The Project Model of Clinical Education: Eight Principles To Maximize Student Learning and Social Justice Impact
Clinical Law Review, Vol. 20, pp. 39-94, 2013
University of Tulsa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-05
57 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2013 Last revised: 24 May 2014
Date Written: November 19, 2013
In clinical legal education, there is growing interest in the development of project-based clinical work, which includes a broad range of activities, such as legislative and policy reform, community economic development and community legal education. In the project model, students use non-litigation advocacy strategies to solve challenging legal problems for clients and engage a broad range of multidimensional legal skills, including complex problem-solving, strategic planning, project management, and professional communication skills. Clinical scholarship on project-based learning has suggested that key pedagogical methods, particularly maximizing role assumption and student ownership of clinic work, must be compromised in projects due to the inherent complexity of the model. Because the project model holds such great potential for creating systemic change and serving communities, clinicians who develop projects often struggle to navigate the balance between social justice impact and pedagogical goals. In response to these and other challenges of projects in clinical education, this article argues that through intentional and goal-driven planning, clinicians can design project-based learning experiences that meet social justice goals while also maximizing student ownership and learning. To assist clinicians in developing projects that are successful from pedagogical and social justice perspectives, this article offers eight pedagogical principles, transferable across clinical contexts, for the design and supervision of this emerging model of clinical education.
Keywords: clinical legal education, teaching, project, social justice, pedagogy
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