From Representation to Research and Back Again: Reflections on Developing an Empirical Project

University of the District Columbia Law Review Vol. 16, No. 1, 2012

SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 211

18 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2016 Last revised: 9 Feb 2016

See all articles by Mary Spector

Mary Spector

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This article presents the story of Doreen, a client represented by the SMU Civil Clinic in a suit against her to collect a consumer debt. My goal in sharing Doreen's story here is two-fold. First, it is to provide an example of how our work with students and our clients can shift from representation to research to advocacy and back again. My second goal is to encourage others-students, clinic supervisors, fellows and faculty-to consider the work they do and its potential "to improve the quality of justice in communities, to enhance the delivery of legal services," and "to promote economic and social justice," goals that are at the heart of the Bellow Scholar program.Part I considers Doreen's story as a story of representation in a law school clinic. Part II considers her story as a basis for developing a research project exploring issues raised by the representation. It also reflects on the process of conducting the project and contains a brief summary of the results. Part III shows how, even before the project was complete, its results could be used to highlight some of the problems facing consumers like Doreen and begin to provide a basis for education and reform. It also describes how research can be used as part of a curriculum with clinic students. Finally, Part IV reflects on the Bellow Scholar program's contribution to the work of clinical teachers, their students and clients, and the communities in which they live.

Suggested Citation

Spector, Mary, From Representation to Research and Back Again: Reflections on Developing an Empirical Project (2012). University of the District Columbia Law Review Vol. 16, No. 1, 2012, SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 211, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2722004

Mary Spector (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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