The EU Clinic is the result of a partnership between New York University School of Law and HEC Paris (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris). By building upon the American law clinic model and adapting it to the specificities of the EU institutional system, it is the first clinic devoted to experimenting with the various channels of participatory democracy existing within the EU. Through lobbying, advocacy, and legal research the EU Clinic promotes democratic, transparent and accountable EU institutions.
The Clinic brings together selected law students from both NYU Law School and HEC Paris and sees them working directly for NGOs operating in the EU policy field. The students are supported by a range of experienced and highly respected academics and practitioners who work with the Clinic on a pro bono basis to advance the goals of the client NGOs.
Students are given the opportunity to play an active and important role in on-going policy processes and advocacy campaigns concerning some of the most pressing issues facing the EU, its 28 Member States and its 500 million inhabitants. In so doing, students help NGOs give voice to the often-underrepresented public interest in the complex supra-national EU policy process.
Like most law clinics, all across the globe, the Clinic pursues two central missions:
- an educational mission and
- a social justice mission.
The educational mission is to expose students to the reality of being a practicing public interest lawyer in the unique context of EU policy-making.
Meanwhile, the social justice mission is threefold, including:
a) to promote participatory democratic practices within the EU institutional framework;
b) to represent the public interest within the EU by supplementing the advocacy capacity of European NGOs; and
c) to promote a culture of collaborative pro bono amongst our American and European students and our growing clinical network of European practitioners and academics.
Beyond these central missions, we also have core learning outcomes or ancillary missions that arise from the context of the Clinic. These include:
Promoting familiarity and comfort with EU law and policy research;
Promoting familiarity and comfort with – and fluency in – multi-jurisdictional and multilingual legal research;
Promoting skills related to communication and relationship management;
Promoting soft skills related to advocacy and communications (e.g. stakeholder mapping, blog writing, communications strategy planning, using social media, drafting advocacy related emails etc.);
Promoting intercultural collaboration and understanding;
Promoting a common sense and creative approach to legal research and writing, rooted in the real world (transcending the universe of legal knowledge and practice); and
Generally equipping students with the array of complementary competencies increasingly required from lawyers, who are expected to act not only as technical experts, but also as wise counsellors, and effective leaders.
Ultimately, we aim to provide our students with skills that will be beneficial to them in international Big Firm practice (where most are headed) and also to introduce them to soft skills and experiences that might broaden their horizons with respect to their concept of legal practice and lawyer roles.
The EU Clinic takes inspiration from a model of public interest law that was first pioneered by Ralph Nader in the 60s and 70s. These public interest lawyers were, unlike their forefathers (such as the NAACP or the NCCL (now Liberty)), less concerned with providing legal services to marginalized populations or representing their interests within the legal system. Rather, they saw themselves as “citizen representatives” (or citizen lobbyists), taking aim at the Kafkaesque inaccessibility and opaqueness of various US governmental bureaucracies and the corporations they were mandated to regulate. The goal was to open up these agencies by enhancing public awareness and promoting the engagement of citizen groups and organizations (e.g. consumer groups) in the decision-making process via lobbying and litigation.
The EU Clinic takes this tried and tested brand of public interest lawyering and updates it for the modern technological age in which public interest lawyering takes place not only in physical courtrooms but in the courtroom of public opinion that constantly unfolds on the internet and in news media.
The EU Clinic also seeks to apply this model of public interest law to the EU institutional and policy context. As as a result of the growing sophistication and complexity of the EU machinery, its attendant intangibility for the average EU citizen, the increasing role played by the EU institutions in regulating various aspects of the daily lives of Europeans and the expansion of well financed lobbying activity within the EU policy process, the EU citizenry are in desperate need of their own “citizen representatives”. This is necessary to ensure that citizens are aware of when and how the EU or EU lobbyists impact on their lives and also to guarantee that citizens have some way to voice their interests in the halls of power in Brussels and Luxembourg.
While citizens often lack the knowledge, organisation and power to make themselves heard within the EU policy process, NGOs often lack the skills and resources to effectively advocate for the interests of their European constituents. Too often policymaking resembles a David and Goliath contest, in which corporate interests hire Goliath and the public interest lies in the hands of David.
Against this background context, the EU Clinic seeks to lessen the gap between the EU institutions on the one hand and the EU public on the other by supporting NGOs to effectively advocate for the public interest in Europe. We believe that this process-oriented vision of justice, which consists in enhancing mechanisms and channels of democratic participation while promoting good legal practices, may ultimately not only encourage active citizen engagement among our students but also promote an active citizenry more broadly. To this end, we rely upon a growing network of pro bono consultants, who share our values and are willing to share their expertise and experience with our students.
