Clinical Law Prof Blog

Editor: Jeffrey R. Baker
Pepperdine University
School of Law

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Recap of the 6th Annual Southern Clinical Conference – “Celebrating the Work: Innovations, Traditions, and Disruptions in Clinical Legal Education” (Oct. 13-15, 2016)

At this year’s Southern Clinical Conference, the Charlotte School of Law (CharlotteLaw) welcomed close to forty legal and clinical educators representing eighteen law schools to celebrate the innovations, traditions, and disruptions in our work as clinical educators. Being a city reflective of tradition, innovation, and (yes) disruption, the City of Charlotte proved to be an appropriate site given the theme of this year’s conference. Further, being a law school with mission pillars dedicated to (1) serving the underserved, (2) producing practice-ready attorneys, and (3) ensuring positive student outcomes, CharlotteLaw was the ideal host for the conference.

The following is a recap of this year’s conference highlights:

• On Thursday night, the conference kicked off with a great informal gathering of attendees at the Aloft Hotel in uptown Charlotte.

• On Friday morning, CharlotteLaw’s Dean Jay Conison gave conference attendees a warm welcome to both the Queen City and to our school. He extolled his support for clinical legal education and emphasized CharlotteLaw’s commitment to experiential education generally citing our thirteen live client clinics, expansive externship and cooperative placement programs, and one of the country’s only post graduate law firm incubators.

• For the opening plenary session, Professor Bob Kuehn of Washington University School of Law presented ‘Measuring the Value of Clinical Education.’ As per usual, Bob did not fail to impress us with his amazing empirical research showing the benefits of clinical legal education in relation to student job outcomes. He further shared his ongoing research into whether there is any (positive or negative) effect of clinical legal education upon student bar outcomes.

• Conference attendees were given a chance to learn more about the disruptions (North Carolina House Bill 2 (HB2) and the killing of Keith Scott) affecting the City of Charlotte during a lively lunch panel held at Bentley’s Restaurant (a restaurant on the 27th floor of Charlotte Plaza that showcases a great skyline view of Charlotte). Moderated by Charlotte Law’s Clinical Director Scott Sigman, the panelists for this forum (all involved with said disruptions) included CharlotteLaw Professor Christie Matthews, CharlottLaw Graduate and ACLU Board Member Brandy Haynes, and Charlotte City Council Members John Autry and LaWana Mayfield. For those of you missed this fantastic lunch panel, here’s a link to the video.

• Our Friday evening reception was held at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in uptown Charlotte. Our attendees enjoyed wonderful company, great food, wine/beer, and unimpeded viewing access to the museum’s newest exhibits. In juxtaposition to the events inside our Friday reception, Republican Nominee Donald Trump was giving a speech a block away from us at the Charlotte Convention Center. Reports are that at least a couple of our attendees joined the throng of Trump protestors outside the Convention Center!

• On Saturday, two of our most favorite clinicians, Alex Scherr (UGA) and Carwina Weng (Indiana), presented the conference’s closing plenary – “Too Much of a Good Thing? Integrating Outcomes into In-House and Externship Clinics.” Given the new push towards measuring outcomes in legal education, this highly educational and interactive presentation provided us innovative strategies, challenging us all to become better clinicians and closed our conference on an amazing note.

• All in all, there were twenty presentations (plenary, sessions, works-in-progress, panels) featured at this year’s conference. Each one was engaging and fantastic.

• One last shout out to my fellow conference planning committee members – Anne Hornsby (Alabama), Danny Schaffzin (Memphis), Kendall Kerew (Georgia State), Lisa Martin (Catholic), Robert Lancaster (Louisiana State), Alex Scherr (Georgia), and Crystal Shin (William & Mary). You guys are the best!

• Next year’s Southern Clinical Conference will be held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Everybody should mark their calendar when the ‘Save-the-Date’ comes out in the near future!

October 21, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A lesson on fear: how re-locating to Jamaica increased my empathy for supporters of Donald Trump


As the plane descended at dusk over a hazy patch of lush, green island, surrounded by the sea, I realized that I had absolutely no idea what my life would be like for the next nine months.  I have not been in such an unpredictable situation in ages. Like most Americans, I live in an environment that is almost entirely predictable, to the point of even seeming mundane, and so the idea of moving to Jamaica to research restorative justice for nine months on a Fulbright Grant was exciting in theory.  As I moved from the theoretical into the practice of living a new reality, I was anxious. In minutes, I would be landing in a world wholly unfamiliar, one that I had only read and heard about but never experienced. 

I had a heightened awareness that safety could be an issue here.  This message was reinforced in a multitude of ways: during orientation, in the news, from locals, past visitors, in on-line forums, the campus security page on the university website, an endless amount of information conveying the importance of safety. The instant I touched the ground, images emphasizing this perception were omnipresent. In Kingston, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a security guard, they are everywhere - at the entrance to every gated community, in and outside every supermarket, mini-market and gas-station.  The ATM doors lock behind you, roads are littered with “sleeping policemen” (speedbumps), walls and chain link fences surround most everything, you cannot even drive into a parking lot without having to pick up a card from a security guard that you must present before you leave to ensure you are the rightful owner of the vehicle that you’re driving or riding in. For the first time in a long time, my safety seemed to be in question.

I envisioned a difficult but manageable adjustment to my new life, but I morphed into a person I didn’t quite recognize. I was living out the potential reality of what I imagine many of my fellow Americans, who support Donald Trump feel, I was shackled by my fear. I had no context for the world I was entering and therefore no baseline for the danger or lack of danger that actually existed, but all the signs pointed toward warnings and so I heeded them. My body and my mind assumed worst case scenarios, creating a victim-persona that needed protection rather than acknowledging that I am a capable, adaptable, empowered adult who has maneuvered life relatively well.  Generally, I am a very optimistic person, who intensely longs to see the best in people and our world, but I have to admit that I was in total lock-down. I felt horrible and within the first 24 hours, I was second-guessing my decision, as my opportunity had morphed into a difficult challenge. Everything became puzzling and substandard; simple adversities seemed to need herculean strength to overcome. This reality was exhausting.

My malaise, discomfort and the person I was becoming came alarmingly into focus during one of my walks home. I was on my way back from campus to my apartment, which is about ¾ of a mile away in a fairly isolated but magnificently lush, green, gorgeous valley.  The grounds are surrounded by a chain link fence and there is a 24 hour security checkpoint for all persons entering. It was a balmy Friday afternoon, I was sweating, uncomfortable and in a rush to get into the one air-conditioned room in my home, when I saw a man, probably in his 20s walking on the road.  The phrase “he doesn’t seem like he belongs here” rolled around in my head. Alarm bells rang, thoughts of how I would fight and what I would do if attacked raged through my head and adrenaline pumped. I steeled myself, put on the nastiest face I could muster and practically stomped past him. I was momentarily proud of myself for projecting such a hard-ass appearance and “saving myself” from potential catastrophe.  I walked past my house in case he was around the corner plotting on how to break in my apartment. I was being “safe” and “using my common sense.” I spent the rest of the afternoon with a nagging feeling, listening for sounds, and worrying. 

