Clinical Law Prof Blog

Editor: Jeffrey R. Baker
Pepperdine University
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Federal Education Loan Relief and Forgiveness: An Important Resource for Law School Graduates is at Risk

By: Kim Bart, Assistant Dean for Public Interest & Pro Bono at Duke Law School, and Isaac Bowers, Associate Director for Law School Engagement & Advocacy at Equal Justice Works

Class of 2013 law school graduates who took out loans to fund their legal educations accumulated an average debt of $109,756 according to U.S. News & World Report data. In taking on that level of educational debt, many law school students were aware of, and perhaps counting on, long-established federal loan repayment and forgiveness programs. Some of the programs, however, may soon be constricted.

President Obama’s proposed budget, released in March 2014, includes a proposal to cap the level of federal loan forgiveness at the aggregate loan limit for independent undergraduate students, which is currently set at $57,500. This may leave graduate and professional students, including law students, out in the cold. Congress is likely to take the issue up next year as part of its ongoing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Federal Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Programs
Federal loan repayment and forgiveness programs currently can help high debt borrowers in two main ways: (1) income-driven repayment plans set monthly student loan payments at an affordable percentage of borrowers’ incomes and allow cancellation of any remaining debt after 20 or 25 years; (2) Public Service Loan Forgiveness allows borrowers who commit to working in the public interest sector to earn forgiveness after 10 years of loan repayment. Only federal student loans are eligible for these federal programs.

The two most common income-driven repayment plan options are Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE). IBR has been available to borrowers since 2009. It caps most borrowers’ monthly loan payments at 15% of discretionary income, with discharge of the loan balance after 25 years. Borrowers with no federal student loan balance who receive loans on or after July 1, 2014 have a monthly payment cap of 10% of discretionary income and discharge after 20 years.

PAYE, which has been available since 2012, also caps a borrower’s monthly loan payment at 10% of discretionary income and allows discharge of the loan balance after 20 years. To qualify for PAYE, borrowers must have received a loan on or after Oct. 1, 2007 and have had no outstanding federal student loans at the time they received it, and must receive a disbursement of a federal loan on or after Oct. 1, 2011.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, the length of repayment is reduced from 20 or 25 years to just 10, in return for the borrower working in qualifying public interest employment. Qualifying employment includes work with federal, state, local or tribal government, or work with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The prospect of loan forgiveness after 10 years of loan repayment has allowed many high debt recent law school graduates to consider public interest or public service employment, even though starting salaries for the public sector are significantly below those of the private sector. Median entry-level salary for public interest employment hover around $48,000, according to the 2014 NALP Public Sector and Public Interest Attorney Salary Report. This compares unfavorably with a median first-year salary of $125,000 for private firms. PSLF allows high debt law school graduates to realistically consider devoting themselves to long-term public service legal careers. A cap on Federal Loan Forgiveness would have a deleterious effect on the ability of law school grads to successfully manage law school debt, and remove an incentive for lawyers to choose lower-paying, but much-needed, public service work over private law firm employment.

Learn More
To learn more, join the Equal Justice Works free live webinar: “JDs in Debt: What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” which will be offered on October 8th, November 25th and December 18th, 2014. To register, visit


October 1, 2014 in Clinic Students and Graduates, Current Affairs, Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Spring Conferences

There are some incredible conferences on the horizon!  Below is some information about two from the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning.  

Don’t forget to save the date for two spring conferences: February 28, 2015, Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning (see the announcement below) at UCLA; and June 13-14, 2015, Experiential Learning Across the Curriculum, at Gonzaga University School of Law, Spokane, WA.  The details, call for proposals, and registration information for the June conference will be forthcoming. 

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning is partnering with UCLA Law School for a Spring 2015 conference, featuring five professors from the What the Best Law Teachers Do book.  See below for conference announcement, we'll be back in touch with registration and accommodation information, and we hope to see you in sunny LA next February!

Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning

Spring Conference 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

 The UCLA School of Law and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (ILTL) are collaborating to present a one-day conference in Los Angeles on February 28, 2015. The conference theme is:  “Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning.”

Conference Structure:  The conference will include an opening and closing led by ILTL Co-Directors and Consultants, and five workshop sessions. Each workshop session will be presented by a teacher featured in What the Best Law Teachers Do. 

Conference Presenters: Workshop presenters include:

Patti Alleva (University of North Dakota)

Steve Friedland (Elon University)

Steven Homer (University of New Mexico)

Nancy Levit (University of Missouri – Kansas City)

Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA) 

By the end of the conference, participants will have concrete ideas for enhancing participation and inclusion in law school classrooms to take back to their students, colleagues, and institutions.

Registration and accommodation information forthcoming.

Looking forward to seeing all of you in UCLA and/or Spokane!


September 30, 2014 in Clinic News, Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Call for Papers: Conference on Advancing Equal Access to Justice: Barriers, Dilemmas, and Prospects

Conference on Advancing Equal Access to Justice: Barriers, Dilemmas, and Prospects

University of California Hastings College of the Law and Stanford Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School

November 12-13, 2015

San Francisco, California

Conference Scope and Purpose

This conference has both scholarly and practical objectives. Its focus is on identifying and redressing inequalities and dysfunctions within the United States civil justice system, with a particular emphasis on California. We are seeking papers that enhance our empirical and conceptual understandings of the most pressing short-term and long-term challenges affecting the accessibility, availability, and quality of civil legal assistance and representation for low and middle income individuals. We are especially interested in papers that propose specific civil justice policy and practice reforms and that critically examine not only direct benefits and costs but also potential overall societal and institutional consequences. We also want to review papers that rely on empirical research and/or new conceptual insights for critiquing and improving or altering our traditional legal processes and mechanisms including but not solely limited to courts. In meeting these objectives, we invite studies and proposals from abroad and other states as well as ones now being undertaken in California. In addition to the usual participants in discussions concerning access to justice, our target audience for the conference includes judges, legislators, other public officials, bar leaders, community activists from business, labor, minority, and grassroots organizations, and interested lawyers and academic colleagues.

Conference Format

The conference will take place over 1 ½ days. There will be opening, first-day luncheon, and closing luncheon speakers. The bulk of the program will consist of panel presentations and follow-up small group discussions. In this announcement, we are inviting proposals for research papers for panel presentations.

We anticipate that there will be three sequential panel sessions: The first will focus on proposals for making lawyers available at less or no cost; the second will examine ideas for improving self-help assistance and expanding the roles of non-lawyers; and the third will address issues concerning underlying political and legal conditions implicated when seeking to reform our civil justice system and potential short-term and long-term institutional consequences were specific reforms to become operational.

Each panel will have a moderator, two paper presenters, and a commentator. The moderator will be someone who is familiar with the specific subject matter and can place the research and reforms suggested into an overall framework for thinking about equal access to justice concerns. In reviewing panel presentation submissions, we hope to have proposals that collectively utilize a range of empirical and non-empirical research methodologies. The role of the fourth member on the panel will not be to counter what has been presented but to raise additional issues and concerns to be considered during the subsequent small group discussions.

Potential Research Paper Themes

We invite proposals on topics of your own framing consistent with the conference’s general purpose. Illustrative of our more particular concerns, we set forth below several specific themes and issues grouped by proposed panel presentation session. We are not seeking to cover all these matters but rather offer them as examples of potential research topics. As noted above, we anticipate only two research paper presentations at each panel session.

A. Availability and Accessibility of Lawyers

1. Techniques and limitations regarding the encouragement and provision of pro bono and low fee counsel: E.g., mandatory pro bono reporting; conditioned early admission to the bar; post-law school incubators through various organizations including law schools; overcoming lawyer-supply/client-demand discrepancies and inefficiencies.

2. Civil Gideon and fallback measures: E.g., constitutional and statutory prospects and obstacles; quantitative and qualitative reports on the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of targeted and limited expansion of the right to civil counsel within California and from other states and abroad; perspectives and approaches for determining when having a lawyer is likely to be most efficacious for clients and how to measure the utility or value of having a lawyer.

3. Legal aid practice and funding: E.g., precariousness of governmental, foundation and charitable funding; evaluating IOLTA programs; developing new sources of funding; rethinking client criteria for receiving free legal assistance; assessing the barriers to and benefits and costs of utilizing advances in legal technology.

B. Self-Help and Non-Lawyer or Mixed Models for Providing Legal Services

1. Restructuring legal practice: E.g., authorizing for-profit, nonprofessional corporations as providers of legal services; unbundling of legal services; establishing limited licensure; revising related ethical rules, principles and values; evaluating the quality, feasibility and costs of services provided through legal insurance and by entities such as LegalZoom; critically examining assumptions regarding the insufficient availability and uneven distribution of lawyers.

2. Triaging legal services—where, when, how and for whom: E.g., developing standards for determining who gets what kind of service; measuring the impact of differentiated types of service; establishing and evaluating screening and referral mechanisms; rethinking the roles of judges and non-judicial personnel at the courthouse; drawing on lessons from the healthcare profession.

3. Improving self-help measures: E.g., examining client self-awareness of potential civil law situations; evaluating the effectiveness of online programs that provide referral or substantive information, downloadable forms, or formal documents filing; assessing developments in legal self-help publishing.

C. Underlying Structural and Consequential Institutional Implications

1. The relationship of the justice gap to inequalities of income and demographic differences: E.g., measuring the justice gap; comparing outcomes in family law or other selected subject areas taking into account the availability of counsel or the lack thereof and also income status; tracking the accessibility and quality of legal assistance by race, ethnicity, gender and geography; ethical and social implications of an existing and/or widening justice gap; redressing language, cultural and disability barriers.

2. Societal and institutional consequences of shifting away from resolving disputes in adversarial and/or public proceedings: E.g., examining the jurisprudential and political effects of such a shift presently and prospectively; comparing due process protections and equality imbalances in adversarial and inquisitorial proceedings drawing on court case studies from abroad and administrative agency examples domestically; weighing the jurisprudential and practical effects of trial judges assuming an enhanced role as legal and social services facilitators; re-conceptualizing and reconfiguring the courthouse as a place for seeking legal assistance and related services; identifying and assessing the impacts of such changes for law schools and legal education.


Individuals interested in presenting a research and/or policy reform panel session paper should submit a prospectus summary of no more than a 1000 words describing the paper’s proposed topic, themes, and research methodologies by no later than Wednesday, November 12, 2014. This summary should be sent as an email attachment to the conference organizers— Mark Aaronson, Juliet Brodie, Joseph Grodin, Deborah Rhode, Lucy Ricca, Gail Silverstein, and Nancy Stuart

A near-final draft of the paper, for review by the conference organizers and program speakers and panel participants, will be due on Monday, October 5, 2015. Travel expenses will be paid for individuals whose papers are selected for presentation at the conference. There is also the prospect that the papers presented will be considered for publication in a symposium issue of the Hastings Law Journal or Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly.

September 29, 2014 in Conferences and Meetings, RFP | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Clinical Law Review Writers' Workshop a Success!

Flights across the U.S. were snarled on Friday due to a fire affecting O’Hare, but system-wide flight cancellations and delays could not keep nearly 100 clinical faculty members from descending on NYU School of Law yesterday for a scholarship boot camp experience, but with kinder, gentler drill sergeants.  The annual event aims to support clinical faculty at all levels in their scholarship endeavors. 

As every clinical professor knows, publishing regularly is especially challenging in light of the significant supervision and practice-related responsibilities inherent in our positions.  The Clinical Law Review Workshop was created to help support clinical faculty in overcoming those challenges in order to become and remain high quality scholars.  The workshop is organized around small, thematically-focused groups.  This year there were fifteen groups ranging in topics from business law to juvenile justice to tax law.  All participants apply to participate in the late spring and commit to complete a draft of their articles by September 1, when they exchange drafts with their group members.  They read one another’s drafts closely and then spend most of the day together offering constructive critiques, asking provoking questions, and sharing thoughtful suggestions to help take each paper to the next level.  Every group is moderated by a more senior clinical faculty member with significant publishing experience.

At the end of the day, all of the participants come together for a gloves-off  session providing tips on how to keep writing and place the papers that will soon be finished.  Kate Kruse of Hamline presented the results of a study by Robert Boice on scholarly productivity that showed that professors who wrote every single day produced four times as much scholarship as a control group who wrote in blocks of time (64 pages versus 17 pages).  Those who wrote daily AND were accountable to another person for reporting their writing time were over nine times as productive as those who wrote in blocks of time (157 pages versus 17 pages).  Michele Gilman of Baltimore reviewed the submission cycle, submission strategies, and provided links to resources such as Writing for and Publishing in Law Reviews found here and a law review template to format one’s article before submission.  She even explained the influential power and significance of the asterisk footnote and why one might consider denoting on one’s CV or professional biography when one is writing for a symposium issue.