The Clinic provides its students with an uncommon perspective on EU lawyering, which is taught as a complex process in which lawyers are called upon to take action in the midst of unbalanced, often polarized, public policy debates, in which not all interests are equally represented. It is against this backdrop that the core focus of the Clinic is on the different avenues enabling citizens not only to gain access to the EU decision-making process but also to ‘lobby for good’ through the analysis, critique and support of legislative and regulatory proposals. For instance, the Clinic has been involved in writing to EU officials, submitting a complaint to the EU Ombudsman, requesting access to documents from the institutions, proposing new initiatives through the launch of European Citizens’ Initiatives, and more.
Taking leave from the institutional context rather than from a particular issue-based vision of social justice, the Clinic engages in various policy areas, ranging from public health to consumer protection, as well as in more horizontal issues, such as institutional openness, judicial transparency, interest representation and open data.
In addition to serving as Executive Director of the EU Clinic, Paige is Head of Brussels Operations at the European public interest law firm Frank Bold, and a visiting lecturer on corporate governance in the Masters of Law programme at the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies.
A qualified attorney, Paige has worked for a number of international and human rights organisations, namely the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, and the Legal Resources Centre (South Africa). She is a graduate of the London School of Economics (LL.M., Chevening Scholar), the University of British Columbia (J.D.) and McGill University (B.A. Hons.).
Alberto is Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law @HEC Paris and @NYU Law. There he researches how policymaking could become more participatory and evidence-based so as to improve people’s life. After more than a decade of scholarship and consultancy, he is ready for a new challenge: lobbying for the public interest.
Lamin is a PHD researcher @EUI. There he researches European public interest law and is a founder of the EUI Law in Action Project. He has been involved in public interest law for the past five years, variously working pro-bono and for INGOs and NGOs. He has previously worked as a commercial lawyer in London, Singapore and Dubai with Herbert Smith Freehills and for the OSCE Office for Human Rights and Democratic Institutions in Warsaw. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Edinburgh. In Fall/Winter 2015 he will be a Fulbright-Schuman scholar at PILnet, NYU and UCLA.
Ana is working towards a PhD in political science at Comenius University in Bratislava, where she is researching citizen’s perceptions of the EU. Apart from her studies, she has spent some time working in marketing, sales, customer service, and has done consulting for small companies and NGOs on their social media and marketing strategies. Ana is passionate about improving EU democracy with applied behavioural and social sciences to better understand and serve citizen’s needs. At eLabEurope, Ana is the go-to marketing strategist, helping us align our visions of citizen lobbying, and making them work for you.
Anne-Lise Sibony teaches European Law at the Université catholique de Louvain since 2015. Anne-Lise read law and economics in Paris (Universities Paris I and Paris II), graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) and holds a Master’s degree in Regulation from the London School of Economics. Anne-Lise wrote her PhD on the judicial use of economic reasoning in EU and French competition law. Her main research interest lies in how scientific knowledge is integrated into the law. At present, she focuses on how insights from psychology and other behavioural sciences could be incorporated into EU consumer law.
Daniel Sarmiento is Professor of EU and Administrative Law at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. Between 2007 and 2015 he was a legal secretary at the European Court of Justice. He currently devotes his research interests to European constitutional affairs, procedural law and fundamental rights. He is also a practising lawyer at Uría Menéndez, Madrid, where he counsels in EU Law.
Laurent Pech is Professor of European Law, Jean Monnet Chair of EU Public Law and Head of the Law and Politics Department at Middlesex University London. Laurent is also external examiner for the Law Society of Ireland and a Visiting Professor of Law at Bordeaux University and Aix-Marseille University. Prior to his appointment at Middlesex University, Laurent was Jean Monnet Lecturer in EU Public Law at the National University of Ireland Galway. During the course of his career, Laurent also worked as a legal consultant or trainer in many post-conflict or EU candidate countries either on behalf of the Council of Europe or in the context of EU-funded assistance programmes.
Charikleia Vlachou is a Lecturer at the Université d’Orléans (France) where she teaches EU law. She wrote her PhD thesis on the cooperation of regulatory authorities in Europe in the fields of electronic communications and energy. She holds a Master 2 recherche in public law (Paris II University), a Postgraduate Diploma in EU competition law (King’s College University of London) and the Diploma of the Academy of European Public Law. Charikleia’s research interests lie in the field of european administrative law, EU competition and energy law.
Dr. Giuseppe Mazziotti is, as of October 2014, Assistant Professor in intellectual property law at the Trinity College Dublin and an Italian attorney specializing in intellectual property law, media law, antitrust law and information technology law. From 2009 to 2011 he was Assistant Professor of intellectual property law at the University of Copenhagen, where he worked also as leader of research projects funded by the EU Commission such as MEDIADEM (media policy-making in EU member states) and LAPSI (legal aspects of public sector information. He is currently Associate Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, where he co-managed the CEPS Digital Forum from August 2012 until December 2013.