Simultaneously, I had a sense of unease with myself and my behaviors. I kept looking at the situation, thinking about the many ways that “keeping safe” prevented fostering connection. I knew this protectionist mentality was not aligning with how I want to be in the world and would eventually stop me from understanding Jamaica.  And the use of that word “belong” was really the final straw. Who was I, a foreigner, to talk about belonging? This is a word that has been used to justify horrific profiling, discrimination and worse, and here I was “othering” to preserve my stuff?!? I just couldn’t stop thinking about the list of things I needed to “protect:” my passport, ID, money, things. I was convinced that I would crumble and wouldn’t survive without them.  I was completely identifying with things, as if my very being were being threatened. I realized this thinking was not healthy, and I knew I had to get out of this space, but I didn’t entirely feel motivated. In fact, I felt strangely, righteously justified in defending my things against any and every perceived threat at almost any cost. This mentality was a downward spiral that lead to intense consumerism. I kept shopping to buy more things that I thought would make me feel comfortable, which of course would put more at risk of being taken, and none of my purchases could make me feel better because what I really wanted was safety and connection. To feel pseudo-safe, I stuffed myself, stuffed down my feelings, locked up physically and emotionally. I knew I could not live this way, but escaping the reality my mind had created was immensely difficult.

Mercifully, it all changed in an instant, well an evening…the way that life often does. I was invited to see Garvey. The warmth of the locals who had offered to take my friend and I was instantly soothing and my self-created distress started melting away. The musical was phenomenal, and I was instantly drawn into the story, mostly forgetting about the worries of “safety.”  Occasionally, small thoughts would pop up about how I would get home in the dark, but I was determined to delight in this experience, to stay in the moment and soak in every second of this spectacular piece of art that was moving my soul. At the end of the night, one of my new friends took me home and as I lay down, exhausted from so many emotions, I knew a shift had occurred. In the morning, I opened my eyes and my first thoughts were of the warmth from the rays of sun as they streamed through the window across my skin. I walked into my living room and didn’t cringe immediately at the heat, but recognized how my body had comfortably adjusted. I looked out my front doors in time to see a stunningly beautiful sunrise.

Through kindness and connection with others, I had come back to myself.  I choose an apple instead of candy for breakfast. I didn’t feel the need to shop for more stuff. I started writing, turned on my music, read a book, and my heart exploded when I saw my best friend’s children smile at me on FaceTime.  I stopped waging a war against the ants that swarmed the garbage and learned to tie a small bag up high and take it out when I leave the house.  I am open again. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about safety, I am just not consumed by it.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and view it as such again instead of as a challenge. I’m excited to make new friends and to learn a new way of being in the world; the industriousness of the people that I have already witnessed has amazed me, and I look forward to learning more.

In reflecting on my first few days in Kingston, I now have a little more insight on fear and how it can co-opt us. I was momentarily inconsolable, I watched myself become someone that I was not proud of but I didn’t know how to change. In the end, I was moved by what always moves me in this life: connection, music and dancing.  These reminded me that we are all just trying to live our best lives. We are doing the best with our situation. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. And while it’s true there may be some harsh realities, I was creating a story, nothing had actually happened, I was my own worst enemy. Living in that place of fear did nothing to protect me, and worse, it prevented me from accessing the connection I really needed and from seeing beauty and light. Fear can be both a reality and a state of mind, and living there, whether real or perceived, is an awful place to be.

I had to ask myself how I would have reacted if someone had criticized my fear or manifestations of it. My situation highlighted that the feelings underlying the fear mentality are valid and deserve to be met with compassion and problem solving rather than chiding and dismissal. This transition has given me new perspective on what this election can be about for me. I can listen to someone’s fears, even if they manifest in an unappealing way, because I too have the capacity to act out of alignment with who I want to be in this world.  I can reckon with the need that is underlying the fear, making people feel safe, respected and whole, because that is what’s required to move us all into better space.


October 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Columbia Law School to Design and Teach Alternative Dispute Resolution Curriculum With the Educational Arm of the United Nations


Columbia Law School will develop a program to train U.N. diplomats and personnel in negotiation techniques and conflict resolution, under an agreement signed this week by Columbia University and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The partnership grew out of a multi-year effort by Columbia Law School Professor Alexandra Carter ’03 to teach alternative dispute resolution to U.N. diplomats in New York City. Since 2012, Carter—the director of clinical education at the Law School and head of the Mediation Clinic—has led UNITAR’s negotiation workshops for women diplomats.
A champion of mediation as a critical tool in resolving conflicts, Carter envisions a larger and evolving international collaboration between UNITAR and Columbia University. She touts the global concerns and international reach of many of the Law School’s ten clinics, and credits Law School Dean Gillian Lester, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, for making “international engagement a major pillar of her deanship.”
“Columbia Law School’s clinics move global and national policy developments, in addition to serving many individual clients,” said Carter. “Over the last decade, the Mediation Clinic has worked with transnational organizations like the United Nations, as well as foreign governments, federal and state courts, and law schools, to advance the practice of mediation, negotiation, and global peace building.
“The Mediation Clinic will be the focal and contact point for the new curriculum and trainings, though over time we expect to bring together many of our experts from other schools and disciplines. We are starting in New York—with the largest diplomatic corps—but we have already received requests for proposals abroad.”
‘Opportunities for Our Students’
Under the supervision of Carter and Lecturer in Law Shawn Watts ’12, Columbia Law School students in the Mediation Clinic work to resolve a wide range of real-world cases involving commercial, employment, housing, and family disputes. Carter sees great opportunities in the new UNITAR partnership for students who have already studied the basics of negotiation.
“Columbia Law School students will be intimately involved in the design of these training programs, they will assist in the classrooms, and they will have an opportunity for substantive interactions with diplomats and change agents from all over the world,” she said.
In addition to teaching her Law School courses, Carter has taught mediation to private- and public-sector groups, as well as to international academic audiences, and she serves on the Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee for the New York State Unified Court System. In January, Carter and Watts helped conduct the first Peace Summit at Tokyo’s International Christian University, where students, faculty, and diplomats from nine nations studied the policy and practice of mediation and peace building.
In 2012, UNITAR asked the Mediation Clinic to participate in the Women Negotiating Peace conference at the United Nations. Carter’s workshop--a first-of-its-kind training for female delegates—was organized in response to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, which promotes the participation of women in peace building efforts worldwide, noting they are “underrepresented in virtually all” governments.
“We were proud to be part of that first summit,” Carter recalled, “and right from the beginning, we could see the impact on the diplomats and also the incredible opportunities for our students. The U.N. asked us to return because of the tremendous feedback.”
Since then, the workshop has become an annual event, and participants have even come to the Law School for further training, attending the initial “boot camp” weeks of each semester’s Mediation Clinic. Starting in the fall, Carter and Watts will teach an Advanced Mediation Clinic, “in large part because of the U.N. partnership and all the substantive work we know it will generate for our students,” Carter said.
At this week’s signing of the Law School’s agreement with UNITAR, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Nikhil Seth stressed the importance of gender equality.  “He came up with an idea to hold training programs for women before the General Assembly and all other major U.N. meetings,” Carter said, “so that female diplomats feel equipped and empowered to enter the U.N.’s biggest arenas and advocate for themselves and their missions.”
In a statement released after this week’s meeting at Columbia Law School, UNITAR called the collaboration “crucial to equip members of this community with the capacity to navigate and contribute to the United Nations.”
Partnership with UNITAR
UNITAR was established in 1965 "for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations.'' It provides short-term executive training to officials of member states as well as to representatives of civil society and the private sector. It works with an estimated 25,000 people around the world each year, through seminars and workshops, e-learning, and special events.
When Carter met earlier this year with the head of UNITAR’s New York office, Ambassador Marco Suazo, they came up with the same question: “Why are we talking about isolated programs when we could be talking about something so much greater?” remembered Carter. “We should be exploring everything that Columbia Law School and Columbia University bring to bear, in terms of teaching, intellectual leadership, and the ability to design a curriculum that will marry conflict resolution—which is a skill that cuts across all disciplines—with the U.N.’s 2030 agenda and its sustainable development goals. These goals include gender equality, eradicating poverty, access to justice, making sustainable cities, creating just institutions and protecting our environment.”
The agenda’s social justice goals align with the mission of the Columbia Law School clinics, which handle cases in such subject areas as international human rights, environmental law, community enterprise, and immigrants’ rights.
“Our clinics were founded to increase access to justice and to solve legal and social problems, to be a voice for those who need one, and to empower individuals, whether they live in New York City or Papua New Guinea, to access their rights and solve their own problems,” Carter said. “This partnership is a tremendous fit for our program.”
The New York diplomatic corps represents a wide variety of nations, from the world’s most- to least-developed states. Workshop participants will receive signed certificates of attendance from Columbia Law School and Columbia University, Carter notes, and the U.N. has expressed a desire to work toward a more formal credential, such as a certificate in conflict resolution and diplomacy.
“Our goal, over the next year and beyond, is to design and execute trainings that will reach hundreds of diplomats, and to combine our expertise in conflict resolution with substantive legal knowledge that will benefit all nations and all peoples,” Carter said.

