Blog powered by Typepad


  • The tenured faculty of the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV voted unanimously to recommend the tenure and promotion of Leticia Saucedo.
  • send them in so we can post!


« Law Faculty Lateral Moves List - 2009 | Main | SSRN: transactional lawyering »

March 05, 2009


Nick Halbur

You asked if I'd seen these misunderstandings and I have the following thoughts:

3. Re: We can argue anything.

I agree with your core point that there is a lack of understanding that there are a great number of clear cases out there. More often than the problem that you identified though, I see that students are unnecessarily unsure of their conclusions because there are no cases on a particular subject. The statute or procedural rule is simply clear and so the issue is actually very simple. When working in a new area of law that our clinic does not typically handle I find the need to tell students, "I don't know the answer to that, but this must come up all of the time, so there is likely a clear and simple answer. Don't spend too much time researching this if there is a rule/statute that is on point." They make the issue harder than it needs to be because they assume (after reading appellate cases w/ dissents all the time as 1L's) that any issue that they look into will be a gray area or counterpoint.

6. I don't have ethics issues

This was the item that surprised me the most. We have students give themselves a relative rating and short narrative comments on ethical issues at midterm and at the end of each semester and I have yet (of course I am only teaching my 4th semester) to have a student mark that they had no experience with this subject in clinic (which is an option under every item in the self-eval).

Bob Jones

"You mean opposing parties can actually reach an agreement?" Settlements and agreements don't make it into case books. Students learn from case law that lawsuits are resolved only through jury verdicts or judgments. It does not occur to many clinic students that part of their task is to explore whether individual issues or entire cases may be settled. Even when students understand intellectually that settlements are possible, they may instinctively feel that reaching agreements is not what litigators are hired to do.

Nina W. Tarr

Kim and Chris,
You have clearly articulated some of the failings of the current structure of legal education. I would characterize your list as law students' "discomfort with exercising independent professional judgment." Both the gift and the curse of a clinic programs is its role in helping law students overcome the limitations of their law school experiences. Are the problems you identify are our "raison d’être?"
At certain times in our history, some clinic folks defined clinical teaching as a methodology, rather than a "justice movement" or "just skills training," and such arguments were dismissed as arrogant. I am bemused to note that as law schools try to implement the Carnegie Report recommendations, most of the new curricular innovations are attempts to adapt what we have been doing for years because integrated, experiential learning is the best method for training professionals.
So, here is an interesting question..... If there is a reformation of the first and second year curriculum so that students do not suffer these misconceptions about the work and ethics of lawyers-- will clinics still be necessary?


Kim O'Leary

It has been brought to my attention that some people view our initial posting as a slam against first year professors and their teaching. Nothing could be farther from the truth. At Cooley we have had the pleasure of hearing about innovative teaching techniques in first year courses. My own impression of first year professors is that they are smart, creative and work very, very hard. I certainly do not have the skills to do what they do, day in and and day out. Through Teaching Roundtables at Cooley, I have learned more about law teaching from my colleagues than I could possibly chronicle here. To a person, colleagues are supportive of clinical and skills education. The misimpressions I have observed have spanned over twenty years at three different law schools. Chris has pointed out to me on several occasions that it is absolutely necessary for first -year professors to teach legal anaylsis and reasoning and doctrinal concepts; it appears to be a by-product of a good legal education that even excellent students suffer the misconceptions that challenge us. Despite innovative teaching, I see these misunderstandings crop up like bad pennies consistently over time. My point is not to slam the hard work of first year professors- rather to wonder whether there is anything we can do in the first or second year to curb the misimpressions directly. There is much we could write about what works in the first year of legal education - for example, almost all of my students can analyze cases and statutes well and can spot doctrinal issues. At Cooley most of them want to look for alternative means for solving disputes. They understand their obligations toward their clients. That is saying a lot. We focus on recurring problems because that is where we might make a small contribution to understanding how we might do better. In the Carnegie Report, legal educators were asked to consider integrating knowledge, skills and ethics earlier and more pervasively throughout the curriculum. Cooley already offers excellent instruction in the knowledge, skills and ethics realms. If we are to consider better integration, we should do so looking to solve specific problems. It is in that spirit that this blog posting was made. Part of the reason for the blog posting was to find out if our observations were true only for us, and perhaps quirky, or whether they are observed by professors in other law schools.

Canada Goose Jacket

a lot of editors have started to understand more about alternate options, they will obtained a little cameras, spend some money to hire nearby residents and individuals across the actors within the facilities

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

May 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31