Dimitry Kochenov is Professor of EU Constitutional Law at Groningen and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Natolin. His research focuses on citizenship and the principles of EU law, with the emphasis on justice, democracy and the Rule of Law. Prof. Kochenov consulted the government of the Netherlands on the application of EU law in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom in preparation for the constitutional reform which led to the restructuring of the Netherlands Antilles; the government of the Malta on the recent citizenship law reform; and served as an expert/submitted evidence to OCTA, ECOSOC and the House of Lords. He was Emile Noël Fellow at NYU Law; distinguished Clough Fellow at Boston College Law School and a visiting professor in a number of schools worldwide. During the 2015-2016 academic year Dimitry will serve as a Visiting Professor and LAPA Fellow in Residence at Princeton University.
Before joining the University of Liverpool in April 2013, Amandine Garde lectured at King’s College London, at the Faculty of Law in Cambridge – where she was also a Fellow of Selwyn College, at the University of Exeter and at the University of Durham. Amandine’s research interests lie in the fields of EU Trade, Consumer, Advertising, Food and Public Health Law. She specialises more specifically on the role that legal instruments can play in promoting healthier lifestyles, thus contributing to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases at global, regional and national level.
Christina Eckes is associate professor in EU law at the University of Amsterdam and adjunct director of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG). Since 2014 she is one of the research leaders of ACELG’s multiannual research programme Compound Constitutions in Europe. Christina Eckes joined the University of Amsterdam in September 2008. Previously, she was lecturer in EU law at the University of Surrey, UK (2007-2008). She also holds an LL.M (2003) from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, and passed First State Examination in Germany (2002).
Dimitar Dimitrov is a Bulgarian political scientist who currently works as Free Knowledge Ambassador of the Wikimedia Movement to the EU. He is based in Brussels where his major focus is to “fix copyright”. Loves coffee, hates carrot juice and considers Twitter a benign version of the internet.
Scott Crosby practices European law in Brussels. He has a mainstream competition and general EU law practice. He also has a public interest practice which comprises cases dealing with environmental matters, fish stock preservation, globalisation concerns, transparency or freedom of information, minority rights, the persecution of journalists and lawyers in certain authoritarian countries, civil protection or the right to safety, minimum defence rights standards in the EU and such like. He is the Human Rights Officer of the European Criminal Bar Association, Editor-in Chief of the New Journal of European Criminal Law Journal and a board member of Journalismfund.eu, an NGO serving investigative journalists. He takes cases before the EU courts in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Pam Bartlett Quintanilla is a Researcher and Campaigner who has worked with Access Info Europe since February 2010. At Access Info, Pam coordinates our EU Transparency work, which involves research, partner networking and advocacy – as well as managing the online request platform www.AsktheEU.org. Pam coordinates Access Info’s work to open up Company Registers in Europe, with the aim of promoting free public access to these essential datasets. Pam is also engaged in the European Coalition for Corporate Justice and her specialist interests include economic justice and transparency of international organisations and businesses.
Vigjilenca Abazi is a PhD Researcher at the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance and lectures European Law at University of Amsterdam. As a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Vigjilenca conducted her research at Columbia Law School. Upon invitation, she has given presentations and lectures including at Harvard Law School, University of Copenhagen, and Bocconi University. Besides research, Vigjilenca advises journalists on public access to documents requests and has experience as Associate Managing Editor for European Constitutional Law Review and Managing Editor for ACELG blog.
David is a PhD student and a research assistant for the Institute of European Studies @ the University of Deusto. He conducts research on the topic of Accountability of Justice and Home Affairs EU Agencies. He previously received his LL.M. in International and European Public Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Delphine is a student of the Master Programme in International Commercial and Maritime Law at Swansea University. She is also a recent graduate from the Master Programme of the European University Institute, where she pursued research in EU aviation law, publishing articles on the subject. Previously she studied European Law at the University of Maastricht.
Ksenija is a knowledge driven young professional with deep interest in EU policy making and legislation. Her areas of interest are the EU Single Market, Trade, Food Safety, Consumer and Health Protection and Agriculture. She holds two Master degrees in European Studies and European Law and has completed a traineeship at the EU Commission. She is also a contributor at the European Policy Centre (CEP) in Belgrade, dealing with Serbia’s EU accession process.
Rosana’s research focuses on the civil society sector and the interplay between law, policy and behavioral sciences. A recent LL.M. graduate from Harvard Law School, Rosana is an alumna of the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, where she has worked with NGO clients to help promote civic engagement in food policy. Rosana has several years of experience practicing EU & antitrust law; she has studied EU law & economic analysis at the College of Europe (Bruges), as well as law & international relations at Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid (ICADE).
Throughout her career, Irina has worked in the field of human rights in various capacities. Among her employers were OSCE/ODIHR, Scottish Refugee Council and UN Volunteers. Irina studied social policy in developing countries at London School of Economics and international relations at St. Petersburg State University.
Roberto is a student of the Master Programme in European Legal Studies at the University of Hamburg. After obtaining a Degree in International Economics and Communication at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Roberto worked for the DG Communication of the European Parliament in Brussels. He studied and worked in Denmark and Hungary. His interests are project management and new strategies to better communicate the European project.