October 15, 2016 in Clinic News, Clinic Profile, Clinic Students and Graduates, Clinic Victories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Judicial Externships as "Experiential Courses"

This post arises from an exchange on LAWCLINIC. Sally Gertz from Florida State posed the following question:

Question:  Does your school count a judicial externship as an “experiential course” under new Standard 303, which requires each student to have 6 credits of experiential courses? 

I answered in two emails; this post combines the two in a single post:

My school has treated judicial externships as professional skills courses and will continue to treat them as experiential courses under the new rules.

I read the list of “other professional skills” in Interpretation 302-1 as inclusive and expansive rather than exclusive. The lead-in to the list of named skills says: “other professional skills are determined by the law school and may include skills such as” the list of enumerated skills. To me, this suggests two things:

—the list does not exclude teaching of skills other than those listed so long as

—the law school makes a determination that these skills are legitimate outcomes of the relevant course.

A judicial externship course offers many potential outcomes that fall within the scope of “other professional skills.” In addition to the ones that you noted in the list itself, I would include professionalism by attorneys and judges in a litigation context, the exercise of judgment as a neutral decision-maker, management of a high volume caseload, research and writing in a time-sensitive workplace, and pragmatic problem-solving as a judge.

These are all outcomes available in both trial and appellate chambers and are ones for which most chambers have ample opportunities to give students “opportunities for performance” under Standards 304(c) and 303(a)(3). Of course, being able to articulate these professional skills on your syllabus is just a start: your course will have to meet the other requirements of Standard 303(a)(3) and 304(c), by supporting and focusing student learning for these outcomes in the balance of the externship course.

Finally, an important clarification. The outcomes I described earlier include several that might serve for a non-experiential course: research and writing; professionalism; and problem-solving. These learning outcomes constitute acceptable learning outcomes for a non-experiential course, under 302(a), (b), or (c): a writing seminar, or a traditional professional responsibility class.

More pointedly, consider the following two course proposals:

—an “externship” in which the student stays at home, receives research assignments from an outside practice (perhaps a judge’s clerk) with no context for the assignment, no access to the file, no chance to observe related hearings, and no contact with the judge or the clerk about how the issue assigned relates to the underlying problem.

-- an “experiential course” in which students do research and produce memos on behalf of an outside non-profit with whom the teacher has a connection. The students primarily research and write and may engage in in-class discussions of problem-solving, under faculty supervision, but with little to no contact with the outside organization or the realities faced by the non-profit.

Those are not experiential courses, in my view. The definition of an “experiential course” ought not to cover courses in which a student only practices skills identical to those in a writing course or a doctrinal class. In defining an experiential course, Standard 303 refers back to all of Standard 302, including those subsections identified above.  But it’s important to make sure that student learning should focus on the exercise of other skills, the “other professional skills” in Standard 302(d), and in a real or carefully simulated practice context.

In a well-structured judicial externship, the student works in the denser, richer context of direct judicial practice: drafting proposed orders; analyzing, suggesting, and discussing possible decisions; observing and reflecting on conduct by judges and lawyers; and engaging in conversations with the judge and the clerks that develop their understanding of decision-making, problem-solving, and ethical representation.

Some of this work matches what we would see in a doctrinal or paper course; but that’s not what distinguishes it as “experiential.” The broader list of skills in Standard 302(d), as developed in Interpretation 302-1, seems more characteristic of experiential learning, especially when exercised in the fuller context of practice.

You can find the language of Standards 303 and 302 here: Chapter 3, Program of Legal Education.


October 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Conferencing on Tulsa Time

Conferencing on Tulsa Time

A shout out of thanks to the folks at the University of Tulsa Clinical Program for the gracious hosting of the Midwest Clinical Conference this weekend. Dean Lyn Entzeroth not only welcomed us warmly on Thursday evening, but has been an engaging participant throughout. Associate Dean Betsy McCormick and her colleagues (Mimi Marton, Anna Carpenter, Barbette Viet, Lynn Miller, Kate Vetterick, Nathalie S. Guerrero, & Cynthia Yaschine de Kohler) have put together a great program.

I urge colleagues to stay tuned to the conference website, as materials from the raft of great presentations are posted. There’s still a day to go, but so far we’ve inspired and informed, especially about Tulsa’s past and present social justice struggles. Some highlights from those presentations:

Our lunch keynote speaker yesterday was Marq Lewis, director and founder of We the People Oklahoma. Lewis told the story of organizing the petition effort to empanel a civil grand jury to remove Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz from office in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris. Particularly inspiring were the practical proposals made by Lewis to advance policing reforms, including blood testing of officers following shootings and efforts to reduce use of force incidents.

Following lunch, Devon Douglas (a recent TU alum) and David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute; Deborah Shallcross, a former judge now at GableGotwals; Dan Smolen, a civil rights attorney in private practice; and Adrienne Watt, of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, shared about the ongoing efforts to secure access to justice in Oklahoma.

Hannibal B. Johnson, attorney and author of Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, was the keynote speaker at dinner. Johnson shared with us the sad and powerful history of the 1921 Race Riot in which white mobs destroyed the thriving black business district of Greenwood. He recently wrote that:

"We are fast approaching the five-score anniversary of the riot. Let us exhale, and then let us breathe freely, oxygenating our efforts on three fronts: (1) healing our history; (2) making an appreciative inquiry into our past; and (3) recommitting to diversity and inclusion. If we do this, we will have honored the memory of one of our darkest days by illuminating it with a bright new light."

