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Connection, Capacity & Morality in Lawyer-Client Relationships: Dialogues and Commentary


Stephen Ellmann


New York Law School

Isabelle Gunning


Southwestern University School of Law

Ann Shalleck


American University - Washington College of Law

Robert Dinerstein


American University - Washington College of Law


Clinical Law Review, Vol. 10, March 2004

Abstract:     
As important, and difficult, as it is to offer new law students clear and helpful frameworks for the interpersonal work of lawyering, doing so is only part of what a clinical textbook may aspire to. In our textbook-in-progress, we hope to offer both frameworks and support for students' sense of the incompleteness of every framework and for their recognition of the need for careful, flexible response to each individual client. Even care and flexibility by themselves are not enough, however, and every text must choose which aspects of lawyer-client relationships it will emphasize most. In the sections that follow, we focus on lawyers' development of connection in context, emotional connection and common ground with clients forged even across considerable gaps of difference; on the application of these skills across especially large contextual gaps, as illustrated in an interview with a client with a mild intellectual disability; and on the ethics and skills of making one special form of connection with a client, the moral relationship entailed in a moral dialogue. These dialogues and commentaries explore many complex moments between lawyer and client, but they also reaffirm the central importance of a fundamental skill and virtue - listening - in the lawyer's work of creating, in each case, a theory of the representation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: interviewing, counseling, disabilities, moral dialogue

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Date posted: April 21, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Ellmann, Stephen and Gunning, Isabelle and Shalleck, Ann and Dinerstein, Robert, Connection, Capacity & Morality in Lawyer-Client Relationships: Dialogues and Commentary. Clinical Law Review, Vol. 10, March 2004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=530846

Contact Information

Stephen Ellmann (Contact Author)
New York Law School ( email )
185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013-2960
United States
212-431-2392 (Phone)
212-966-2053 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.nyls.edu/sellmann
Isabelle Gunning
Southwestern University School of Law ( email )
3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States
Ann Shalleck
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Robert Dinerstein
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
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