Losing My Religion: The Place of Social Justice in Clinical Legal Education
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Boston College Journal of Law and Social Justice, Vol. 32, Pg. 331, 2012
U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-23
Many law school clinics presume a “social justice” mission — that is, representation of the indigent and under-represented about poverty law issues — as the only legitimate goal for clinic clients and matters. This article contends that social justice should not be presumed, but rather should be considered an option — among many — to include in a clinic’s pedagogy. If increased experiential learning opportunities for students are a real objective, and clinics are the pinnacle of those opportunities, then broadening the portfolio of clinical offerings to include those that are not focused on social justice should be a valid proposition. The modern clinical legal education movement that began with Ford Foundation funded clinics has moved from the fringe to the center of legal education. This Article urges that it is incumbent on the leaders of those clinical programs to accommodate different models of clinics, thereby expanding clinical education to more students and unleashing the next phase of innovation and creativity in law school education.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: Clinical legal education, social justice, ideology, experiential learning, additional pedagogical methods, lawyering, public interest careers, values, mission, ford foundation, Carnegie, Macrate
Date posted: March 27, 2012 ; Last revised: January 1, 2013