WHAT IS A LEGAL CLINIC?
The legal clinics are academic activities which are emerging at the universities and offer an alternative to the education in Law, combining this one with legal assistance in cases of social interest.
Several fundamental aspects that summarize the academic-social aspects of the legal clinics:
– Possibility to study Law throughout practical cases
– They facilitate the application of the gained theoretical knowledge and other essential tools for the training of professionals, such as active listening, problem analysis, trial strategy tools, etc.
– They also serve as an instrument to identify regulatory gaps in the law application related to the protection of fundamental rights
– Create an environment to identify new areas of research and legal innovation.
– They integrate the Law students in a society full of problems and inequalities, strengthening in that way, the social responsibility and the ethics in the legal profession
– Because they are raising the awareness for human rights protection in the poorest sectors; promoting a human rights culture and they contribute to the improvement of the public agendas for democratisation in the regions where they operate.
In conclusion, the legal clinics are giving solutions to social issues and respond to issues of general interest related to the protection of the human rights and/or respond to legal inquiries of some specific disadvantaged groups.
WITH WHAT LEGAL CLINIC DO WE WORK AT FERNANDO POMBO FOUNDATION?
The Fernando Pombo Foundation together with the International University of La Rioja (UNIR) have created the first on-line legal clinic in Spain. Real legal cases proposed by social organizations working with vulnerable groups are analyzed, studied and solved by law students, with the guidance and support of the Fernando Pombo Foundation. Since the creation of the clinic in 2013 over 40 cases have been solved. The aim of this initiative is to generate positive social impact on the social organizations and/or disadvantaged groups involved.
Thus, students, from those in the beginnings (first year of studies) to those in the ending years (postgraduate studies), learn to practice law while studying and offering a service to the community.
Among others, most important reports developed in the legal clinic as follows:
The first “Legal report on Aporophobia: deadly hatred towards the poors” for RAIS Foundation (the Spanish major Foundation working with homeless population).
- Psychological Violence and Difficulties of Proof in Gender-Based Violence Cases report.
- Report on “Labor inclusion of persons with disabilities” for the Spanish Rare Diseases Federation (FEDER) that includes innovative legislative proposals;
Legal reports in defending the rights of patients: (i) to the Spanish Thyroid Cancer Association by the “Access to pharmacological treatments approved by the European Medicines Agency” and the “Referral of patients between regions to access reference centers” reports, and (ii) for FEDER by the “Educational inclusion of children with rare diseases” and the “Right to diagnosis” reports in line with the pilot plan to improve the genetic diagnosis of the Ministry of Health.
2) The Fernando Pombo Foundation works closely with others legal clinics such as Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (ICADE), Universidad de Alcalá de Henares , IE University and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
Report Unaccompanied Minor Migrants. Age determination.
We have produced a report in collaboration with Fundación Raíces and directed by Mr. Marcelo Belgrano, manager of the Migration Area of the Madrid Bar Association, in the UNIR- Fernando Pombo Foundation Legal Clinic. The report analyzes the most significant legal matters regarding the determination of the unaccompanied minor migrants and, especially, the eventual violations that take place during the proceeding.
The Fernando Pombo Foundation collaborates with the legal clinic of Universidad de Alcalá
Even though its existence is relatively new in our country, it is now more and more common to read news and articles about the social impact and the academic importance of legal clinics. A legal clinic is an innovative teaching methodology used by universities and business schools that combines teaching with the provision of services to cases of public interest.
We have a lot of examples of legal clinics in Spain, but we highlight the Legal Clinic of the Law Faculty of the Universidad de Alcalá as one of the most important ones. The Fernando Pombo Foundation collaborates with this clinic since 2015. Both entities have organized a workshop in order to analyze four of the most relevant cases studied in this clinic over the past year.
The workshop consisted of an oral exposition of the case made by students to a tribunal composed by 4 experienced lawyers that collaborate with the Foundation. The tribunal’s objective was to provide a practical point of view of the approaches and solutions given by the students. We must highlight the diversity and significance of the analyzed cases, all of them real and live.
We now summarize the discussed cases: (i) legal analysis of the case of a person suffering an severe illness and that does not know if he can ask for a partial disability or a reduced schedule for his job, (ii) limits and rights regarding private or public health provision; (iii) change of treatment of a patient without informed consent; and (iv) the salvation of a pension plan due to severe illness of the spouse.
The members of the tribunal were: Ana Higuera, attorney and coordinator of the Pro Bono Channel of the Fernando Pombo Foundation; Miguel Ángel García Otero and Ana López Muiña, collaborators of the Foundation and lawyers at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo; and Ricardo Peña Granados, attorney at Peña Ochoa & Granados Lawyers and also frequent collaborator of the Foundation.
