Western Europe: Last Holdout in the Worldwide Acceptance of Clinical Legal Education

German Law Journal, Vol. 10, No. 7, p. 823, 2009

CLPE Research Paper No. 30/2009

29 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2009

See all articles by Richard J. Wilson

Richard J. Wilson

The John Marshall Law School - Acting Associate Dean for Clinical Education; American University - Washington College of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 13, 2009

Abstract

Clinical legal education has achieved widespread acceptance throughout the world, growing by leaps and bounds during recent decades in countries like Russia and China, and expanding rapidly in other areas of Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. It is, arguably, the most significant innovation in legal education since the “invention” of the Socratic-case method in the United States, at the turn of the 20th Century. There is, however, one geographic area where the philosophy and methodology of clinical legal education has been resisted. That area is Continental Western Europe (the UK has something of a tradition of clinics, though stunted). This article examines the reasons for resistance to clinical theory and practice as part of law school curricula in Western European law schools. Some of that resistance lies in history and structure of legal education and the legal profession, particularly the organization and power of the law school professoriate. The article further suggests that the Bologna process of European integration in all fields of education may provide opportunities for innovation in clinics through law school curricular reform. The doctrinal area of international human rights law and practice may provide further inroads into that resistance.

Keywords: Legal Education, Curricular reform, Clinical legal education

JEL Classification: K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Richard J., Western Europe: Last Holdout in the Worldwide Acceptance of Clinical Legal Education (October 13, 2009). German Law Journal, Vol. 10, No. 7, p. 823, 2009; CLPE Research Paper No. 30/2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1488241 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1488241

Richard J. Wilson (Contact Author)

The John Marshall Law School - Acting Associate Dean for Clinical Education ( email )

315 S. Plymouth Ct
Chicago, IL 60604

American University - Washington College of Law

4300 Nebraska Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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