Legal Aid, Public Service and Clinical Legal Education: Future Directions from India and the United States

In this article, the legal aid traditions and broader public service agendas of clinical legal education in both countries are explored. These sections are followed by a comparison of the legal aid and public service components of the clinical curriculum in the two countries. It is observed that while clinical programs in the United States have tended to shift their focus away from legal aid and public service goals to broader academic and educational goals consistent with the integration of clinical legal education into the law school mainstream, clinical programs in India have remained firmly rooted in and closely tied to the legal aid movement. The article concludes with an assessment of the potential value of a similar shift in focus for clinical legal education in India and some questions about whether the price paid for the shift in the United States can be justified in either country.