Critical Interviewing

60 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2021 Last revised: 12 Jul 2021

See all articles by Laila Hlass

Laila Hlass

Tulane University - Law School

Lindsay Muir Harris

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Date Written: January 2021

Abstract

Critical lawyering—also at times called rebellious, community and movement lawyering—attempts to further social justice alongside impacted communities. While much has been written about the contours of this form of lawyering and case examples illustrating core principles, little has been written about the mechanics of teaching critical lawyering skills. This Article seeks to expand critical lawyering theory, and in doing so provides an example of a pedagogical approach to teaching what we term “critical interviewing.” Critical interviewing means using an intersectional lens to collaborate with clients, communities, interviewing partners, and interpreters in a legal interview. Critical interviewers identify and take into account historical and structural biases, privileges, and the role they play in the attorney-client relationship.

This Article urges law professors and legal professionals to operationalize critical legal theories into practice, and ultimately to develop experiential pedagogies to teach these critical lawyering skills. This call to developing new pedagogies is particularly urgent in the wake of nationwide uprisings in response to the killing of George Floyd and others, as well as corresponding law schools’ commitments to identify and dismantle institutional racism. In this Article, we first set forth the contours of the canonical client interviewing pedagogy. Second, we outline the tenets of critical lawyering—a lawyering practice animated by critical legal theories. Next, we advance the pedagogy of critical interviewing, building upon client-centered lawyering texts. We describe one methodology of teaching critical interviewing: the Legal Interviewing and Language Access films. Ideally positioned to use with virtual learning, these videos raise a multitude of issues, including addressing bias and collaborating with clinic partners, interpreters, and clients. Finally, the Article considers areas ripe for further exploration within critical interviewing, concluding with a call for engagement with new pedagogical tools to teach critical interviewing, along with other aspects of critical lawyering.

Keywords: interviewing, critical lawyering, critical legal theory, experiential education, experiential learning, legal education, clinics, pedagogy, clinical legal education, skills

Suggested Citation

Hlass, Laila and Harris, Lindsay M, Critical Interviewing (January 2021). Utah Law Review, Vol. 2021 (Forthcoming), Tulane Public Law Research Paper No. 21-1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3766251 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3766251

Laila Hlass (Contact Author)

Tulane University - Law School ( email )

6329 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
5048628815 (Phone)

Lindsay M Harris

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law ( email )

4200 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20003
United States
202-274-7326 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.udc.edu/page/LHarris

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
57
Abstract Views
377
rank
441,614
PlumX Metrics