Thursday, July 17, 2014
The International Journal of Clinical Legal Education just completed its 12th Conference titled “Clinic without Borders,” in Olomouc, a town in the Haná region of the Czech Republic dating back to the 10th Century A.D. The conference was co-organized with the European Network for Clinical Legal Education, and was held at Palacký University, which is nearly 450 years old, and is one of the oldest universities in Central Europe.
The conference was attended by nearly 200 law faculty members and social justice advocates from all over the world. Countries represented included Japan, Cambodia, China, Nigeria, Australia, Belarus, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Italy, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Poland, Russia, Georgia, Spain, Canada, Kenya, Hungary, Sumatra, Bali, Finland, Turkey, New Zealand, and more. Approximately ten percent of the delegates were from the United States and included faculty from the Catholic University of America, NYU, American, University of California, Cornell, University of New Mexico, University of Georgia, Columbia, Rutgers, Albany, Georgetown, Washington and Lee, George Washington University, Willamette, and more.
Themes included “Clinic in the Wider Curriculum,” “Growing Clinics around the Globe,” “Multi-Disciplinary Clinics,” “The Growth of Clinics in Europe,” and “Virtual Clinics,” and the papers presented ranged from “The Path to Clinics in the Middle East” to “Clinic in an Era of ‘Crisis’ for Legal Education” to “Developing a Cross-Border Clinical Legal Education Project.” It was a rich exchange of ideas, resources, and collaborative opportunities that reinvigorated many of those who participated.
One area of disappointment expressed during a debrief of the conference was the dearth of paper proposals submitted in relation to the theme of “Virtual Clinics.” According to Johnny Hall of Northumbria University (UK), digital technologies could easily become the “Fourth Wave” in clinical legal education. What caused the lack of interest in presenting on this topic?
One possibility considered is that clinical law faculty members are as uncomfortable with digital technologies as the rest of legal educators. Most of us have not been leaders in integrating education technologies into the law school curriculum, clinical or otherwise. At the same time, we recognized that many clinical faculty and students utilize digital technologies in our law school courses, practices, and lives almost every day in the form of email, course websites, word processing software and files, messaging, social media, digital document storage, internet conferencing, smart phones, tablets, laptops, Internet, scanners, practice management software, social media, clinic websites, digital recordings, and more. We just don’t think the use of these technologies converts our face-to-face clinics into “Virtual Clinics.” Thus, the issue may simply have been one of terminology in the “Call for Proposals.”
After all, we heard stories at the conference of law faculty who were actually operating clinics without a “bricks and mortar” home where students never actually meet their clients in person. Most of us who are integrating these technologies into our law school clinics still rely very heavily on the face-to-face interactions between students and clients and faculty and students that make the clinical experience so rich, especially in certain practice areas such as domestic violence, refugee law, child advocacy, family law, and more.
What would be the consequences both for our students and the populations we serve if we converted a significant number of law school clinics into “virtual” ones? On the one hand, we could better serve rural, disabled, remote, or international clients who normally would not have physical access to our law school clinics, but we also might start to favor certain practice areas such as business law that lend themselves better to remote representation than others. Having a virtual clinic could also exclude those individuals who are too poor to afford the technology needed to access the clinic. These are some of the consequences that we must consider as an educational community in the Digital Age and respond with awareness and intent in designing our courses and curricula within a world of rapidly changing technology and limited resources.
As we met at IJCLE’s 12th Conference and considered the technologies that we already have integrated into our clinical courses and practices in whole or in part, we recognized that many of us have not undergone the thoughtful and intentional design and due diligence that is normally so characteristic of clinical pedagogy. Why? What is it about technology that eschews intention, analysis, and reflection in the clinical community?
We may soon find out. The planners of IJCLE’s 13th Conference are considering organizing next year’s conference around this potential “Fourth Wave” in clinical legal education. The conference will be held July 22-28 in Turkey and will overlap with the meeting of the Global Alliance for Justice Education. Pencil the dates in your calendars now. Regardless of the topic finally selected, if it is anything like this year’s conference, it will be well worth the flight.
Friday, June 6, 2014
via Anne Hornsby
Hello, all! Hope summer is proving to be a great time for you, whatever your goal for the break from the regular school year routine. Please consider submitting a proposal for the Southern Clinical Conference scheduled for October 23-25, 2014, at William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia, to share your work, ideas and to stimulate discussion to further our collective missions.