In the Q&A, Johnson also shared about the history and current struggles of the black towns of Oklahoma, formed in the post-Reconstruction era by migrants from the South.

October 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 7, 2016

5 Questions for Julie D. Lawton

I am excited to start off our Five Questions series with a fascinating woman:  Julie D. Lawton, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Housing & Community Development Legal Clinic at DePaul University College of Law.  I couldn’t help being drawn to Prof. Lawton's story and I hope you will be too!

  1. Before becoming a clinical professor, you practiced corporate and transactional law.  Describe how your journey brought you from a large firm to directing a housing & community development clinic.

That’s a bit of a longer answer about life…I was practicing at a large law firm in Washington, DC enjoying my work, but delaying “living”. When asked when I would (travel, marry, vacation more, start a family…), my answer was always “when I (make partner, get older, make more money…)”. Then Sept 11th, 2001 happened. I was driving down the highway when the plane hit the Pentagon (I worked about 10 minutes away). It was the blackest smoke I have ever seen. The city was in chaos, my family in a minor panic, and my country, and my view of living, forever changed. Afterwards, I read the stories of the victims of the many things they wanted to do in life, but postponed until “when they”… I decided then, that “when” must be now. So, at the end of 2001, I quit my job, sold my house, packed my car and traveled the world for a bit. I went whale watching in Alaska, walked along Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, had the best Indian food (ever!) in Durban, visited the Valley of a Thousand Hills with the Zulus in South Africa, sat at a point in the Chobe River that is the meeting point of 4 countries, dodged hippos in Botswana, and drove with a lifelong friend from San Francisco to Philadelphia, including visiting the Petrified Forest, the OK City Bombing Memorial, and a meteor site along the way. And, I have been trying to live life every day since. I have traveled to 18 countries, moved to another area of the country, bought a new house, fallen in love, gotten engaged and found my true professional passion in life in teaching. This path has taught me that life is not about the destination, but about the journey, so I enjoy the ride. And, the journey has led me here.

  1. Your article "The Imposition of Social Justice Morality in Legal Education" has garnered much press and discussion among us clinical professors.  I must say, regardless of whether I agree or disagree, it felt like a breath of fresh air.  I love open discourse like this.  It is part of the reason I enjoy being in academia.  What was the impetus for writing this article?

As with many articles, the impetus was a variety of events that eventually led to a decision to write about it. From my frustrations with the diversity of clinical offerings when I was a law student, to the frustrations of many of my law students with the diversity of clinical offerings, to the many comments from others I heard that we, as clinical professors, choose cases that reflect our social justice leanings, I thought it appropriate to add my voice to the discussion. Honestly, I was invited to speak at a symposium and wrote this piece for the symposium. I genuinely (and, naively) thought it would be a sleepy little piece that allowed me to flesh out some arguments that had been floating around in my head. I never (ever) expected it to generate such controversy. In truth, I am uncomfortable in the spotlight and would have been perfectly happy for it to have remained a sleepy little piece. However, after so much discussion about it, I accepted that I reinvigorated a discussion about an issue many of us care deeply about, so I decided to “lean-in”. I wrote a companion piece that delves deeper into these questions that will be published in the Indiana Law Review next spring. Here’s hoping our wonderful clinical colleagues will continue to love me!

  1. As directors/supervisors of clinical programs, we all have hopes and dreams for what our programs can and could be.  You are the director of DePaul's Housing & Community Development Legal Clinic. What plans or goals do you have for your clinic during the next five years?

My clinic historically has focused on real estate and affordable housing. However, at my school, DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, more students practice business law upon graduation than real estate law, so I am expanding my legal clinic to incorporate more business and entrepreneurship into client selection. I have established a collaboration with our business school to build more businesses and we are also collaborating with our College of Computing and Digital Media to offer more services to businesses in the area.

  1. I'm a new clinician and always love hearing from those with more experience, so what's one "tip" you would give someone just starting out as a clinical professor?

Find your own voice in life, whether as a lawyer, a parent, or a professor. There are many models from which to choose, and while there are some clear ways to do this wrong, there are few clear ways to do it right. Listen to others, learn different techniques, contemplate and try out which works best for you, and then find, and trust, your own voice. 

  1. You've lived in Chicago for a few years now, can I safely assume you are a die-hard Cubs (or Sox!), Bulls, BlackHawks and Bears fan?  I grew up watching Michael Jordan fly, the Bears go to Super Bowl XX (and win!), and the Cubs continue to lose in the playoffs, so Chicago sports will always be near and dear to my heart.

Welllll, I am marrying a south-sider who happens to be a Cubs fan, teach students who are die-hard Packers fans, and live in a country with a President who is a Sox fan. So, my lesson learned is to cheer them all; that way, I don’t have to dodge Chicago snowballs as I go about my day.

October 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Conference on Standard 314 and Formative Assessment: ILTL and Emory, March 25, 2017

Via Prof. Kelly Terry:


 Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law

Spring Conference 2017


“Compliance with ABA Standard 314: Formative Assessment in Large Classes” is a one-day conference for law teachers and administrators who want to learn how to design, implement, and evaluate formative assessment plans.  The conference will be interactive workshops during which attendees will learn about formative assessment techniques from games to crafting multiple choice questions to team-based learning.  Participants will also learn ways to coordinate assessment across the curriculum.   The conference workshop sessions will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Emory University School of Law.

Conference Content:  Sessions will address the following topics:

Why Assess: Empirical Data on How it Helps Students Learn

Games as Formative Assessments in the Classroom

Formative Assessment with Team-Based Learning

Creating Multiple Choice Questions and Ways to Using Them as Formative Assessment

Coordinating Formative Assessment Across the Curriculum

Conference Faculty:  Workshops will be taught by experienced faculty: Andrea Curcio (GSU Law), Lindsey Gustafson (UALR Bowen), Michael Hunter-Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Heidi Holland (Gonzaga) and Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga)

Who Should Attend:  This conference is for all law faculty and administrators.  By the end of the conference, attendees will have concrete and practical knowledge about formative assessment and complying with Standard 314 to take back to their colleagues and institutions. Details about the conference will be available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law. 

Registration Information:  The registration fee is $225 for the first registrant from each law school.  We are offering a discounted fee of $200 for each subsequent registrant from the same school, so that schools may be able to send multiple attendees.  Details regarding the registration process will be provided in future announcements.

Accommodations:  A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Emory Conference Center Hotel for $159/night; at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown, Decatur for $99/night; and at the Decatur Holiday Inn for $159/night.  Reservation phone numbers are : Emory Conference Center Hotel: 1-800-933-6679; Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Decatur: or 1-404-371-0204; Holiday Inn Hotel Decatur 1-888-HOLIDAY.

October 6, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eviction Diversion & Civil Gideon

This Thursday, the 55th District Court in Mason, Michigan will call its Landlord-Tenant docket as it does each Thursday afternoon. There are 65 cases on the docket. Sixty Five tenants sued for possession under the laws of Michigan.

