ABA Standard 305'S Guided Reflections: A Perfect Fit for Guided Fieldwork
Southwestern Law School
Clinical Law Review, Fall 2007
NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 07/08-1
The ABA recently introduced some flexibility in how law schools may structure field placement programs (i.e., externship programs).
Specifically, new ABA Standard 305(e)(7) provides that in addition to a seminar or tutorial, "other means of guided reflection" satisfy the academic component requirement for a field placement program. This article describes one successful method for meeting the revised ABA Standard through the use of contemporaneous online guided reflections. It does so by examining the experience of Southwestern Law School, which recently redesigned the academic component of its large externship program.
This article describes Southwestern's externship program before the new Standard 305(e)(7), and then details the program's redesign with the use of online guided reflections, noting its success and the delivery of a substantially better educational experience. The article first details how the new ABA Standard provided the impetus for Southwestern to reassess the nature of its large fieldwork-focused externship program. In that reassessment, Southwestern considered: (1) the role of externships in providing a well-rounded legal education; (2) the impact of generational considerations; and (3) the insights gained from different models of success in law school and on the job. After providing a detailed background to Southwestern's fieldwork-focused approach to externships, the article describes the flexibility and creativity that online guided reflections afford. This flexibility allowed Southwestern to emphasize fieldwork, while getting more out of the academic component without the restraints of form over substance. The author hopes that Southwestern's approach, detailed in this article, will serve as a productive model for crafting innovative and effective academic components for field placements.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: Clinical education, externship, clinics, field placement, fieldwork, guided reflections, classroom component, practical education, experiential education, generation Y, standard 305
Date posted: July 18, 2007