I’ve attached the RFP, the cover sheet and template for proposals. Please send proposals to Laurie Ciccone at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 20th. Feel free to contact one of the committee if we can be of any help. Presenters from all regions are welcome, and if you haven’t attended before, it is a really fun conference, too.
Thanks and we look forward to your proposals!
(on behalf of the planning committee)
Patricia Campbell, University of Maryland
Anne Hornsby, University of Alabama
D’lorah Hughes, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Kendall Kerew, Georgia State College of Law
Lisa Martin, Columbus School of Law
Joy Radice, University of Tennessee
Daniel Schaffzin, University of Memphis
Alex Scherr, University of Georgia
Emily Suski, Georgia State College of Law
Thursday, May 22, 2014
By now, most of us have donned our academic regalia for commencement and wished our new alumni well on their bar preparations and the launch of their legal careers. Time to take a deep breath, plan your well-deserved family vacation, and drop off that seven-pound load of professional clothes at the dry cleaner (finally!). We now have twelve weeks ahead of us before we start ramping up for the Fall 2014 semester.
Twelve weeks? Not coincidentally, twelve weeks is just enough time to write a high-quality law review article. Now you might think that as clinicians we are not bound by scholarship obligations, and at your school you might be right technically, but the fact remains that we have chosen to work in a profession in which scholarship, not practice, is the coin of the realm. Thus, regardless of your school’s published criteria for the advancement of clinical faculty, you should consider using a substantial portion of your summer for scholarship so that your purse is full of academic currency.
If you want to get "rich" this summer, academically speaking, here are ten basic tips for productive writing:
- Even though classes may have ended, do not change your schedule. Go to the office every day, all day and write. Our academic associate dean here at Willamette once told me that the first step to being a productive writer is putting your backside in your chair and keeping it there.
- Block your time and be disciplined. I remember reading that we are only highly productive for a few hours per day. Identify what those hours are for you and schedule your writing blocks during those periods. During your writing periods, turn off email and close the Internet browsers. ALWAYS. Do not open them until your writing time has ended. Use the other four hours or so for less demanding work such as reading, researching, and answering emails.
- Quantify your writing. Some professors I know mandate that they write a certain number of words per day. Others require that they write for a certain length of time. Regardless of how you measure your output, set quantitative writing goals and allocate sufficient time to achieve them.
- Set qualitative writing goals. It is not enough to write a lot or even regularly. You must improve your writing through researching, outlining, developing, drafting, revising, proofreading, and external editing and feedback. Develop a 12-week writing plan that includes all of these stages to ensure that your work is high-quality. A resource to help you can be found here.
- Don’t wait for days of uninterrupted time. They will never come, or at least, not very often. Even during the summer, requests for letters of recommendation and bar references continue to stream in, some clinic cases are still active, and many of us are engaged in summer teaching, supervision, and are presenting at conferences. Do not let these prevent you from writing this summer. When I first joined the academy, I read a book about how to be a successful professor. It referenced a study that showed that professors who worked on their scholarship every day, even for just one hour, were far more likely to get tenure than those who wrote in blocks of uninterrupted time. So write every day.
- Ask for (and offer!) help. I suspect that many doctrinal law professors are introverts and many clinical law professors are extroverts (which is what makes our conferences such a riot!). The consequence of this is that we may need to develop writing partnerships or even writing support groups with whom we can talk about our writing, set goals, exchange drafts, and hold one another accountable.
- Write your first draft from your own ideas. One of the criticisms of my early academic writing is that my voice did not come through. I was lacking confidence and so would hide behind third-party authorities and quotations from “experts.” The suggestion of Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard Law School, for overcoming this very common characteristic in emerging academic writers is that we should write the first draft without reference to resources. Simply write your own ideas down and then build out from there. That way, your voice and ideas form the core of your piece.
- Tap into your passions. At a workshop for new clinical professors, I remember being in a working group about scholarship led by Philip Schrag. An intelligent young woman said that she did not have any expertise or ideas to share in scholarship. Professor Schrag spent just seven minutes asking her about her experiences and background and identified 3-4 topics for law review articles based on her interests and experience. Don’t undervalue your ideas and experiences. If you need to brainstorm, call someone. If you don’t know whom to call, call or email me (916-719-7796; email@example.com) and I will try to help you brainstorm or get you matched with a mentor.
- Remember that the prime submission cycles are August and late January/February. Plan to submit your summer work during those periods for the best placement. ExpressO is a popular portal for submitting law review articles to numerous journals simultaneously.