Our Housing Law Clinic at the Michigan State University College of Law will be there as well. Similar to other programs in Washington D.C. and other cities where law students represents consumers in housing matters, the Housing Law Clinic students come to court and represent the consumers before the court. Our clinic has been a partner with the District Court and the Michigan Department of Human Services for 4 years now. It is an idea that began when the city of Kalamazoo began a pilot program called the Eviction Diversion Program that set the tone for this path to more due process for low income residents in Michigan. Tenants, in some courts, would have lawyers in housing matters, and could avoid judgments and imminent eviction. DHS also provides some financial assistance to consumers who wanted to save their tenancies. 

The key to it all is cooperation between the court, the government, attorneys for property owners (and some property owners) Legal Services of South Central Michigan and our law school clinic. The judges of the court respect the right to counsel, would like to see due process occur in the legal system, and do not want to be the pipeline to homelessness.  MSU law students, eager to learn their profession, and even more interested in getting comfortable before courts, are engaged and are drawn to the program more and more each year. 

So on Thursday, our clinic will likely has 10-12 lawyers and clinicians ready to assist Michiganders. Legal Services of South Central Michigan will provide another 4 lawyers to assist. Considering that approximately half the tenants will appear (that is the average), any tenant wanting legal representation can have one. Just like criminal defendants who are charged with crimes each day. It is not a constitutional right yet (though it should be) but this is a small step towards a Civil Gideon.

As a result of the great example set by Kalamazoo, the Eviction Diversion Program has spread to other courts in Michigan, as it should. There was an attempt to implement the program in Eaton County District Court but it fell apart at some point. I was there on a few occasions and some of the lawyers for landlords complained angrily of the fact that tenants had lawyers now. Imagine. A lawyer complaining that someone has counsel ! It was one of the low moments in all of my experiences as a lawyer.

But overall, the Eviction Diversion Program has been mostly a positive experience. This past week, I received two inquiries from other jurisdictions in Michigan who want to do something similar in their courts on the landlord-tenant docket and would like some tips. Members of the program at the Mason Court also met with representatives from out of state (at their request) about starting a similar effort in their city.  This has been the norm so far; the negative experiences hardly outweigh this community commitment to equal justice way under the radar. 

October 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Access to Justice for Veterans. A Conference at Pepperdine University, Nov. 3-4, 2016

Please join Pepperdine University School of Law for Access to Justice for Veterans: Coordinated Responses of a Grateful Nation on Nov. 3-4, 2016. The conference will address coordinated community responses for veterans’ legal needs and complex intersecting issues. Speakers and conferees will discuss public and private responses in policy and practice, culture and law. The School of Law invites lawyers, academics, and professionals to participate with speakers representing diverse disciplines and institutions. Our nation faces a critical moment of reckoning and response to a crisis in veterans’ housing, health, and well-being. Pepperdine hopes that this conference can advance our communities toward restoration and honor for these public servants.  

Prominent keynote speakers, multidisciplinary panels, guided networking sessions, and concurrent sessions will address these complex issues and generate ideas for creative collaboration to address veterans. Thursday evening will feature the documentary, Thank You for the Service, and a talk-back session with some of the film-makers. Enjoy breakfast and lunch with others committed to justice and resources for veterans. 

Follow this link for more information and registration details: 

Vet Conference 4.1

September 29, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

CLEA Elections: Nominations Due Oct. 1

Via Prof. Anju Gupta:

Just a reminder that the CLEA Elections Committee—Anju Gupta (Rutgers School of Law), Steven Wright (University of Wisconsin School of Law), Erma Bonadero (University of Houston Law Center) and Tiffany Murphy (University of Arkansas School of Law)—is soliciting nominations of individuals to serve on the CLEA Board starting in January 2017. In addition, we are also seeking nominations for the Vice-President and Treasurer positions on the Executive Committee. Nominations are due October 1, 2016.

All positions require a three-year commitment. We have attached a memo prepared by last year's CLEA Elections Committee, which sets forth the activities and responsibilities of CLEA Board members in more detail.

Current CLEA members are invited to nominate themselves or other CLEA members as candidates for one of these positions. The committee also encourages “new clinicians” (defined as clinicians with fewer than 6 years of experience) to run for the CLEA Board. Our Bylaws create a separate election process for candidates identified as “new clinicians,” to ensure that the identified “new clinician” candidate who receives the greatest number of votes will be assured a place on the Board.

The Committee strongly encourages CLEA members to nominate individuals from groups that are currently underrepresented within the leadership of various clinical institutions, including CLEA, the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education, and the Clinical Law Review.

The nomination process is simple. Nominate yourself or someone else by replying to this email (please do not reply-all). If you are nominating yourself, please include a paragraph or two about why you are running and a link to your faculty profile, which will be included with the elections materials to be sent later in the fall. If you are nominating another CLEA member, there is no need to include such a paragraph; the name of the individual and institution will suffice, and the Election Committee will contact the nominee for further information. If you have fewer than six years of clinical teaching experience and wish to be identified as a “new clinician” candidate, or if you want to nominate a candidate for the “new clinician” category, please indicate that as well. Although the process of nomination is easy, our Bylaws set a strict deadline for receiving nominations. All nominations must be received by October 1, 2016.

If you have questions about the CLEA Elections process, please reply to this email or contact the Chair of the Elections Committee, Anju Gupta, at


Download Responsibilities of Members of the Board of Directors of CLEA


September 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

JOBS: UDC's General Practice Clinic and Externship Program

Via Prof. Kristina Campbell: 

Tenure-Track Clinical Professors 

THE UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DAVID A. CLARKE SCHOOL OF LAW (UDC-DCSL) invites applications for: (1) a tenure-track law professor to work in the School of Law’s General Practice Clinic, and (2) a tenure-track law professor to work in the school of law’s clinical law program and direct the externship program.  Both positions begin July 16, 2017.  We will consider exceptionally talented applicants at the assistant or associate professor level. Candidates must demonstrate a record of strong academic performance and excellent potential for scholarly achievement. Relevant experience and a demonstrated potential for outstanding clinical teaching is expected.     

UDC-DCSL is one of only six American Bar Association accredited law schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and is the nation’s only urban, public land grant university.   UDC-DCSL has a three-part statutory mission:

  • to recruit and enroll students from groups underrepresented at the bar,
  • to provide a well-rounded theoretical and practical legal education that will enable students to be effective and ethical advocates, and
  • to represent the legal needs of low-income residents through the School’s legal clinics.

The School of Law has been a leader in experiential and clinical education for more than 40 years beginning with its predecessor Antioch School of Law.  Every student completes two 350 hour clinical courses, as well as forty hours of community service.  UDC-DCSL offers nine legal clinics in the following areas: juvenile and special education; housing and consumer; general practice; community development; legislation; low-income taxpayer; government accountability; immigration and human rights and criminal defense. 

UDC-DCSL consistently earns high rankings for its diversity, clinical program, and public interest mission. U.S. News & World Report's “Best Law Schools 2016” ranked UDC-DCSL second in diversity in its rankings of 198 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association.  It also ranked UDC-DCSL seventh in the country for its clinical program in 2016. PreLaw Magazine has given an “A+” to the law school and ranks it the second most diverse law school in the nation for students and faculty.  The magazine also ranked UDC-DCSL #8 in its “Best Schools for Public Service” rankings. The 2016 edition of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 173 Law Schools” awarded UDC-DCSL top ten rankings in three categories: 2nd for “Most Chosen by Older Students”; 2nd for “Most Diverse Faculty”; and 2nd for “Best Environment for Minority Students.”  Through its robust clinic program, vast internship and externship options and the Summer Public Interest Fellowship program, UDC-DCSL has garnered the #7 spot for its government & public interest job placement rate nationally.

