Experiential legal education; a bridge to society


To prepare students in legal higher education for the changing and variable roles they will fulfil in society, it is essential that they experience applying scientific knowledge in a professional role during their studies. In the United States such ‘experiential legal education’ has existed for quite some time already, with good results. In The Netherlands, however, little has changed in the way law students are trained over the past fifty years. The initiation of the pilot ‘Amsterdam Law Practice’ offers a unique opportunity to investigate how lecturers can use experiential education as a bridge to society, for example in clinics, law labs and simulations. This will be the focus of the proposed research.
In the first study an inventory is made of good practices in universities, universities for applied sciences and in-service training; design principles will be formulated for the design of professional role-play, reflection and assessment in experiential legal education. In the second study teachers of 12 master courses and 4 bachelor courses will develop and apply new forms of role-playing, reflection and assessment. These will subsequently be evaluated in terms of their contribution to students’ professional competences, professional identity, engagement, satisfaction and achievement, and the mechanisms underlying the effects found. Based on the results the initial design principles are elaborated and if necessary revised. The third study evaluates to what extent (different forms of) experiential education contribute(s) to the professional competences, professional identity, engagement, satisfaction, achievement of law students in 22 masters and 4 bachelor programmes (900/200 students).





Prof. dr. M.L.L. Volman

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen, Research Institute of Child Development and Education (CDE)


01/05/2019 tot 28/02/2022