Both entities will keep collaborating to carry out new legal initiatives that contribute to the development of the social side of the future’s legal profession.
Lawyers committed to refugees
We participate in a practical workshop conveyed by UNHCR, which is part of the initiative Refugee Street Law of ICADE’s Legal Clinic. The objective of the workshop – in which we have collaborated since its start – is to create a legal-technical network of lawyers to help in asylum or refuge situations.
UNIR-Fernando Pombo Foundation Legal Clinic collaboted with FEDER on strengthening the rights of rare diseases patients
The International University of La Rioja (UNIR) together with Fernando Pombo Foundation, through their Legal Clinic, have drafted two important legal reports: “Educational inclusion of children with rare diseases” and “Right to Diagnosis” both for the Spanish Diseases Rares Federation (FEDER).
In the President of FEDER –Juan Carrión- words: “This is a key initiative that strengthens FEDER advocacy area, providing also new tools and accurate legal knowledge so that FEDER can add value to the service it provides to rare diseases patients and their families”.
“Street Law Refugees” initiative
The Fernando Pombo Foundation has collaborated with the Legal Clinic of the University of Comillas (ICADE), organizing a training seminar on the Asylum Right and Refugees Spanish legal framework, consisting on three three-hour-long sessions between October and December 2015.
This training constitutes the starting point for a “Street Law Refugees” initiative prior to the arrival of refugees to Spain and the legal support that will be needed. The initiative seeks to create a legal support network to guide social organizations, social services, parishes or individuals requesting Asylum rights. The methodology for the initiative is through working teams, made up of students and lawyers that will act as tutors.
The Foundation has provided legal training through an experienced and reputed lawyer. Mr. Marcelo Belgrano, Migration Coordinator for the Madrid Bar Association.
Six lawyers of Gómez-Acebo & Pombo and Fernando Pombo Foundation members have participated in the training program.
University of Alcala de Henares (UAH) Legal Clinic working session
On June 19, 2015, the Foundation organized a working session at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo premises, in which law students from the University of Alcala de Henares (UAH) had the opportunity to present their legal clinic´s works to a Jury for their evaluation. The Fernando Pombo Foundation’s role as jury member facilitated the explanation of the cases.
The UAH legal clinic analyzes cases in connection with associations and/or non-profit organizations specially focused on the following areas: AIDS; Disabilities; Immigration; Access to Medical Treatments; and Human Rights and all the above respective rights.
First Meeting of students of the Legal Clinic UNIR-the Fernando Pombo Foundation
On Monday March 31st, the first meeting of students of first semester of the Legal Clinic of UNIR- the Fernando Pombo Foundation took place. In this event, held online, over 50 students as well as Valle Sallés, general manager of Juegaterapia; Chus de la Fuente, director of institutional relations of Entreculturas; Adriana Pascual and Alejandro Pérez, coordinators of the legal clinic of UNIR; and Carmen Pombo and Rafael Merino, general manager and project manager of the Fernando Pombo Foundation respectively took part.
The goal of the meeting was to create a common place in which students, beneficiaries and coordinators could share experiences and balance their first semester in the legal clinic.
LEGAL CLINIC IE UNIVERSITY-THE FERNANDO POMBO FOUNDATION
The first meeting between students and beneficiaries of the Legal Clinic IE University in collaboration with the Fernando Pombo Foundation took place on April 7th 2014. The two cases presented in this clinic were the following:
-To create a standard document to those NGOs analyzed by the Lealtad Foundation so they could invoke the cookies policy established by the Spanish Data Protection Agency.
-“Professional code of conduct of lawyers vs. duty to assist clients in the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”
The students of the IE University ascribed to the clinics and led by Professor Letai and Professor de Elizalde took part in the event. Mª Eugenia Larrégola from Lealtad Foundation and Carmen Pombo from the Fernando Pombo Foundation were also present.
LEGAL CLINIC: ASSOCIANTION OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES
Fernando Pombo Foundation jointly with the University Carlos III of Madrid have created an Academic Legal Clinic in order to provide free legal assistance to the Association of people affected by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (SFC-SQM Madrid). This project is implemented through the following activities:
– Support in obtaining the certificate for recognition, declaration and classification of the level of disease or disability that is issued by the Ministry of Health.
– Support in obtaining the right to be accompanied at the moment of the health inspection at the General Directorate for Social Security (health inspection that determines the labor capacity of the person)
– Assistance in obtaining disability card to CFS patients in the Community of Madrid
After several months of work, the closing ceremony took place on November 21, with diplomas given to Carlos III University students who took part in this legal clinic and with the presentation of a “Legal report regarding the questions posed by the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) Association of Madrid” and the “Action Guide for the Recognition of Disability of CFS and MCS Sufferers”.