ELSA association has been active for 37 years. Today, over 51000 students from 44 European countries, from 371 Faculties of Law are a part of ELSA network. ELSA’s mission is to contribute to legal education and to improve understanding and international cooperation between law students.
ELSA Estonia as ELSA’s national group has been active for 15 years. During this time the memberships have greatly grown and today we have about 300 members, who study in University of Tartu Faculty of Law (both in Tallinn and Tartu), Tallinn University School of Law or Tallinn University of Technology Department of Law. In addition there are two local groups, ELSA Tallinn and ELSA Tartu. The local distribution has made the organization’s work more effective and brought ELSA closer to law students.
ELSA Estonia’s goal is to offer Estonian law students all the perks of ELSA network, primarily to broaden their horizon and give them the opportunity to get to know the fields that are not part of the curriculum. We find dealing with practically applicable and also theoretic knowledge important, giving students opportunities to take part in different discussions. We also offer students a chance to be socially active and create ways for them to self-improve and obtain valuable experience.
Everything we do is directed towards uniting law students, introducing different career and studying possibilities, offering self-development opportunities and eye opening experiences. To reach our goals on international level and also in Estonia, ELSA has four main fields of activity; Academic Activities (AA), Seminars and Conferences (S&C), Students Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP) and Moot Court Competitions (MCC). The latter, Moot Court Competitions was introduced to ELSA Estonia’s action programme in the spring of 2016 with the goal of developing argumentation skills through litigation stimulation.
The highest body of ELSA is the international board. It consists of eight members who all volunteer full-time in ELSA’s main office in Brussels. The members are elected for one year in the springtime during the international general meeting.
On national level, ELSA’s work is managed by national groups. In Estonia that is ELSA Estonia. National group consists of 8 board members: President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Vice President for STEP (Students’ Trainee Exchange Programme), Vice President for Marketing, Vice President for Academic Activities, Vice President for Seminars and Conferences and Vice President for Moot Court Competitions. The function of the national group is to coordinate ELSA’s work on national level and to organize international events in Estonia.
National groups are also divided into divisions. In 2013 two local groups were created: ELSA Tallinn and ELSA Tartu. The function of the divisions is to manage ELSA’s activity on local level and through events contribute towards law students’ knowledge and experience. Division board typically consists of five members.
Seminars and conferences field gives the participants opportunities to learn more about subjects that are normally not a part of the curriculum. The aim of S&C is to give students a positive learning experience through a variety of national and international events such as coctail nights, field trips inland and abroad, ELSA Delegations programme and international conferences (for example ELSA Law School).
Academic Activities is one of the key-fields in ELSA’s activities. Academic Activities field holds all sorts of different forms of events and is an important kick-start in students’ studies. Activities include law-related career opportunities introducing Lawyers@Work events, traditional ELSA Day and hosting law-themed workshops. In addition, students can apply in LRG project (Legal Research Group), to make their studies more valuable. All in all, AA field’s aim is to offer experience equal to a class, but in a cozier environment.
STEP (Student Trainee Exchange Program) is a internship program held by ELSA network that brings together internship opportunities from 43 different countries. The goal is to offer the members of ELSA an opportunity to experience internship abroad. Completing an internship abroad gives opportunities to get to know different kinds of legal systems and get valuable international experience. Internship can be held in different law firms, banks, universities - both in private and public law institutions. Internships can be short or long term, varying in duration from two weeks to two years.
ELSA4Schools is a program for young from young, that contributes towards secondary school students’ knowledge of law. The goal for our young jurists and law students is to widen the students horizon regarding questions about real life law related subjects and by that, expanding and adding diversity to education. Different schools all over Estonia are visited and lectures given during the academic year. If you are interested in public speaking and rising the knowledge about law, get in contact with ELSA and go give a lecture!
Moot Court Competition is a practical study method for law students which copy full court process. Moot Court Competitions gather different fields of law and ways of trialing. Taking part of the competition gives the student an opportunity to implement their practical skills and develop oratory skills which is an inseparable part of lawyers work. In addition moot court competitions test logical thinking, analysing skill, reaction speed and competence to work in a team. Law students can harmlessly represent a client and even though every competition has a winner then there are no losers because learned skills are a prize for everyone.