Clinical Cognitive Dissonance: The Values and Goals of Domestic Violence Clinics, the Legal System, and the Students Caught in the Middle
23 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 12, 2012
This essay examines the disconnect between the values and goals of law school domestic violence clinics and the legal system's treatment of women subjected to abuse. It begins by articulating the goals of domestic violence clinics, as explained in the clinical literature, highlighting the important role that client- centered lawyering plays in domestic violence clinics. The essay then juxtaposes the values that students are taught in domestic violence clinics against the realities of practicing domestic violence law as most attorneys experience it, arguing that domestic violence law and policy is at odds with much of what students in domestic violence clinics are taught. The essay concludes by considering how students might react to this “clinical cognitive dissonance” when they go out into the world to represent women subjected to abuse.
Keywords: domestic violence, women, clinical education
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