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Clinical Legal Education and the Public Interest in Intellectual Property Law


Christine Haight Farley


American University - Washington College of Law

Peter A. Jaszi


American University - Washington College of Law

Victoria F. Phillips


American University - Washington College of Law

Joshua D. Sarnoff


DePaul University College of Law

Ann Shalleck


American University - Washington College of Law


St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 52, 2008
American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2008-46
NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 08/09-2

Abstract:     
Clinical legal education provides a powerful methodology for students to learn about the relationships among intellectual property law theories, policies and practices; to encounter the experiences of persons who seek protection or who feel the legal regimes of intellectual property impinging on their ability to engage in educational, creative, innovative and culturally significant work; and to develop as lawyers. We describe in this article our motivations for forming an intellectual property law clinic at the American University Washington College of Law, the goals that we seek to achieve, and the tripartite pedagogical structure that we adopted - (1) a seminar built around a year-long simulation that addresses multiple lawyering skills and legal practice settings, (2) a wide variety of live-client student representations performed under close faculty supervision, and (3) weekly case rounds discussions focusing on public interest issues experienced directly by the students in their representations. We provide an example of a particular student representation that illustrates some of the benefits of our clinical model for teaching students about the public interest and intellectual property law doctrines within the framework of teaching about lawyering. We conclude with our reflections on student experiences and the ability of our clinical program to teach intellectual property law and lawyering in concrete factual and policy contexts, helping students better understand the interaction of theory, doctrine and practice in shaping the meaning and consequences of intellectual property regimes. Students came to understand law and lawyering and to see ways to shape their lives as lawyers, through analyzing and evaluating their responses to the interests of their clients, their actions in meeting the demands of a case, their understanding of the relationships among doctrinal areas, and the connection of their activities to the public interest.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

Keywords: clinical legal education, intellectual property law, public interest

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Date posted: April 24, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Farley, Christine Haight and Jaszi, Peter A. and Phillips, Victoria F. and Sarnoff, Joshua D. and Shalleck, Ann, Clinical Legal Education and the Public Interest in Intellectual Property Law. St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 52, 2008; American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2008-46; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 08/09-2. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1124583

Contact Information

Christine Haight Farley (Contact Author)
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-274-4171 (Phone)
202-274-0830 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://wcl.american.edu/fac/farley
Peter A. Jaszi
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Victoria F. Phillips
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Joshua D. Sarnoff
DePaul University College of Law ( email )
25 E. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL Cook County 60604-2287
United States
312-362-6326 (Phone)

Ann Shalleck
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
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