November 6, 2012
Thirteen years ago Ed O’Brien, Street Law’s executive director emeritus and co-founder of Street Law’s first international program, met a young lawyer named Bruce Lasky. Bruce was going to Cambodia and was interested in taking Street Law with him.
Using Street Law’s law school program model and teaching materials as a foundation, Bruce founded Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEA CLE) in 2003. BABSEA CLE is an international access to justice, legal education organization that focuses on ethically oriented legal capacity development and community empowerment.
BABSEA CLE fulfils its mission through the development of regional law school clinics. These clinics are similar to the Street Law law school program model where law students educate the general public about law by teaching lessons at school and community sites. BABSEA CLE also trains law students to provide advice to members of the community in need of legal representation. The organization has established a strong network of participating law schools throughout China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam and is working toward launching programs in Burma.
During summer 2012, Ed O’Brien was given the opportunity to work with BABSEA CLE’s law school programs throughout Southeast Asia as a volunteer teacher. Ed was a member of a team based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and composed of international experts, teachers, law students, law fellows, and translators from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Ed contributed his expertise to the development of training materials for Southeast Asian law professors interested in developing community legal education clinics. He also co-led a two-week training institute for law professors in Vietnam.
(Reproduced with permission)