Clinical Legal Education: Energy and Transformation
8 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2009
The clinical movement has had a dramatic impact on the nation's law schools. Administrators and faculty members cannot successfully ignore it or wish it away. Instead, they must address it and seek ways to harness its energy. My perspective on this subject stems from my entry into academia as a clinician. I was a faculty member in the University of Michigan's Child Advocacy Law Clinic for three years before joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 with the charge to create and implement an in-house clinic program. Over the past ten years, I have assisted in the creation of the Child Welfare, Corporate Counsel, Elder, Environmental, Health, and Low Income Taxpayer Clinics. Thus, my actions indicate that I am a supporter of clinical legal education. However, my support is not unconditional.
Clinical legal education poses uncomfortable challenges and significant problems for legal educators. Several are mentioned in this work. Yet no matter what one thinks about clinical teaching methods, clinical faculty status, or even clinical education in general, I believe that the creation of clinics can transform a law school's curriculum and environment in many positive ways.
Keywords: legal clinics, clinical legal education, clinical education, teaching methods, faculty status, interdisciplinary skills, methodology, experiential learning program, community involvement
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