Legal Clinic

"Legal clinic" is a legal education methodology that results from the idea that faculties of law should provide direct services to society. This education and social responsibility policy emerged at US law schools in the 1960s. The primary objective at that time was to protect the rights of black Americans who were denied the power offered by law, in a society characterized by racial discrimination. The main idea underlying a legal clinic is to support those sections of society that have limited access to law, by giving them the opportunity to benefit from legal services in solving their real-life problems and complying with formalities.

Clinical legal education aims to improve access to legal services by allowing students to apply their legal knowledge to real-life disputes. This is not an attorney-client relationship but a free-of-charge information service supervised by the relevant faculty members, and aims to share legal knowledge, and apply it using appropriate channels. More mature versions available around the world also allow the student to offer litigation services within an attorney-client relationship.

Applied Legal Clinic and Legal Clinic in Daily Life are the first examples of clinical classes at BİLGİ Faculty of Law. In “Applied Legal Clinic”, students meet with people who have limited access to attorneys and legal information and provide them legal support. The "Legal Clinic in Daily Life" aims to provide, in accordance with the permission of the Ministry of Justice, legal information to the inmates of certain prisons in Istanbul (Bakırköy, Maltepe, Ümraniye) which may be beneficial both in and outside of prison. In 2005, the Legal Clinic in Daily Life program was given the "Good Educational Practice" award by Sabancı University's Educational Reform Initiative and has become the leading model of clinical practices that are currently carried out at the universities in Turkey.

With the social and technological developments, the scope of legal clinic classes that are offered to students have extended in time. The idea of community service that underlines legal clinic now continues with the practices held in courses such as Women's Access to Justice, Applied Law Clinic: Cyber Rights, Startup Law and International Trade Lab. Women’s Access to Justice focuses on women with no knowledge about the legal ways and procedures they can apply to protect their rights, who have difficulty in accessing justice and receiving proper legal information; and aims to inform and guide them with respect to these matters. Applied Law Clinic: Cyber Rights revolves mainly around the topic of freedom ef expression which is among internet related fundamental rights and freedoms and enables students to contribute to disadvantaged groups’ access to legal services. Startup Law, on the other hand, aims to serve to the needs that have arised due the fast increase of startups in today’s world and allows students to come together with entrepreneurs and provide them legal assistance in relevant fields. Finally, in the project-based International Trade Lab course, which focuses on international economic law, particularly international trade and investment law, students participate in a seminar and work on a project on behalf of a developing country government, an international organization, an NGO or an SME under the supervision of the relevant faculty members and with expert mentors throughout the semester.