Delivering Effective Education in In-House Clinics
Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., LexisNexis 2015)
26 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2015 Last revised: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2015
In-house law clinics have long been recognized as a key form of experiential education. They offer an educational setting in which students holistically integrate all of the elements of legal education. They provide an environment in which students explore the meaning and application of law, ethics, and professional identity in real life under the close supervision of a faculty member who is simultaneously working on or overseeing the legal matter that provides the educational experience. Allowing students to practice problem-solving, especially in actual cases, in an academic environment, is the most effective and efficient way to help them develop professional competence. Accordingly, because law clinics are an important place where this happens, it remains a best practice for law schools to include law clinics as part of the experiential education curriculum.
This section of Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World reviews the context in which clinics present as a choice among burgeoning experiential education models. It addresses how clinics contribute to student learning and development so that institutions understand the particular advantages that the in-house law clinic model offers to students, clients, and the institutions themselves. The section explores the essential characteristics of in-house law clinics and expands on the understanding of how legal education through in-house clinics meets multiple objectives for legal education. Those essential characteristics provide a specialized context for student learning and include the intensive supervision students receive, the structures used to deliver the clinical learning experience, the use of developed clinical teaching methodologies, and a forum ideally suited for teaching particular topics that are most effectively taught in context. Although learning objectives vary among clinics based upon the clinic mission and design, common learning objectives exist across clinics, and this section identifies the range of those common objectives. Finally, this section explores the value that in-house law clinics add to their institutions and their communities, and identifies practices for maximizing the value of clinics and promoting the effectiveness of law school clinical programs.
Keywords: legal education, clinical legal education, law school, clinics, clinical education, clinical teaching, skills, experiential education
JEL Classification: I29, K00, K19, K49, Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation