April 20, 2015
Street Law, Inc. presented its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award to Arkady Gutnikov, director of the St. Petersburg Institute of Law in St. Petersburg, Russia, at its annual Awards Dinner on April 29, 2015, in Washington, DC.
Street Law’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and celebrates individuals who have dedicated their careers to empowering others through education about the law. For two decades Arkady has played an integral role in bringing Street Law programming to law schools and high schools in Russia.
As recent law school graduates, Arkady and his colleague Viktor Pronkin made it their mission to build a law school that incorporated legal clinics into its curriculum to provide law students with experiential learning opportunities that also serve the community. This was an extremely innovative idea in Russia at that time, and theirs was one of the few schools offering a clinical experience to its students.
In 1995, the pair met Street Law, Inc. co-founder Ed O'Brien, who introduced them to the idea of a legal clinic that connects law students with local classrooms to teach high school students about the law.
From 1997 through 2003, Arkady and Viktor partnered with Street Law, Inc. to develop Street Law clinical programs—called Living Law Clinics—at dozens of Russian law schools. They developed a practical textbook for high school students to accompany the program, and they worked with the Russian Ministry of Education to train secondary school teachers all over the country to use the text and Street Law's interactive teaching methods effectively. Arkady was a natural for this student-centered style of teaching and quickly became one of Street Law’s best trainers in the field.
Arkady spent the next decade of his career strengthening the network of practical legal education programs in law schools and high schools. He made it his life’s work to provide young people with opportunities to build trust; enjoy cooperation; and realize their full potential as independent thinkers, problem solvers, and members of civil society.
Arkady has conducted numerous trainings to share his knowledge and experience with law professors, clinical supervisors, high school teachers, attorneys, and human rights activists in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. He has also co-authored several books on the role of the legal profession in teaching practical law.
In 2014, Arkady and Street Law, Inc. joined forces once again. He is currently leading a team of Russian law professors participating in a U.S.-Russia law professor exchange program. This initiative, which Street Law is conducting in partnership with the D.C. Street Law Clinic at Georgetown University Law Center, is working to build and strengthen several law school-based Street Law programs in Russia.
(Reproduced with permission)
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