“I decided to study law because I wanted to receive tools to help and influence society. The first time I felt this really happening was when I had the privilege to join the most amazing ‘family’ at the University. As part of my studies at the Clinic, I was exposed to many issues concerning human rights and poverty. The Clinic enriched my legal knowledge, I learned to draft papers and legal letters, and submit court claims — but that wasn’t the main thing I learned. I also gained insight into the bureaucratic difficulties that our clients had to deal with, I learned how to take responsibility for the first time, and of course I got to experience the role of community lawyer, which gave me the taste for more."
Third year Law student
The Clinic for the Representation of Marginalized Population Groups provides free legal aid, consultation and representation to individuals within Jerusalem’s marginalized and socioeconomic peripheral communities. Law students in the program are dispatched to five of the city’s services centers located in Jerusalem’s low-income, underserved neighborhoods. The students provide ongoing assistance under the supervision of two clinical attorneys specializing in social and economic rights.
The Clinic is also active in proposing and advocating for policy reform and change. All students in this Clinic work in pairs, with each couple engaged in offering legal assistance in the field, as well as an activity that involves public education, raising awareness or working for policy change with a wide impact.
In its effort to make the law accessible to poor populations, the Clinic deals with around 200 cases every year and as a direct result, about 1,000,000 NIS are being saved or returned to the clients annually.
Among the Clinic's recent achievements:
- Following an administrative petition by the Clinic, in cooperation with the NGO “Yadid”, single mothers who receive alimony payments from the Social Security Institute, have been declared as eligible for public housing, something they were not entitled to in the past.
- The Clinic's students are giving lectures on how to read and understand a paycheck for low-wage cleaning workers of Ethiopian origin in the Neve Yaakov and Kiryat Menachem neighborhoods.
- The Clinic drafted a position paper on accessibility to social services in East Jerusalem. The information presented in the paper is based on the accumulated work and experience of the Clinic; on data obtained following a freedom of information request filed by the Clinic; and on discussions with professionals and NGOs in the field.