Law Clinic Commentary

 

By Fanta Kaba Jawara, a third-year student and Liason Officer for the UTG Law Clinic.

 

The Law Clinic is one of the main avenues that has increased my interest in the field of law, and has given me the opportunity to transfer the knowledge I have learned in my 2 years of studies at the University of the Gambia to students at Kotu Upper Basic School. This was through one of our projects coordinated by Mr Gray and Professor Tushaus. Under their guidance, we conducted a street law project to teach students about their rights and responsibilities under the law. This included inter alia the right to education, the right to citizenship, the right to respect and dignity, the right to be protected from economic exploitation. These are rights explicitly stipulated in the laws of The Gambia and in our 1997 Constitution.

 

The Law Clinic has also hosted professors from universities in the US, who conducted a session with the members of the Law Clinic on case simulations. This included how to assess, analyse and evaluate the details and facts of the case, what questions to ask, and how to separate the good and bad facts. This session was very interactive, as we had role plays for interviewers and interviewees. We also learnt how to address clients and the sort of advice to give.

 

Presenting during every session in front of colleagues has improved our advocacy and presentation skills. This is vital in the profession of law because as lawyers, one must be able to articulate properly, which is something you learn as a member of the law clinic at the University of The Gambia.

 

It would be very beneficial to the Law Clinic to have more lawyers come on board to guide and mentor the members of the Law Clinic as this would serve as an additional learning experience for the members before fully entering the legal profession. The Law Clinic is a stepping stone for law students as it is an opportunity to learn and experience the art of lawyering before becoming a lawyer.