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Playing Doctor, Playing Lawyer: Interdisciplinary Simulations

32 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2005  

C K Gunsalus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

J. Steven Beckett

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: January 30, 2006

Abstract

Law students rarely have the opportunity to interact with other professionals - doctors, business people, social workers, actors or engineers, for example - during law school. While legal problems are ubiquitous in the lives of many professionals, there is little in most professional or graduate education programs to prepare students to work effectively with a lawyer or to engage across disciplinary lines when facing legal issues. Consequently, when professionals, complete their educations and move into practice, they can encounter a type of culture shock when they must interact with other professionals around client-centered issues, in consultations, lawsuits, administrative hearings and other settings. We have introduced two interdisciplinary innovations into our skills training courses: first, using the university's Ph.D. program in Theatre as a resource for enriching the communication skills of our students and, second, collaborating with other graduate and professional programs in role-playing simulation exercises in which our students serve as lawyers representing (or interviewing) students from the other programs, each representing a professional in his or her own discipline. We believe that the richness of the fact situations and the interactions with differently-trained professionals improves the acquisition of fundamental skills. The paper discusses our program, what works well and what we hope to improve.

Keywords: counseling and interviewing, elder law, interdisciplinary education, law and medicine, legal education, simulations

Suggested Citation

Gunsalus, C K and Beckett, J. Steven, Playing Doctor, Playing Lawyer: Interdisciplinary Simulations (January 30, 2006). Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 05-14; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 05/06-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=834805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.834805

C. Kristina Gunsalus (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-1416 (Phone)
217-244-1478 (Fax)

J. Steven Beckett

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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