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Biting Off What They Can Chew: Strategies for Involving Law Students in Problem-Solving Beyond Individual Client Representation

Clinical Law Review, Vol. 8, p. 405, 2002

40 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012  

Katherine R. Kruse

Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2002

Abstract

Problem-solving is most often taught in the context of representing individual clients in small manageable cases where students retain primary control and develop a sense of ownership. However, law school clinical programs often involve students in broader service projects designed to meet the needs of clients that go unaddressed by the legal system. Student involvement in these projects presents challenges for the traditional model of problem-solving taught in individual case representation. This article explores the challenges of translating the problem-solving techniques employed in direct representation of individual clients into the larger context of problem-solving for a client community by examining each step of the traditional problem-solving process. It then demonstrates how the author has used the strategies of compartmentalization, connection, collaboration and continuity to help overcome these challenges, and explores some of the trade-offs and tensions that are involved in such an effort, using the author’s work with students developing an assisted pro se prison service project as an example. The article concludes that the challenges are real, but that the “justice education” that the students experience as a result of involvement in service projects makes it worth the effort.

Keywords: Problem-solving, problem solving, clinical, service project, compartmentalization, connection, collaboration, continuity, pro se, prison, justice education

JEL Classification: K00, K49

Suggested Citation

Kruse, Katherine R., Biting Off What They Can Chew: Strategies for Involving Law Students in Problem-Solving Beyond Individual Client Representation (January 1, 2002). Clinical Law Review, Vol. 8, p. 405, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2172346

Kate Kruse (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

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

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