This is my ninth year as a professor and the second time I have participated in the Clinical Law Review Workshop—first as a junior professor and now as a mid-level professor.  Both times I received feedback that fundamentally changed the scope and framing of my research and learned submission and publication tips and strategies that I believe have and will continue to make a difference in my scholarship.  I will be back.

There are few professional experiences that are as positive and invigorating as a day immersed in our national and international clinical community—participants came from Croatia, Brazil, Poland, Arizona, Wyoming, D.C., Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and many more.  As Mary Helen McNeal of Syracuse University observed on the clinic listserv today, ours is an especially “supportive and caring community.”  The Clinical Writer’s Workshop, under the leadership of Randy Hertz of NYU, is an annual reminder that these values and attitudes are not limited to how we treat our students and clients, nor is it limited to our teaching and supervision--it is how we treat one other and our scholarship.

If you have not yet participated in the Clinical Writer’s Workshop or have not done so recently, I strongly encourage you to keep an eye out for the application information next spring.  Keep in mind that, historically, the event has been free thanks to the generosity of NYU School of Law and there have even been a limited number of scholarships available to help offset travel costs, which helps to ensure that the workshop is affordable and inclusive.    

In the meanwhile, keep writing every day, remember to create accountability for your writing time with a friend or colleague, and know that there is a large and caring community here to support you, not just with your teaching and supervision, but with your scholarship as well.

September 28, 2014 in Conferences and Meetings, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Student Life, Relationships & the Law: Confronting Domestic Violence in Higher Education, Oct. 10 - 11, at Pepperdine University School of Law

Please join us at the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu on October 10 -11, 2014, for Student Life, Relationships & the Law:  Confronting Domestic Violence in Higher Education, a conference to address domestic violence and intimate partner violence on college campuses.   National leaders from fields across academia will discuss legal, cultural and educational strategies to confront and reduce abuse, coercion, sexual assault and violence among students in dating violence.

You may register and learn more here.  

Colleges and universities face a critical moment of reckoning and response to violence and abuse among students. One-third of college students report having experienced violence and abuse by a dating partner. One quarter of all women in college experience sexual assault, and sixty percent of acquaintance rapes occur in dating relationships. One-third of college students report having physically assaulted a dating partner. The problems and costs of violence and abuse among dating partners are epidemic, but they are preventable. 

Panels will address campus culture, student life, policies and procedures, coordinated campus interventions, Greek and residence life, Title IX and Clery Act compliance, and intersectional dynamics across domestic violence, gender-based crimes and sexual assault. 

These are our speakers and the schedule planned for the conference: 

Friday, October 10

Welcome  - Dean Deanell Reece Tacha and Professor Jeffrey R. Baker

Panel 1: Title IX and Intimate Partner Violence on Campus

Prof. Leigh Goodmark, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, convener

Prof. Nancy Cantalupo, Georgetown University Law Center

Prof. Jill Engle, Penn State University Dickinson School of Law

Nada Moeiny, Pepperdine University,  Office of the General Counsel

Keynote Address: 

Dana Bolger,  Founding Co-Director of Know Your  IX and ED ACT NOW Campain Organizer

Panel 2: Intersectional Perspectives on Sexual and Domestic Violence on Campus

Dr. Alesha Durfee,  Arizona State University School of Social Transformation, convener

Dr. Joanne Belknap , University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science, School of Sociology

Prof. Deborah Weissman, University of North Carolina School of Law

Jasmine Lester, Founder and Director, Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault

Saturday, October 11

Panel 3: Clery Act Compliance and Effects on Domestic Violence

 Prof. Margaret Drew, University of Massachusetts School of Law, convener

 Lamea Shaaban-Magana, University of Alabama, Women’s Resource Center

 Kathleen Echols, University of Alabama, Women’s Resource Center

 Allison Dearing, Campus Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator,  Crisis Center, Inc., serving University of Alabama – Birmingham, Miles College, Birmingham-Southern College and Samford University