- If you would like to present your article in a supportive and scholarly workshop before submission to a law review, consider applying to the Clinical Law Review’s Writers’ Workshop to be held at NYU Law on September 27, 2014. The deadline for applying is June 30. More information and the application can be found here.
Now, enjoy your summer and write on!
Sunday, April 27, 2014
AALS Clinic Conference 2014 Chicago, IL
There are so many wonderful events and meetings at the Clincial Conference over the next few days; it can be difficult to keep track of it all!
Below please find a list of events shared via email but not necessarily listed on the official schedule. Apologies if any were unintentionally overlooked. Please feel free to leave additional event notes in the comments.
Learn, share, and most importantly - enjoy this time together!
Sunday, April 27th
5:15 PM Southern Clinical Conference Planning Meeting
Palmer House Lobby
7:30 PM Externship Social Dinner
Park Grill 11 N. Michigan Ave.
Monday, April 28th
7:30 AM Externship Business Breakfast Meeting
Notre Dame Law 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 250 Mezzanine
7:15 PM CLEA New Board Member Training
Notre Dame Law, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 250 Mezzanine
7:45 PM CLEA Board Meeting
Notre Dame Law, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 250 Mezzanine
Tuesday, April 29th
5:15 PM CLEA Membership Meeting
Salon 3, located on the 3rd Floor of the Palmer House
5:15 PM Veterans’ Clinic Interest Group
Potter’s Bar at the Lobby Level of the Palmer House Hilton
Wednesday, April 30th
12:00 PM AALS Town Hall Luncheon (Includes CLEA Awards Ceremony)
Friday, April 25, 2014
Last week at Pepperdine, in advance of the new admissions rules for the California bar, at the urging of our dean, the faculty approved new graduation requirements of 50 hours of pro bono work for students and 15 units of “practice-based, experiential course work.” These will be in effect for the incoming class of 2017.
These requirements track the new California bar rules for admission. The California State Bar’s Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform (TFARR) has established working groups to work out the definitions and procedures for implementing the new rules. There is more here.
The Task Force plans to work until September 2014 before issuing final rules. This is the text of the pertinent rules from the site:
Pre-admission: A competency training requirement fulfilled prior to admission to practice. There would be two routes for fulfillment of this pre-admission competency training requirement: (a) at any time in law school, a candidate for admission must have taken at least 15 units of practice-based, experiential course work that is designed to develop law practice competencies, and (b) in lieu of some or all of the 15 units of practice-based, experiential course work, a candidate for admission may opt to participate in a Bar-approved externship, clerkship or apprenticeship at any time during or following completion of law school;
Pre-admission or post-admission: An additional competency training requirement, fulfilled either at the pre- or post- admission stage, where 50 hours of legal services is specifically devoted to pro bono or modest means clients. Credit towards those hours would be available for “in-the-field” experience under the supervision and guidance of a licensed practitioner or a judicial officer. . . .
These are some of the outstanding issues for the implementation committees:
What does “pro bono” include? Will the rule limit pro bono to traditional legal services placements? Will the Bar track ABA Model Rule 6.1? Will be it broader or more narrow? Will it track New York’s rule that includes judicial externships, district attorneys and governmental law offices?
Will students be able to earn “dual credit” by taking a clinic or similar course that offers “practice-based, experiential course work” and pro bono services simultaneously?
Who will certify whether a course is practice-based and experiential? Will the Bar approve specific offerings or defer to law schools to determine which courses qualify?
Should a portion of the 15 units include clinics or externships? For instance, the committee is considering whether to require that 3 or 4 of the 15 units be in-house clinics or field placements.
Can substantive, doctrinal classes carve out a portion of the traditional podium course to include experiential components that can count toward the 15 units? For instance, could a contracts class provide .5 units toward the requirement by including a simulated drafting or negotiation component?
Can students satisfy all or part of the apprenticeship option during traditional summer work, and, if so, how will law schools be involved in the quality control and certification of compliance?
In future posts, I will describe the competing positions, my preferences and make some predictions.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A colorful grid detailing the program for the Law and Society Association’s 2014 Annual Conference in Minneapolis (May 29th - June 1st) is available online. Topics include: Access to Justice, Crimes and Victims, Disputes and Negotiation, Environment and Energy, Family and Youth, Feminist Jurisprudence, Gender and Sexuality, Human Rights, Law and Inequality, Legal History, Rights and Identities, Social Movements... Registration is still open.