'This is a Courtroom, Not a Classroom:' so What is the Role of the Clinical Supervisor?

37 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2005

See all articles by Jennifer A. Gundlach

Jennifer A. Gundlach

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law

Date Written: November 11, 2005


In this article, Gundlach examines the appropriate educational role of the clinical supervisor beyond the confines of the law school classroom or supervision in the clinical office and more specifically, within the context of a court appearance. She begins with a narrative, in which she recounts a situation in which a judge pronounced, this is a courtroom, not a classroom after one of her students turned to her for consultation during a court proceeding. Gundlach uses the narrative as an opportunity to evaluate the educational nature of the courtroom for all those present, including student attorneys. She then addresses the question of who should bear responsibility for facilitating the educational experience of the student attorney in the courtroom and evaluates the merits of allowing for supporting roles beyond the clinical supervisor. She also examines and evaluates the options available to the clinical supervisor, concluding that modeling, co-chairing and any method that prevents the student from going it alone are too easily employed without an adequate assessment of the risks and benefits for the student, the client, and the supervisor. Gundlach contends that clinical supervisors may underestimate what they can accomplish in the education of a student attorney before a court appearance and in facilitating a reflective evaluation in the aftermath. She offers several suggestions for exercises and supervisory discussions with the student to enrich this process. She ends by suggesting that clinical supervisors can enrich their educational value for their students by modeling their own evaluation and self-reflection about their supervision and teaching. Gundlach offers a sampling of the kinds of issues and questions a clinical supervisor might draw upon in her own self-reflection and assessment of her supervision of a court appearance.

Keywords: clinical, court, evaluation, intervention, non-directive, prepartation,reflection, reflective, students, supervision, trial

Suggested Citation

Gundlach, Jennifer A., 'This is a Courtroom, Not a Classroom:' so What is the Role of the Clinical Supervisor? (November 11, 2005). NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 05/06-9, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=846347 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.846347

Jennifer A. Gundlach (Contact Author)

Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law ( email )

121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

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