Getting into the Field
31 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2013
Date Written: March 3, 2011
The food system is characterized by structural features and other attributes that make it attractive as a source of projects for experiential programs of diverse design and objective. The system features a wide variety of activities, actors, legal issues and literature. Food is a familiar and tangible everyday presence, and a subject of intense public interest, regulatory attention, commercial evolution and sector innovation. System actors include individuals and organizations conventionally represented by clinics and pro bono programs. More broadly, food is a basic human need, and its production, distribution and consumption present issues of deeply important social concern. These factors yield considerable opportunities for experiential programs, considerable potential for student engagement and considerable rationale and motivation for dedication of pro bono resources. This article, which is written from the perspective not of a scholar or practitioner of agriculture or food law, but instead that of a corporate lawyer who directs a transactional clinic targeted at students who typically begin their careers in large urban law firms, describes system features and the experiences of one clinic in engaging with food system clients. Farm-to-table, it turns out, is a productive path to corporate practice and professional formation.
Keywords: clinical education, clinic clients, clinic projects, transactional clinics, food law, food system reform, pedagogy
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