Lessons from Forty Years of Interference in Law School Clinics
38 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2011
Recently, there have been a number of well-publicized attacks on law school clinics over their legal representation of unpopular individuals and organizations, which brings them in opposition to powerful business and political interests. This article analyzes the effects of forty years of publicized interference in law school clinics on law clinic attorneys and clinical legal education, and the lessons that can be drawn from this extended history. The article includes a typology of outside interference in clinics, provides empirical support for the negative effects of this interference on the attitudes and actions of clinic attorneys, and argues that there are a number of important lessons from this historical and empirical analysis that can help avoid or minimize future efforts to interfere in the cases handled by law clinics. The article concludes that the legal profession and legal educators must do more to ensure that the important role law clinics play in access to legal assistance, especially to those who are unpopular or whose cause is controversial, is not hampered by the continuing specter of interference.
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