Panel 4: Campus Culture and Coordinated Institutional Responses to Domestic  Violence

Prof. Tanya Cooper, University of Alabama School of Law, convener

Prof. Kelly Behre, University of California, Davis, School of Law                  

Prof. Yoli Redero, Vanderbilt University Law School

Alison Tartaglia, West Virginia University, The Students’ Center of Health 

September 22, 2014 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 19, 2014

JOBS: University of New Mexico School of Law

Via Prof. Camille Carey, behold this job posting from the University of New Mexico School of Law for a tenured or tenure-track position in the UNM Clinical Law Program: 

The University of New Mexico ("UNM") School of Law invites applications for a faculty position in the UNM Clinical Law Program. The Clinical Law faculty position is a full-time tenured or tenure-track position starting in Fall 2015. Entry-level and experienced teachers are encouraged to apply. The Clinical Law Program is recognized as a national leader in clinical education and is consistently ranked a top clinical education program.

UNM's nationally recognized legal education program features innovative classes that combine practical skills training with doctrinal instruction, a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and one of the most ethnically and racially diverse faculties and student bodies in the country. The University of New Mexico (UNM) provides a diversified package of benefits including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance. In addition, UNM offers educational benefits through tuition remission and dependent education programs.

Minimum Qualifications: Candidates must possess a J.D. degree or equivalent legal degree.  Preferred Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include a record of demonstrated excellence, or the promise of excellence, in teaching and academic scholarship and who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success, as well as working with broadly diverse communities.  The University of New Mexico is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and Educator.

Here is the link to apply:

For Best Consideration:    09/29/2014   



September 19, 2014 in Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Position Announcements: Housing/Consumer Clinic and Legislation Clinic Directors, UDC-DCSL

The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL) is seeking applicants to direct the School of Law's Housing/Consumer Clinic and Legislation Clinic. We will be interviewing for these positions at the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 17-18, 2014. Please feel free to circulate the attached announcements widely.


UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DAVID A. CLARKE SCHOOL OF LAW (UDC-DCSL) invites applications for an assistant/associate professor to direct and supervise students in the School of Law’s Housing/Consumer Clinic. The professor will teach clinical students D.C. tenant law, trial advocacy, and pretrial litigation. The clinic handles a wide variety of litigation matters including tenant cases, consumer cases, tort cases, discrimination cases, administrative cases, and a selection of other pedagogically valuable civil cases. Relevant experience includes a demonstrated knowledge of tenant law (D.C. preferred) and excellent skills in jury trial and civil pre-trial litigation, including civil, administrative, and appellate procedure. A demonstrated potential for outstanding clinical teaching is expected. The rank of the position will depend upon the successful applicant’s level of experience. The candidate should be a member of the D.C. Bar or be able to waive into the D.C. Bar.


UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DAVID A. CLARKE SCHOOL OF LAW (UDC-DCSL) invites applications for an assistant/associate professor to teach in the School of Law’s Legislation Clinic. The professor will teach students the skills necessary for effective legislative advocacy and provide them with opportunities to work on projects that produce law reform through the legislative process. The rank of the position will depend upon the successful applicant’s level of experience. Candidates must hold a J.D. degree with a record of strong academic performance and excellent potential for scholarly achievement. Relevant experience and demonstrated potential for outstanding clinical teaching is expected.

The mission of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is to recruit and enroll students from groups under-represented 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 District of Columbia residents through the school’s legal clinics. UDC-DCSL is one of only six American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). UDC is the nation’s only urban, public land grant university.

UDC-DCSL is ranked seventh in the nation in Law School Clinical Programs (US News and World Report, 2014); first most diverse law school in the U.S. (National Jurist, 2012); first most chosen by older students (Princeton Review, 2014); 2nd most diverse faculty (Princeton Review, 2014); third for clinical opportunities (PreLaw Magazine, 2011); eighth best environment for minority students (Princeton Review, 2014); eighth most liberal students (Princeton Review, 2014); Top 20 most innovative law school (PreLaw Magazine, 2012). UDC-DCSL has a strong commitment to diversity among its faculty and encourages applications from minorities and women.

