitate critical and theoretical reflections on law stemming from these experiences, giving the students a comprehensive educational experience.
The diverse nature of the University of Haifa is expressed in the legal clinics and is seen as an important opportunity to bring students from different social, ethnic, religious and national groups. The clinics are a safe space in which respectful discussion concerning some of the hardest questions of Israeli society can take place, and in which students not only study together, but also collaborate to promote a shared vision for social justice.
All of these make the clinics an extremely significant and stimulating experience for the students, often regarded by them as life altering and as one of the highlights of their studies in the Faculty of Law.
At the Legal Clinics, we believe that law is a powerful social institution, that it is influenced by social norms, by power relations and inequalities, but that it also has a role in shaping them. The legal clinics aim to expose and criticize these power relations, and to devise strategies to use law in order to promote positive social change. Although the clinics operate in very diverse fields of law, the primary aim of all of our clinics is to use law in order to promote social justice and the common good.
Laboratory for Law
The Clinics take advantage of their unique setting within a vibrant academic community at the University of Haifa, and make use of its resources of research and expertise. The advantages of the connection between legal activism and academic research are twofold. First, ensuring research-based activity for effective social change, and second, enabling the knowledge accumulated by the clinics to be processed into academic research and thus made widely accessible to other experts and advocates.