Although we will accept applications until the position is filled, we strongly encourage interested applicants to submit applications immediately. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume. UDC-DCSL has a strong commitment to diversity among its faculty and encourages applications from minorities and women.

Contact:  Professor Andrew G. Ferguson, Co-Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008.  (email: to Faculty Secretary, Ms. Loretta Young-Jones –

September 28, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Reminder: September 26 Proposal Deadline: 2017 AALS Clinical Conference RFP and Save the Date!

2017 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education

“Serving the Client in Tumultuous Times: Fostering Responsibility to Individuals, Communities, and Society in Clinical Legal Education”

Law Clinic Directors Workshop
“Leading in Tumultuous Times”

Friday, May 5 – Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Denver, CO

The 2017 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education will be held Saturday, May 6, through Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. The bi-annual Law Clinic Directors Workshop will take place before the start of the main conference, with events and programming on Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6.

We invite clinical educators to join us at the 40th Clinical Conference, and to consider submitting proposals for concurrent sessions, workshops, poster presentations, and working group facilitators.

Conference on Clinical Legal Education
Clinical legal education plays a critical role in defining and developing the skills, judgment, and values that future lawyers will need to fulfill their responsibilities to their clients and society. Clinicians prepare these future lawyers for practice in the face of declining law school admissions, pressures for more experiential courses, and increasing uncertainty in the job market. The communities we serve also face crises including hostile police-community relations, racial tension, bias against immigrants, loss of jobs and housing, and poverty—all while changes in national leadership, problems in national security, increasing inequality, and global instability compound these challenges.

In these tumultuous times, we must teach students transferable skills and abilities. They must be able to respond flexibly in their roles in a changing service profession that imposes multiple responsibilities, especially because most graduates will likely have several different jobs during their careers. These times pose extraordinary opportunities and challenges for lawyers as advocates for social justice and the common good.

Clinical legal education must both maintain and extend its focus on the fundamental facets of practicing law. At this 40th clinical conference, we will explore both new and trusted tools for teaching lawyering abilities and the responsibilities of lawyers to their clients, communities, and social justice.

The conference will offer a robust schedule of concurrent sessions to allow expansion of the conference theme and exploration of implications for differing experiential models. Participants will be able to focus on particular areas in working groups or pre-reserved workshops. A full slate of works-in-progress will provide room for scholarly analysis and feedback. Posters will be presented during an opening reception and will remain displayed throughout the conference. Participants will leave with new teaching tools, new ideas to improve their programs, and renewed commitment to meet the challenges of these tumultuous times as we move forward into the next 40 years of clinical legal education.

Request for Proposals

We are inviting proposals for concurrent sessions, workshops, poster presentations, and working group facilitators. Please click on this link for more information and an online submission form:

Law Clinic Directors Workshop
As law schools face increasing pressures to prepare students for post-graduate careers, law clinic directors are challenged to enhance their programming to include more practice areas and skills, often while assisting in the expansion of experiential learning programs throughout their curricula. The Law Clinic Directors Workshop will provide a supportive environment for clinic directors to engage in dialogue on challenges, plans, developments, and successes. Directors will share how they are addressing the pressures of new regulations, decreasing resources, and the many other complexities of these tumultuous times for legal educators and the communities served by clinics.

Planning Committee for AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education

Luz E. Herrera, Texas A&M University School of Law
Margaret M. Jackson, University of North Dakota School of Law
Lydia Johnson, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Paul Radvany, Fordham University School of Law
Alexander Scherr, University of Georgia School of Law
Robin Walker Sterling, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Carol Suzuki, University of New Mexico School of Law, Chair

Registration and hotel reservations will be available at a later date.

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Association of American Law Schools Advancing Excellence in Legal Education
1614 20th Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20009-1001
Phone: 202.296.8851
Fax: 202.296.8869








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September 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

RFP: Veterans Access to Justice Conference at Pepperdine, Nov. 3-4, 2016

Access to Justice for Veterans: Coordinated Responses of a Grateful Nation

Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, California

November 3 – 4, 2016

Request for Proposals

On November 3 and 4, 2016, the Pepperdine University School of Law will host a conference on access to justice for veterans.  The conference will address coordinated community responses for veterans’ legal needs and complex intersecting issues. Speakers and conferees will discuss public and private responses in policy and practice, culture and law.  The School of Law invites lawyers, academics, and professionals to participate with speakers representing diverse disciplines and institutions.  Our nation faces a critical moment of reckoning and response to a crisis in veterans’ housing, health, and well-being. Pepperdine hopes that this conference can advance our communities toward restoration and honor for these public servants.  

The organizing committee requests proposals for panel presentations to address and explore issues and questions at the intersections of access to justice, government benefits, private services, physical and mental health, housing, addiction, incarceration, and other complex issues affecting veterans. We seek diverse, collaborative, multidisciplinary, interprofessional panels and panelists.  

These panels will be 90 minute concurrent sessions. The organizing committee has confirmed several panels to date, and we invite proposals for up to four additional sessions.    Confirmed panels will address homelessness, domestic violence, and alternative sentencing programs. The organizing committee requests proposals to complement, contrast, and build on these ideas.

Please submit proposals by October 3, 2016, to Prof. Jeffrey R. Baker at   Proposals should be 300-500 words and should include contact information for the primary convener and should include the names of anticipated panelists, their respective fields and institutions.  

Please follow this link for event and registration information:

September 13, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings, RFP | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Midwest Clinical Legal Education Conference: Oct. 6-8 2016 at University of Tulsa College of Law

Via Prof. Elizabeth McCormick:


Teaching for Our Times

October 6–8, 2016

The University of Tulsa College of Law

Tulsa, Oklahoma


The University of Tulsa College of Law invites you and your colleagues to the 31st Annual Midwest Regional Clinical Legal Education Conference. Come to Tulsa to share ideas for engaging and inspiring today’s law students and tomorrow’s lawyers in the midst of a transformational time in legal education.

The conference is an opportunity to offer vision and share ideas for cultivating successful students who are well prepared for a professional career that will sustain them financially and emotionally, serve their clients and communities, and contribute to the quality of justice for everyone.

Among the rich array of topics that will be presented:

The Relationship Between Experiential Coursework and Bar and Employment Outcomes

Empirical Advocacy: Why Clinical Faculty Can and Should Conduct Empirical Research

Incubators: The Next Wave in the Access to Justice Movement

Vicarious Trauma and Vicarious Resiliency: Tools for the Social Justice Struggle

Dinner keynote on Friday, October 7, by Hannibal B. Johnson, attorney and author of Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District.

Register by September 6 to receive the best rate of $140; $155 per person after September 6 or $175 at the door.

See conference schedule & hotel info.

