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Review Essay -- The Global Clinical Movement: Educating Lawyers for Social Justice

12 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012 Last revised: 14 Sep 2012

Sameer M. Ashar

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2012


This ambitious volume, edited by clinical scholar Frank S. Bloch with contributions from clinicians at forty-three law schools spanning six continents, begins an essential dialogue about the meaning of the spread of clinical legal education across borders. I argue here that the meaning of this programmatic spread remains uncertain, contingent, and contested. Indeed, this volume should cause us to question the contested meaning and purposes underlying clinical legal education at law schools both within and outside of the United States. I argue for thick description of the content of clinical work and the contexts in which clinics operate. The goal of subsequent scholarship in this area should be to develop taxonomies of institutional form that allow us to assess and further develop clinical legal education. Second, I argue for nuanced description of the movement of people and ideas across borders so as to understand more fully the relationships between clinics in different parts of the world, as well as to consider how clinical legal education fits within larger theoretical frameworks in the field, such as law and development theory. Third, I argue for a theory of justice education that captures the dynamics between experiential education, legal education, legal profession, and civil society and nation. I contend that making law clinics and law schools more permeable to social movements ought to be a central strategy in the development of justice education both in the United States and abroad.

Suggested Citation

Ashar, Sameer M., Review Essay -- The Global Clinical Movement: Educating Lawyers for Social Justice (August 1, 2012). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 62, p. 193, August 2012; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2012-66; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 13/2012. Available at SSRN:

Sameer M. Ashar (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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