Clinics and Contextual Integration: Helping Students Put the Pieces Back Together Again

37 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2010

See all articles by Eric S. Janus

Eric S. Janus

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Date Written: 1990


In legal education, as in all education aimed at practice, the relationship between theory and practice is an uneasy one. William Mitchell College of Law, one of the nation’s few free-standing law schools, has traditionally placed itself squarely on the practice side of the theory/practice axis. It has aimed to produce law graduates who could walk into a law office and begin practicing law-not lawyers who would spend additional years learning the profession at someone’s elbow. In recent years, William Mitchell has begun to embrace a more academic approach to legal education. This paper suggests that the College need not, and should not, turn its back on its practical past as it moves along the path of academic rigor. The first section shows that the highest and best use of clinical education-education which uses real or realistic lawyer experiences-furthers the goal of producing lawyers who are competent practically, well-integrated, and have a clear and critical sense of what the work of the lawyer is and ought to be. The paper then proceeds to develop a series of criteria for designing and evaluating a clinical program to meet that goal.

Keywords: Law school, legal practice, legal instruction, legal education, William Mitchell, legal practicum, law practice, legal clinics

Suggested Citation

Janus, Eric S., Clinics and Contextual Integration: Helping Students Put the Pieces Back Together Again (1990). William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 16, 1990, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1990-02, Available at SSRN:

Eric S. Janus (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN Minnesota 55105-3076
United States
6126954928 (Phone)
6126954928 (Fax)

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