Handling Big Cases in Law School Clinics, or Lessons from My Clinic Sabbatical
Clinical Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, p. 879, Spring 2003
23 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2010
Date Written: 2003
This essay explores some of the benefits as well as a few of the drawbacks of handling big cases in law school clinics. Big cases – those involving long-term lawyer/client relationships and litigation of complex legal issues – offer some of the best learning opportunities for both faculty and students. They teach us about the complex nature of the law, client decision-making, problem solving and collaboration. They prepare students for practice. Big cases also take up a great deal of clinic faculty time, especially over summers and breaks, and sometimes during sabbaticals. Using two clinic cases as models for discussion, the author describes the educational benefits she and successive teams of students gained from working on these cases over a period of several years. A few proposals are offered from supporting clinic faculty and making efficient use of faculty and student time so that clinics can take on the big cases.
Keywords: Law Clinic, Education
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