An Empirical Analysis of Clinical Legal Education at Middle Age

71 Journal of Legal Education 622 (2022)

51 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2023 Last revised: 5 Mar 2024

See all articles by Robert R. Kuehn

Robert R. Kuehn

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

David A. Santacroce

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: February 24, 2023

Abstract

This article provides the first comprehensive empirical analysis of clinical legal education’s development and growth over the past fifty years. By analyzing dozens of surveys and reports on aspects of clinical legal education, including unique data developed by the authors, and comparing the results over time, this article presents a factual picture of clinical legal education’s progression from early adulthood to today’s middle age.

This article seeks to inform the present and help legal educators shape the future role of law clinic and field placement courses in the preparation of law students for the practice of law. It provides an empirical history of clinical programs from the early 1970s to today and examines in detail those teaching law clinic and field placement courses, providing data on the nature of their jobs, demographics, and differences from others in the legal academy. The article then takes a close empirical look at clinic and field placement courses, their growth, size, structure, and content.

This comprehensive, longitudinal empirical study will help legal educators make more informed choices about the role of law clinic and field placement courses within their own institutions and, more broadly, about the role of clinical courses in educating tomorrow’s lawyers and aiding underserved clients.

Keywords: legal education, law school, law clinic, field placement, clinical legal education

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Kuehn, Robert R. and Santacroce, David, An Empirical Analysis of Clinical Legal Education at Middle Age (February 24, 2023). 71 Journal of Legal Education 622 (2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4369708

Robert R. Kuehn (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-5706 (Phone)
314-935-5356 (Fax)

David Santacroce

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734 763 4319 (Phone)
734 764 4702 (Fax)

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