Student experience in the Human Rights Clinic | Law

Student experience in the Human Rights Clinic

“My semester at the Human Rights Clinic has been my most influential and worthwhile law school experience. In the Clinic, you do not merely learn the law, but work to test and change the law. By working on an actual legal project that involved a United Nations treaty body, my time at the Clinic allowed me to effect positive change for our client. Further, throughout the semester I was assisted in developing my professional skills and was exposed to the practical, ethical and theoretical aspects of human rights advocacy. The Clinic has left an indelible mark on me, and I believe it is a priceless experience for those wanting to pursue a career in human rights or public interest law.”

Caitlin Healey-Nash – Semester 2, 2016


“The Human Rights Clinic was the single most rewarding experience of my university career to date. It challenged my skills in speaking, writing, research and interacting with others and I believe that I came out the other side as an improved student with the ability to communicate with brevity and clarity. It exposed to me to a subject area that I had not engaged with before. It gave me the opportunity to experience what it is like to work on something that I was passionate about and produce a piece of work that was useful, that has value and that I was exceptionally proud of. The Clinic introduced me to some great people with whom I’ve formed lasting friendships but more than that, it provided me two mentors in Samantha and Bassina. The interactions I had with these women, both in and out of class, had a profound impact on me in terms of my confidence in my own abilities and how I think about my future career. I can safely say that the Clinic fundamentally changed the way I view my studies, the world and myself. I believe that in years to come, I will look back on my experience at the Clinic and see it as a pivotal point in my career.”

Georgia McGrath – Semester 2, 2016


"The Human Rights Clinic was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experience at UNSW law school. The tasks I undertook in the Clinic equipped me with practical skills, enhanced my research ability and written work. Additionally, the weekly seminars provided a great space for thought-provoking discussion on real issues with like-minded people. The Clinic is a great start for any law student interested in human rights.”

Ashleigh Condon – Semester 2, 2016


"The Human Rights Clinic provided me with an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and apply my legal training to a complex project. It was both challenging and rewarding to work on a project that impacted real clients. The clinic is an invaluable learning experience for law students of all backgrounds."

Tom Davey – Semester 2, 2016


"It was incredibly satisfying to participate in something that has the capacity to contribute to the advancement of migrant worker rights. The seminars were also immensely enjoyable as they gave me the opportunity to engage in fruitful and stimulating discussions surrounding controversial human rights issues in a way that I have not previously been able to do in other courses."

Natalie Druce – Semester 1, 2015


"I learned how human rights are advanced 'at the coalface', gained valuable legal experience, sharpened my general practice skills and made a real impact, working on real projects for real clients.  The Human Rights Clinic has been a highlight of my time at law school…I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from a group of knowledgeable, passionate and inspiring individuals."

Henry Wells – Semester 1, 2015


“The Human Rights Clinic is a course like no other offered in law school. The Clinic taught me the practical skills needed to succeed in human rights advocacy and at the same time gave me insight into powerful stories that drove me to feel compassion and to appreciate the work of human rights advocates. Most importantly, through the highly interactive Clinic setting, I was provided the opportunity to reflect on and to critique my own thought processes in a way that profoundly broadened by perspective on important issues in our society.” 

Caroline Wang – Semester 1, 2015


"The Clinic was the most challenging, exciting and relevant course I have undertaken throughout my degree. Having the chance to work so closely with five other smart, driven and passionate students on projects that matter was both exhilarating and rewarding. I learnt loads about international human rights law while also building upon my technical, communication and project management skills. Perhaps most importantly, at the end of the semester I walked away from the course having co-written a transnational report on the guardianship of unaccompanied minors in South East Asia, which has now been seen by the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the Australian National Children's Commissioner. I would highly recommend the Clinic to anyone with an interest in human rights and a desire to produce valuable work that doesn't just make it straight from the marker's hands to the waste paper basket."

Max Dalton - Semester 1, 2013


 "The Clinic gave a wonderful hands-on experience in the world of human-rights lawyering, especially the responsibility that comes with the job. I gained valuable skills that allowed me to be a better human rights activist and found a lot of inspiration from the amazing seminars our supervisors organized, as well as from fellow Clinic students. During my time, I had the amazing opportunity to articulate Nepal's obligations under the Convention of Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to its women migrant workers. The brief was carried out in collaboration with a NGO in Nepal. Although it was challenging, I loved that I was able to use the international law framework to enforce human rights."

Maggie Yie-Quach - Semester 2, 2013



I've relished my time at the Human Rights Clinic. We've learned how to use different legal skills to effectively advocate for people who really need advocates. I realised with a small thrill that what I had been doing with a teammate was actually going to matter, and was going to help make a difference in challenging what I consider a serious human rights violation in Australia.”

Michael Brull - Semester 1, 2012


“The Clinic director, Bassina Farbenblum is outstanding. Bassina provides continual feedback and advice as well as constantly pushing her students to produce their best work possible. The Clinic under Bassina's guidance has vastly improved my report writing, advice drafting, advocacy and client-interviewing skills. These skills, although essential to the work of a lawyer, are often under-examined in other areas of a law degree.”
Simon Cooke - Semester 2, 2012


“The Human Rights Clinic is a unique opportunity to make a valuable contribution in fighting serious human rights issues in Australia and around the world. Unlike other law electives, the Clinic offers a huge degree of autonomy that allows you to choose the course of action best suited to your task, in order to make the biggest impact in your field of study. It's an experience you couldn't get anywhere else.”
Stephanie Erian - Semester 1, 2012


“The Human Rights Clinic is a unique, educational experience unlike any other experiential learning course offered at UNSW. I was given the opportunity to apply my legal skills to meaningful projects and in doing so, I learnt first hand the impact human rights lawyering has on individuals and society. The Clinic Director Bassina and the other Clinic students were incredibly supportive and encouraging.”
Persis Eskander - Semester 2, 2012


“The human rights clinic provides a great balance between the practical and theoretical application of the legal tools taught at law school. We are given the same degree of autonomy as would be expected of us in the professional world whilst being given constant feedback from our lecturers in charge. We work in groups of two which enables us to constantly bounce ideas off each other- providing a sense of drive and direction in our projects.”
Jacob Stanley Griffiths - Semester 1, 2012


“The Human Rights Clinic is a rare opportunity in Law School to not only work on real and meaningful legal projects, but to drive those projects with intensive supervision from very experienced practitioners. For anyone considering a career in human rights, social justice or public interest law, the clinic offers invaluable experience and insight into the challenges and rewards of those jobs.”
Emily Johnson - Semester 2, 2012


“The Human Rights Clinic has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my law degree at UNSW. It has also allowed me to significantly develop my legal research and legal writing skills. The projects you work on in the Human Rights Clinic are incredibly interesting and worthwhile. Knowing that your work is contributing to a very important project not only drives you to produce the best work you possibly can but makes the clinic an especially rewarding experience overall.”
Alexandra Lillis - Semester 1, 2012


“We have benefitted hugely from the guidance and feedback of accomplished human rights lawyers supervising the program. This was supported by formal training in practical legal skills- that we can apply in any legal career. We will step into our careers with more confidence and practical skills.” 
Kerry Palmer - Semester 1, 2012


“There is an enormous difference between what you learn in a classroom and what you learn while working at the Clinic. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Clinic is the autonomy I have had in working on my own advocacy project right from the beginning. This process of handling our own human rights project from start to finish is extremely rewarding - within an environment where you get continuous feedback and support on the work you are doing.” 
Anita Wise - Semester 1, 2012