Professor David McQuoid-Mason (second left) with Advocate Asha Ramgobin (third left) and Deans of Law from Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Professor David McQuoid-Mason of UKZN’s Law School gave two interactive presentations at a Clinical Legal Education Conference, in Harare, Zimbabwe.
McQuoid-Mason was invited to present the keynote address to delegates from Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa at the Conference hosted by the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe.
The other presenter at the Conference was Advocate Asha Ramgobin, a former Director of the UKZN Campus Clinic, and now Executive Director of the Human Rights Development Initiative in Pretoria.
McQuoid-Mason’s first interactive presentation dealt with “Establishing and Managing law clinics”, during which he dealt with the different types of clinics; overcoming resistance to the establishment of law clinics; the skills, knowledge and experience required of law clinic staff; recruiting students for the clinic; obtaining credit for student work in the clinic; management of the clinic; and how law students, law staff, the universities, clients and potential employers all benefit from a university law clinic and clinical legal education programme.
During the course of his presentation, McQuoid-Mason used what he terms: ‘The Violinist-Technique’, and is based on the award-winning movie in which the Director presents cinema viewers with a blank screen so that they can ponder what might happen before showing them the next scene.
McQuoid-Mason exposed the delegates to a blank PowerPoint screen with just the topic heading, and invited them to reflect on their experiences of the topic in their own countries, before giving them his experience which was largely based on his founding of the UKZN Law Clinic.
It was interesting to discover that even though the UKZN Law Clinic was established in 1973, many of the challenges experienced then are still relevant to the present experiences of most of the delegates from the countries outside South Africa.
McQuoid-Mason’s second presentation was on: “Community Engagement through Street Law”, which included a definition of Street Law; the objectives of Street Law; its historical background; the teaching methods and materials used in it; types of work done by Street Law students; how it can be integrated into the law curriculum; the community service component of Street Law; Social Justice and Street Law; and Street Law beyond South Africa.
McQuoid-Mason again used his ‘The Violinist-Technique’ which evoked a lively discussion from the delegates and many of them indicated that they would like to introduce such programmes in their countries.