So Near and Yet So Far: Dreams of Collaboration between Clinical and Legal Writing Programs

10 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2008

See all articles by Phyllis Goldfarb

Phyllis Goldfarb

George Washington University Law School


Once upon a time at Boston College Law School, I experimented with a new clinical model by involving some of the students in my Death Penalty class in appellate representation of a death row inmate. In particular, I offered a limited number of students in the class a clinical alternative for satisfying the course requirements. Instead of writing a research paper, they could write a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of a death row inmate seeking relief from an adverse decision by a state supreme court after a direct appeal. . . . By semester's end, I had vividly grasped how felicitous it would have been to co-teach the experimental course with one of my legal writing colleagues, if only one of them could have been sufficiently freed from other fulltime responsibilities to make such tandem teaching possible. . . . Collaboration between clinics and legal writing programs need not be a fairy tale that we construct against a backdrop of awareness that unfortunate realities will prevent it from ever happening. But turning the hope of such programmatic collaboration from a fairy tale to a proposal to a memoir requires consciousness of the threshold differences that can undermine the effectiveness of the project. Only by consciously addressing these differences can we devise suitable methods for facilitating the hard work of surmounting the challenges to create genuine collaborations.

Keywords: collaboration, clinical programs, clinical faculty, clinical education, clinical, legal writing, legal writing faculty, legal education

Suggested Citation

Goldfarb, Phyllis, So Near and Yet So Far: Dreams of Collaboration between Clinical and Legal Writing Programs. Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Vol. 4, Available at SSRN:

Phyllis Goldfarb (Contact Author)

George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202.994.7463 (Phone)

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