For five Suffolk Law students, a monthlong summer excursion to the northern coast of Israel proved an eye-opening experience, as they participated in an exchange program with the University of Haifa.
The program, now in the middle of its second year, invites four students from the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa to spend six weeks interning at the Suffolk University law clinics; five Suffolk Law students then spend four to five weeks in clinical internship positions through the Haifa curriculum. The exchange program is believed to be the first of its kind in either country.
"There are many benefits to the students of this program," says Professor William Berman, who started and helped develop the exchange. "Students are able to compare methods of clinical legal education and add their unique perspective to the discourse on important legal and social issues."
This past summer, Suffolk students gained hands-on legal experience working on housing issues, gender equality issues, and Arab minority rights. The students also took time out to travel to Jerusalem, where they observed arguments before the Israeli Supreme Court and the Knesset (Parliament) in session. They also toured the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
David Slott, JD '08 spent the three weeks working with local students, professionals, and community leaders to establish the Ethiopian Women's Community Center in Kiryat Yam, a suburb of Haifa. He describes the experience as "exceptional" and sees many similarities between his own law education and those of his University of Haifa counterparts.
"The relative size and youth of the Israeli state facilitate progressive social change," he says. "There, students are taught to use the law, advocacy, and creativity to bring about positive social change for both individuals and larger demographics. Given the history of public interest advocacy at Suffolk Law, the same can be said for the students at our school."
ALUMNI PROFILESLance D. Clarke