For more information, please contact Barbette Veit at 918-631- 5604 or

September 8, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Alternate Reality

Recently, I stumbled across an essay written by Heather MacDonald, a regular contributor to City Magazine, and a scholar at the Manhattan Institute. In the article, she posited that maybe law school clinics were stuck in the 1960’s. According to MacDonald, law school clinics had “triggered family breakdown” and had “unleashed an epidemic of crime in inner city neighborhoods.” In addition, according to MacDonald, law school clinics had "burdened entrepreneurs with unnecessary regulations.”

I am not surprised by MacDonald’s charges. Her writings in this area are consistent over the years. Her work strikes one as “anti-poor people” and “anti-black.” Yet, that doesn’t necessarily answer the question that her essay presented. What is it that made law school clinics so unique in the 1960’s and what about that period (that clinics continue to channel in their work) makes them unique and important now. It is simple: law school clinics pursue a fair and just system in the U.S. by trying to make the system work for all, not just some.

I am a product of a clinical law school (UDC-David A Clarke) and so for me, I have experienced clinical legal work from a variety of vantage points (clinician, director, colleague). There are all kinds of clinics these days but the clinics I am referring to are the clinics that assist new immigrants with their legal challenges, clinics that provide free representation to indigent individuals accused of crimes, and clinics that prevent (or try to prevent evictions).

There are, of course, many other types of law school clinics that seek equal justice and a fair and just system for their clients, but one still has to also ask: what is MacDonald referring to with her allegations that law school clinics “triggered family breakdowns” and “unleashed an epidemic of crime in inner city neighborhoods.” There is no basis for such allegations. Just as progressive policies were blamed for other problems in the 1960’s, the real failure of the 60’s was the lack of will and resources directed to the problem just when some progress was being made.

For example, many Americans are not aware that the poverty rate plunged from 22 percent to 11 percent during the 1960’s and early 70’s when poverty was attacked aggressively. In addition, black Americans secured, for the first time, basic rights and the criminal justice system was reformed to extend basic rights to individuals accused of crimes during this time period as well because activists and lawyers had the will to succeed and the support of the masses.

Yet, by 1973, under more conservative policies that MacDonald champions, the pushback began in America against progressive ideals, and the pursuit of a fair and just system stalled and receded. A different ideology would take hold in America and soon those who were disenfranchised began to be blamed for the problems created mostly by ideals rooted in 'neoliberalism.' These 'neoliberal' policies and approaches to governing have resulted in a widening gap in inequality in America, the incarceration of millions of people (disproportionately black) for non-violent drug offenses, wage stagnation, the destruction of organized labor, and a deterioration of the quality of life in many communities. 

All of this has potentially created more work for public interest lawyers and many law school clinics, though the damage is so severe now, it is not likely to improve absent a people’s movement for change outside the courtrooms and tribunals of America. Fact is, even with all of the great work each day by law school clinics, the task ahead is daunting and intimidating. We do what we can in the moment but mostly we are just trying to stop the bleeding.

September 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Breaking Into Clinical Teaching (From Jennifer Koh at ImmigrationProf Blog)

Our friend, Prof. Jennifer Koh, at ImmigrationProf offers great advice in her post Breaking Into Immigration Clinical Teaching.  It's good advice for immigration lawyers and others interested in clinical education. 

Here's an excerpt:

  1. Several Different Types of Clinical Teaching Positions Exist, and it Helps to Know Which One(s) You Want. A number of different types of clinical teaching positions at law schools exist today, with varying levels of job security, publication requirements, and additional faculty responsibilities.  They each have their pros and cons, and it’s helpful to know (roughly) which one might be a good fit for a person at the point in their career when they are considering a transition to clinical teaching. Roughly speaking, I’d divide them into the following five categories: (1) tenure-track or tenured faculty positions, (2) clinical tenure or long-term contract faculty positions, (3) adjunct faculty positions, (4) staff attorney positions, and (5) clinical teaching fellowships.  I provide rough explanations of each, with the caveat that every law school is different, such that some of the descriptions below may not apply universally.  Tenure-track positions for faculty typically exist at law schools that have made an institutional decision to create a “unified” tenure-track, in which professors whose primary teaching responsibilities are in a clinic are evaluated and promoted on a path towards tenure with expectations very similar to faculty who do not teach in clinics.  Almost always, tenure-track faculty members are expected to publish in law reviews, serve on faculty committees, and participate in all faculty votes.  Faculty with clinical tenure or long-term contracts, by contrast, may or may not be expected to publish.  Depending on the school and the terms of the position, faculty may be encouraged – but not required (and potentially, not supported) – in their scholarship endeavors.  Clinical tenure and long-term contract faculty may or may not be permitted to participate fully in certain faculty decisions, such as the hiring or promotion of their non-clinical colleagues.  Whether tenure-track, clinical tenure, or long-term contract faculty, the entire faculty of the law school must usually evaluate and vote on the appointment.  Adjunct clinical faculty (like adjunct faculty at any law school) generally have their own practices, but agree to supervise a limited number of students each term within their specialty area.  Staff attorney positions are typically non-faculty positions in which publication is not expected.  Staff attorneys’ primary responsibilities are usually to manage, support and grow the clinic’s docket and advocacy work.  Staff attorney positions often come with student supervision and teaching responsibilities.  Unlike most clinical teaching fellowships, staff attorney positions are typically not designed with an end goal of preparing the attorney for entry into the clinical teaching field.  Many staff attorney positions are permanent (as opposed to time-limited) positions.   Some staff attorney positions (and some clinics) are supported primarily or partly by “soft money,” such as grants and external funders, such that the job security may depend on the availability of outside funding for the clinic or position.  Finally, a number of law schools offer clinical teaching fellowships, which are typically term-limited, full-time positions designed to provide mentoring to the fellow to eventually obtain a clinical teaching position while the fellow provides case coverage and teaching support to the clinic.   At many law schools, adjunct faculty, staff attorneys and clinical teaching fellows do not require full faculty approval. 

    Some questions for one to consider, in light of these differing positions:  To what extent do you enjoy or have the aptitude for research and publishing?  To what extent is your resume consistent with your potential to publish?  What are your primary motivations for going into teaching? To what extent do internal hierarchies within your workplace matter to you?  What stage are you at in your career as a lawyer?  How geographically flexible are you? (Actually, this last point matters enough to warrant #2.). 

