Legal Empowerment Leadership Course

The movement for legal empowerment is thriving on every continent in the world. But too often, we work alone, without benefit of the advice or feedback of others doing groundbreaking work. Let’s do something about that.

Around the world, more than five billion people are living outside the protection of the law and lack meaningful access to justice. They are unfairly driven from their land, denied essential services, excluded from society, and intimidated by violence.

Legal empowerment seeks to turn this tide. It is about enabling people to understand, use, and shape the law. From at least the 1950s, when community paralegals in South Africa began helping people to navigate and resist apartheid, legal empowerment has grown into a global movement. Today, grassroots legal advocates in the Philippines are helping farmers to take part in nationwide agrarian reforms. In Argentina, shantytown residents are pursuing legal remedies to bring clean water and other essential services to their communities.

The Legal Empowerment Leadership Course is a unique opportunity to take stock of our collective knowledge and build upon it to strengthen a global movement for justice.

This course has been held annually for five years. The aim of the course is to cultivate a global cadre of leaders who are committed to legal empowerment, and who share a common understanding of the field, including history, methodology, and evidence. A faculty of respected practitioners and academics will lead course participants in an in-depth exploration of key themes, including the conceptual framework of legal empowerment, community organizing and social movements, and the role of grassroots legal advocates in realizing systemic change. The participatory course design will also emphasize peer-to-peer learning through small group work.        

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course will be held virtually for the first time. In this pilot virtual course, we will be working with a select group of participants who will engage in collective learning in a two-week online program.