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First in Ukraine Street Law FIN $KILLS Festival

Street Law Festival? – Why not?

Street Law Festival on-line? – No problem.

Throughout the 21st to 23rd July 2020 over 150 participants from Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, and USA engaged in substantive discussions, webinars and presentations in the course of the First in Ukraine Innovative Festival of Practical Law Fin $kills. The event was held by the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine backed by the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project and was dedicated to protect rights of consumers of financial services and to financial awareness.

While opening the Festival, Yuliia Lomzhets, Head of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine told about implementation of Street Law in Ukraine: 

“The festival is the result of a long way made by the Association since the first attempts to launch Street Law in Ukraine. Nowadays, legal clinics hold over 2,000 law literacy events annually, most of which do use Street Law techniques. Along these years we have accumulated significant expertise potential in terms of arrangement of law literacy classes of high quality and interest which was implemented in competitive works of the Festival. The fact that the Festival engaged prominent Street Law experts from various countries is evidence of our relevant and necessary work”, – Yuliia Lomzhets emphasized.

Street Law technique, its significance and features were explained by the member of the Association Board Mariia Tsypiashchuk. For example, the term “Street Law” in the Ukrainian language means, mainly, “practical law”, and it gets practical as complicated structures and rules are explained in simple language, with examples and through situations of life that help you see how provisions of law are applied in real life, i.e., to apply this law in practice.

Street Law means a special approach to teaching the law in simple and understandable terms by using interactive techniques and tools. As a rule, schoolchildren represent a target audience of Street Law programs. The program was presented for the first time in the 70s of last century in the United States of America, however, in Ukraine, the legal clinics have been giving classes in Street Law for over 20 years. The Street Law training is determined to be one of the leading and secured in the Standards for Legal Clinics of Ukraine”, – Mariia Tsypiashchuk said.

The Street Law Festival became part of the events of the Association’s Street Law Interactive Law Literacy Program within the Ukrainian School of Practical Knowledge on Access to Justice, the co-founder of which is the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine.

The key part of the Festival was presentation of works by the finalists – representatives of legal clinics of Ukraine who participated in the contest for development of law literacy materials. Participants submitted their works in three nominations:

  • Interactive class in Street Law technique (mandatory contest category)
  • Visualised law literacy (information visualization, leaflets, posters, etc.)
  • Law literacy video outreach (movie or animated film)

In total, 12 legal clinics submitted their works. Among them, 11 legal clinics presented interactive classes, 8 – visualised law literacy products (20 law literacy materials), and 4 – video outreaches. All materials are available at lending of the Festival by link: https://finskills.com.ua/

Works on the topic of protection of consumer rights in financial services and financial awareness were assessed by the professional contest jury as follows:

  • Maryna Kuligina, Senior Communication Specialist of the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project
  • Yurii Sverba,  Government Expert of the Justice-Conterminous Expert Group of Legal Institutions of the Justice and Criminal Law Directorate at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine
  • Kateryna Yeroshenko, Secretary in Charge at the Ukrainian School of Practical Knowledge on Access to Justice, Program Coordinator at the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation
  • Andrii Galai, Doctor of Law Sciences, Professor, Member of the Board of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine
  • Mariia Tsypiashchuk, Teacher, Coach on Human and Voting Rights, Lawyer, Human Rights Campaigner, Member of the Board of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine.

According to the assessment outcomes, winners of the financial awareness contest in three nominations are:

  • In The Interactive Class in Street Law nomination

1st place: Legal Clinic of the State University of Economics and Technologies

2nd place: School of Law Legal Clinic at the Ukrainian Catholic University

3rd place: Ex aequo et bono Legal Clinic of Admiral Makarov’s National University of Shipbuilding

  • In The Visualised Law Literacy nomination

1st place: School of Law Legal Clinic at the Ukrainian Catholic University

2nd place: Legal Clinic of the State University of Economics and Technologies

3rd place: Legal Clinic of the University of Customs Affairs and Finances

  • In The Law Literacy Video Outreach nomination

1st place: School of Law Legal Clinic at the Ukrainian Catholic University

2nd place: Dovira Legal Clinic at Sumy National Agrarian University

3rd place: Ex aequo et bono Legal Clinic of Admiral Makarov’s National University of Shipbuilding

4th place: Adiutoriumat Legal Clinic of Chernihiv National Technological University

“Protection of consumer rights in financial services and financial awareness is a pretty hard topic for lawyer’s perception. It seems to be the economics domain. However, the involvement in the Association’s law literacy project has changed a little our attitude to the topic. We are grateful for the interesting interactive classes and professional advice of communication experts in development of high-quality law literacy materials, experience gained and a sea of emotions, as we had opportunity to hold our webinar and participate in the webinars of other teams. We are incredibly thankful to the jury for high expert assessment of our works. This is motivating for further work and development, both personal and of our legal clinic”, – members of the team from the State University of Economics and Technologies commented.

Furthermore, the participants could vote for the contest works which they liked most and nominate the teams for the Audience Choice Award.

