Legal Education Reform & Civic Education Background

Through our Legal Education Reform and Civic Education programs, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works to improve both legal education within formal university settings and to broaden the public’s understanding of the law’s role in the lives of individual citizens. The program’s primary objective is to improve the quality of legal and judicial education for students, professors and practitioners alike.

Currently, ABA ROLI concentrates its legal education reform efforts in the following areas:

Practice-based teaching methodologies

Over the last two decades, ABA ROLI has been among the world’s leading promoters of practice-based legal education and has experienced considerable success in this endeavor. ABA ROLI supports clinical legal education by establishing legal clinics within higher education institutions around the globe. We also encourage the adoption of other practice-based teaching methodologies, including mock trials, client counseling competitions and other skill-building activities.

Public education

ABA ROLI seeks to create a more robust rule of law culture by educating citizens about their rights under domestic and international laws. Our public education program is premised on the notion that, to avail themselves of legal services, citizens must know their rights and how to enforce them. Through our public outreach campaigns, we seek to increase citizen awareness on a variety of legal issues. Primarily, we focus our efforts on sponsoring civic education programs, developing public service announcements and distributing know-your-right brochures to the general public.

Law school curriculum reform

In many parts of the world, the next generation of judges, prosecutors and lawyers are being shaped by a legal education system that is in dire need of reform. ABA ROLI subscribes to the belief that changing the mindset of future legal professionals is one of the surest ways to usher in legal reforms. Our work with universities includes recommending curriculum improvements, developing courses and assisting with the integration of practical skills training into legal education.

Institutional support for legal education bodies

ABA ROLI is committed to providing institutional capacity-building assistance to promote long-term stability. Our efforts to improve the quality of legal education and to engage law students and professors include developing teaching materials, introducing interactive teaching methodologies and devising accreditation standards for higher education institutions. In addition to partnering with universities, ABA ROLI publishes and releases in-depth educational assessments, which employ rigorous analysis to comprehensively evaluate legal education in a given country.