  1. Geography Matters. Quite a Bit.  The clinical teaching job market, like the overall job market for academic jobs, is pretty tight.  The drop in law school applications over the past several years has caused quite a few law schools to restrict their faculty hiring, and so being geographically flexible makes a big difference.  For folks who are willing to move anywhere (or most places) for their dream teaching job, participating in the American Association of Law Schools’ Faculty Recruitment Conference may make sense, as a number of law schools have hired for tenure-track and clinical/long-term faculty positions through the conference (also referred to as the “meat market”). But for attorneys who realistically cannot move, then cultivating relationships with the law schools in one’s area may provide a better route to developing some pathway to clinical teaching. If pursuing opportunities within a particular geographic area, personal relationships with existing faculty help, as they might lead to adjunct teaching opportunities or other collaborations with a law school.
  1. Publishing Helps, But May Not Be Critical. PhDs, LLMs are Probably Less Valuable for Clinical Teaching. As discussed in #1 above, whether one publishes really depends in large part on the nature of the position and the law school’s expectations of the clinician.  For tenure-track positions, demonstrating one’s potential for scholarship is generally required for the position.  For other positions, one’s track record as an excellent attorney, an innovative advocate, a leader in the profession, and an effective teacher may be the main criteria for the job.  That being said, I think writing helps, even if in less traditional forums such as practice guides or blogs.  Writing in an area that grows out of one’s practice experience or advocacy work is often a great place to start.  My sense is that obtaining an advanced degree such as a PhD or LLM is not particularly helpful for clinical teaching, since those degrees do not tend enhance one’s ability to teach practical skills (meaning, I wouldn’t recommend obtaining any of those degrees in order to prepare oneself for a clinical teaching position; better to spend the time writing, litigating a cutting-edge case, developing innovative lawyering, seeking out opportunities to work with law students, etc).   
  1. Clinical Teaching Fellowships? A Mixed Bag.  Many of immigration law professors directing clinics at law schools across the country have completed clinical teaching fellowships.  (I did mine at Stanford).  They can offer excellent experience for aspiring clinicians to gain teaching (and lawyering) experience, develop mentors and relationships within the legal academy, and start on their scholarly agendas prior to entering the law teaching market.  But clinical teaching fellowships cannot guarantee a full-time faculty position in this job market, especially if the fellow isn’t geographically flexible.  The pay tends to be low, and thus difficult for candidates without other sources of financial support.  Whether one pursues a clinical teaching fellowship may thus depend on the other factors outlined here.
  1. Don’t Discount the Serendipity Factor. As with much of life, one just never knows how things will unfold.  My sense is that timing and luck matter a lot in determining who gets which clinical teaching jobs.  Maybe a local law school happens to decide in a particular year to expand its clinic or receives funding to expand in the immigration area.  Maybe a full-time clinical faculty person retires.  When I initially interviewed at my own law school (through the AALS “meat market”), they were looking for an entirely distinct faculty role, but as our discussions progressed, a retirement was announced and I somehow had the opportunity to start an immigration clinic in Southern California.  

August 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Seeking New Writers for 2016-2017

The Clinical Law Prof Blog is inviting new voices to join our group of writers.  The vision of this blog is to create a forum and community for clinical legal educators to discuss new ideas, share announcements, reflect on our work, praise accomplishment, seek justice, and promote good teaching.

If you would like to write for the blog for 2016-2017 and beyond, please write me at my email below in the profiles.  We ask that you commit to one post per month at least, and these can range from major academic and theoretical pieces to short posts sharing announcements, events, job postings, or articles of interest.  We enjoy fiction and poetry, too!

Specifically, we would like to identify a writer who will curate and share regular law review articles on clinical education or by clinical professors.  We would also like to identify a writer to carry on the Five Questions series of interviews of clinicians. 

Whether you are new to this or an experienced veteran professor, whether you are at a highly ranked university or a scrappy regional law school, please consider adding your voice to this community. 

If you’re not already, please join the Clinical Law Profs Facebook group and follow @ClinicalLawProf on Twitter.

August 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

JOBS: Stetson Clinical Director

Via Prof. Cynthia Batt:


Director of Clinical and Experiential Education


STETSON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW may seek to fill a faculty position for Director of Clinical and Experiential Education beginning in fall 2017.


Our main campus is located in Gulfport, Florida, in the Tampa Bay area, the nation’s nineteenth largest metro area.  Stetson was established in 1900 and is Florida’s oldest law school.  Stetson has earned a national reputation for its advocacy, elder law, legal writing, and higher education programs, and has Centers for Excellence in many areas. We encourage potential applicants to visit our website at to learn more about our school, our community and our programs.


We welcome applications from candidates interested in serving as the Director of Clinical and Experiential Education.  Stetson offers our students more than 400 clinic and externships opportunities. Responsibilities include overseeing the development, implementation, and evaluation of the College of Law’s clinic and externship courses, establishing objectives and assessment procedures for clinical courses, working with faculty members who teach externships and clinic courses, and teaching. Stetson encourages applications from women, minorities, LGBTQ candidates, and all others who will contribute to our stimulating and diverse cultural and intellectual environment. All applicants must have a strong academic record and be committed to outstanding teaching and scholarship.


The Faculty Appointments Committee will begin reviewing applications on or around August 15, 2016. Candidates will be interviewed during the AALS 2016 Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington, D.C., although some interviews may take place at other times and locations.


Contact: Applicants should send a cover letter indicating teaching and scholarly interests, a current CV, and at least three professional references to Professor Candace M. Zierdt at or by standard mail to Professor Zierdt at Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL 33707.

August 18, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

JOBS: University of Arkansas - Fayetteville

Via Prof. Steve Clowney


The UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS SCHOOL OF LAW-FAYETTEVILLE, invites applications from both entry-level and lateral candidates for a tenure-track clinical faculty position to begin in the fall of 2017.

The law school is focused on hiring an individual who can build on and expand our successful Immigration Law Clinic.  All applicants for the position should have significant practice experience in immigration or asylum law, and some familiarity with supervising young attorneys.  Candidates should also have demonstrated scholarly promise, strong classroom teaching skills, and an absolute willingness to serve on school committees.  Any successful applicant will be expected to sit for the Arkansas bar examination. 

In furtherance of the law school’s fundamental commitment to experiential learning, clinical professors have full tenure rights and equal voting privileges on all faculty issues.

The University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, located in the northwest corner of the state, is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas. The University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution and welcomes applications without regard to age, race, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, religion, marital or parental status, protected veteran status, military service, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity.  Persons must have proof of legal authority to work in the United States on the first day of employment. All applicant information is subject to public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Applicants with questions may contact Professor Steve Clowney, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee,

August 17, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

JOBS: South Dakota: Low Income Tax Clinic Director, Lecturer

Via Assoc. Dean Tiffany C. Graham:  

Low Income Tax Clinic Director, Lecturer

The University of South Dakota School of Law invites applications for the position of Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Director. The position is non-tenure track and paid out of a federal grant beginning no later than January 2017. Continued employment is contingent on availability of grant funding.

The Director will lead the only LITC in South Dakota. Responsibilities will include representing low-income taxpayers before the IRS and the U.S. Tax Court, teaching and supervising clinical law students in the representation of clients, engaging in outreach to South Dakota communities, developing and coordinating a panel of pro bono attorneys, managing the LITC’s docket, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of an IRS-funded LITC.

We would be especially interested in candidates who have experience with an LITC or have some teaching experience. The grant period ends December 31, 2016, but is expected to be renewed for three years thereafter. The successful candidate must be a licensed attorney in a United States jurisdiction (a state or the District of Columbia) by the time of the appointment.

Applications for all university positions must be submitted through the Board of Regents electronic employment site: Include on the website: application letter, vita, and names and addresses of three current references.  Inquiries may be directed to Ramon Ortiz, Director of Experiential Learning, School of Law, University of South Dakota, 414 E Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069; e-mail; telephone 605-677-3922.  

For application assistance or accommodation, call 605-677-5671.Diversity and inclusiveness are values that are embraced and practiced at the University of South Dakota.  Candidates who support these values are encouraged to apply.  EEO/AA.

August 16, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)