According to the organizers, all contest works will be adopted and further used during the Street Law classes.  Some works were presented by the legal clinics immediately at the Festival. In particular, the following webinars in financial awareness were simultaneously carried out within the Fin Skills School:

  • “Financial Life Hacks: How You Can Accumulate Your Dream” by the legal clinic of the State University of Economics and Technologies
  • “Financial Awareness for Schoolchildren” by the School of Law Legal Clinic at the Ukrainian Catholic University
  • “Counterfeit Money in Ukraine: How to Distinguish and Verify?” by the legal clinic of the State University of Management
  • “Family Budget. Incomes and Expenses of a Family” by the legal clinic of the University of State Fiscal Service of Ukraine
  • Modern Manifestations of Fraudulent Schemes: What is Hidden by Social Media Networks?” by Ex aequo et bono Legal Clinic of Admiral Makarov’s National University of Shipbuilding

Besides reviewing the contest works, the participants of the Festival took part in interesting and practical sessions, namely:

  • Review of interactive solutions of the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project was made by Tetiana Burak, Senior Adviser on Protection of Financial Service Consumers at the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project
  • Explanation about Interpretation. How a State Lawyer Can Write in Simple and Understandable Language by Andrii Galai, Head of the Strategic Analysis Board on Corruption Prevention at the National Agency on Corruption Prevention
  • Life hacks on how to make video outreaches and information visualization were shared by Olena Sabo, Communication Coordinator at the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine
  • What should be kept in mind when developing a Street Law interactive class? This question was answered by Delaine Swenson, Professor of Law at the Catholic University of Lublin, Director of the Centre for Advancing Legal Skills (Poland, USA)
  • Remote education technologies by Olha Berrshadska, Educational Coach, Head of the Centre for Ensuring High-Quality Education at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
  • Training on strategic communication for students and schoolchildren was held by Maryna Govorukhina, Expert on Strategic Communication

The last but not least part of the Festival was Street Law International Platform in the course of which foreign speakers from Georgia and Poland talked about experience of and prospects for implementation of the practical law techniques in the legal clinics of their countries. A real discovery was to engage colleagues from the U.S. Street Law organization (Street Law, Inc.), the largest similar organization in the world. Its representatives not just told about their experience but provided an opportunity to the festival’s participants to take part in a short class on practical law.  In particular, the session included exchange in expertise and consisted of four presentations:

  • Expert Potential of Legal Clinics in Street Law. The Program of the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine within the Ukrainian School of Practical Knowledge was presented by Yuliia Lomzhets, Head of the Association
  • Street Law in Practice in Georgia by Anna Gudadze, Project Coordinator of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at The Human Rights Georgia
  • Street Law practices in Poland and its effect on the society and law students were provided by Filip Czernicki, President of the Polish Legal Clinics Foundation
  • What a Good Citizen Believes in, Knows and Does, Jennifer Whatley, Street Law, Inc. Chief Program Officer and Ben Perdue,Street Law, Inc. Director of International Programs explored together with the participants.

A wonderful bonus to the program of the first two days of the Festival appeared to be evening showings and discussions of the documentary films about human rights from Docudays UA Film Club Collection: Web Junkie (directed by Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia, Israel&USA, 2014) and Blossom With Tears (directed by Huaqing Jin, China, 2012).

Besides the competitive and training programs of the Festival, organizers arranged a good few entertainment for the participants: morning workouts, games, quizzes, and interesting contests. Students of the School of Law Legal Clinic at the Ukrainian Catholic University, Viola Martyniuk and Valeriia Vatseba presented the author’s game, You and Finances: Who Will Win?, and the organizers prepared the Kahoot quizz, What Do You Know About Street Law.

Additionally, on the day before the Festival the participants were informed of the following contests:

  • Be Capable of Saving: TOP of the Most Ridiculous Purchases
  • The Most Interesting Facts About Street Law
  • Decoding a Slogan (Legal clinics are undoubted way to Valhalla)

The winners received cool gifts – branded portable speakers, eco-bags and other useful souvenirs from the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine.

In the end, Kateryna Datsko, Coordinator of Fin $kills Festival denoted the main achievements of the Festival:

  • We have discovered again talented clinicians who are willing to develop their soft and hard skills regardless the lockdown, holidays or vacations. This is your personal involvement which is pledge of success and advantage to others. I am grateful to each participant of the competition for their liability and creativity in solving the tasks set.
  • We have done a great job of law literacy on the topic of financial services for the Festival’s participants and developed the best ever methodological solutions to be applied in and become a highlight of the financial awareness classes in school.
  • We have verified that students, schoolchildren, communities and organizations that provide law literacy both nationally and internationally are interested in Street Law. Hence, we have taken the right course and further on – straight ahead towards development of individual expert potential of Street Law in Ukraine.

“This Fest is a novel product and an up-to-date form of Street Law activities of the Ukrainian legal clinic network. We made bold to take up tough and organizational challenges that we have never dealt with. And successfully overcame them. The Festival was meaty, driving and full of fun. This is an illustration to the thesis: we look for ways of doing but not excuses to failure”, – Andrii Galai, Association’s Member of the Board added.

The Festival was made possible through the support of the United States Agency for International Development within the grant provided by the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project.

Media partners for the event are: Docudays UA Film Club Network for media literacy in human rights, Kunsht Popular Science Magazine, Education House of Human Rights in Chernihiv and School as a Territory of Human Rights Program, Vostok SOS Charitable Organization, Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation, Charitable Organization, Pro Bono Space, and Coordination Centre for Free Legal Aid Provision.

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