Beyond Skills Training, Revisited: Spiraling the Pyramid of Clinical Education

35 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012

See all articles by Carolyn Grose

Carolyn Grose

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Date Written: September 4, 2012


As I engaged in the planning process for the 2011 AALS Clinical Conference, and also in the work of curricular reform at my own law school, I found myself spiraling around questions about the essence of clinical pedagogy. What is it? What are its goals? What are its methods? Which, if any, of these goals and methods are unique to what has come to be considered “pure” clinical pedagogy, and therefore best (if not exclusively) used in “pure” clinical courses?

My journey up the spiral forms the basis for this article. Part One explores what consensus exists about the goals and methods of clinical pedagogy. Part Two describes my own pedagogy in a traditional “doctrinal” course (Estates and Trusts), identifying my dominant goals and methods and their overlap with those identified in Part One as “clinical.” Part Three identifies those goals and methods that remain “purely” clinical – those that really cannot be used effectively in anything but a traditional clinic course. And the piece concludes with proposed answers to the questions raised above, and a description of what this analysis might mean for the future of clinical pedagogy and the broader law school curriculum.

Keywords: law school, clinics, pedagogy, teaching, clinical pedagogy, legal education, law school curriculum reform, learning, social justice, legal skills

Suggested Citation

Grose, Carolyn, Beyond Skills Training, Revisited: Spiraling the Pyramid of Clinical Education (September 4, 2012). William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-11, Available at SSRN: or

Carolyn Grose (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics