ACCLE Past, Present, and Future: Reflections from ACCLE's Board Presidents

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Journal of Law and Social Policy



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clinic law; poverty law; ACCLE; Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education; legal education; clinical legal education

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Over the years since its inception, the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE) has benefitted from the dedication of presidents who have volunteered their time to promote and advance the aims of the organization. From a nascent association, which sought to bring together individuals working in clinical legal education programs, ACCLE has grown to be a significant voice in the debates about the future of legal education and on access to justice. Its annual conferences continue to create connections among faculty, clinic directors, clinicians, clinic students, and others to learn from one another and benefit from shared experience. ACCLE has contributed to various policy discussions, including those regarding student participation in family law representation, national conversations about the future of articling, and most recently the debates regarding the Bill C-75 amendments to the Criminal Code and access to re1presentation in criminal matters. In order to document the history and progression of the organization, the three presidents who have taken on this role over the last ten years agreed to be interviewed about their perspectives.2 In this interview, the three presidents reflect on the past, present, and future of ACCLE. What was the impetus for ACCLE’s formation? What were some of the organization’s early struggles? What role has ACCLE played in the development of clinical legal education over the past ten years, a time during which a sea change has taken hold in clinical legal education in Canada? What are the future challenges facing ACCLE and what is its potential to meaningfully impact the development of clinical legal education more generally?