American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat convened with BİLGİ Law students and delivered a presentation called “Advice to Law Students for the 21st Century”, within the frame of the long standing institutional relations and cooperation between American Bar Association and İstanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Law.
Silkenat, the first person in his family to attend college, indicated that more than 400,000 lawyers in the United States are registered as members of the American Bar Association. However, he highlighted that legal education has to change in order to keep up with the changes in the profession. Silkenat said that theoretical legal education does not provide students with real-life experience and thus, causes them hardship when they start their legal career. In this respect, the introduction of legal clinics, internships and pro bono work to the curriculum of law faculties would help students to begin their careers in a well-equipped manner through “learning by doing.”
Silkenat indicated that independent courts are crucial for the existence of the rule of law and mentioned that societies cannot move forward unless there is a fully-functioning court system within the country. Moreover, he underscored that independent bar associations, which are not controlled by the government and able to oppose its politics when needed, are indispensable for the rule of law.
Silkenat answered questions from students during the exclusive presentation that took place at the Courtroom at Dolapdere Campus of İstanbul Bilgi University.