Although we will accept applications until the position is filled, we strongly encourage interested applicants to submit applications immediately for complete consideration. Interested candidates should apply online at

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, DC 20008; e-mail:

September 19, 2014 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships, Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland, the Rule of Law and the Training of Lawyers

Today, Scotland is voting for independence from the United Kingdom.   Parliament has permitted the plebiscite, and the Queen is staying neutral on the vote.   This is remarkable.   It is a testament to the Rule of Law and the advance of representative democracy that this moment rests on a vote of the people of Scotland.    Yes or No, a vote of self-determination stands in stark contrast to centuries of war between Scotland and England.  Hadrian’s Wall was a barrier between Rome and Scotland, and neither the Emperor, the Pope nor the Crown has been particular attentive to the will of the people for most of two millennia of history on their island. 

The Magna Carta was first executed in 1215, and as we approach a big anniversary, here are the people voting for independence.  The vote will count, and there is not a threat of war.   We know something about war with England, and our Declaration of Independence is a legal document setting forth grievances and claiming relief consistent with the Magna Carta, the limited sovereignty of the Crown and English common law.   The Americans were asserting their rights as British subjects, and independence was the remedy.   In 1776, the Crown did not abide by the will of the people who sought their own sovereignty.  

This moment in history is rare and beautiful, whatever the outcome.   It is adherence to the Rule of Law, not violence.   It is the shifting vicissitudes of politics and economics, manifest in a popular election that gave rise to an initiative authorized by a legislature to welcome a vote on a matter of sovereignty and national standing.   Through decades of political organizing within a constitutional system centuries in the making, a nation gets to vote on independence, without risking a war. 

Last week at our law school, we hosted a judge, lawyers and students from the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.  I sat beside an English judge and mooted an appellate argument between English and American law students, and we all understood the work at hand, the law and the process of making Common Law.  We owe our traditions of the Rule of Law and representative democracy and mixed government to British lawyers, and this fascinating, historic day drives home to me the critical importance of teaching lawyers. 

Lawyers are the operatives of the Rule of Law.   We shape, manipulate, reform, advocate, organize, negotiate and criticize the law.  When we exploit our power and influence, we invite violence, vigilantism, instability, injustice and war.   When we do our work with integrity, courage and excellence, we invite trust and submission to the Rule of Law.  The expanding Rule of Law, opening a place at the table for more and more people to participate in the system, promotes peace, justice and prosperity.   Access to justice accelerates the vision of our Founders in 1776 and the Barons on Runnymede in 1215, that the people might be their own sovereigns.   This liberty exists only if the people bear the burden and opportunity of their own government.  

The Preamble of the ABA Model Rules on Professional Conduct calls lawyers “public citizens,” with an obligation to ensure the expansion of access to justice, of representation in the system that would govern them and us.    Trust in the Rule of Law, trust in our system of justice, trust in republican, representative democracy, all depend on the people’s access to justice and the political system.  

For better or worse, the burden of this trust rests on lawyers who are the expert gatekeepers and practitioners of our common, constitutional life.    Whether we prosper in peace and democracy or whether we descend into cynical, self-serving war depends on the lawyers.   Teaching and training lawyers is a high calling.  We are not training mercenaries bent on profit.  We are training public citizens upon whom the social order rests.    

September 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Professor Sarah Deer Is a MacArthur Fellow!

I admit that the one email I dread every September is the announcement of the MacArthur Fellows --nothing like feeling totally inadequate three weeks into the new school year by reading about the exceptional accomplishments of this extraordinarily creative and hardworking group of individuals.  I personally much prefer the announcement of the Darwin Awards. 

But this year when I saw the dreaded email from the MacArthur Foundation, I quickly noted that the clinical community’s own Sarah Deer has been selected!  Professor Deer is on the faculty of William Mitchell College of Law and is co-director of their Indian Law Clinic.  She is a tireless advocate who has been instrumental in developing legal protections for Native American victims of domestic violence.  A description of Professor Deer’s work can be found here.  A full list of this year’s MacArthur Fellows can be found here.  Congratulations, Professor Deer, on a truly extraordinary and well-earned distinction!        

September 16, 2014 in Clinic News, Clinic Profile, Current Affairs, Domestic Violence, Faculty Profile, Family Law, Job Opportunities & Fellowships, Promotions, Honors & Awards | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Generation U

Last week, The Economist published an article called "Generation i."  The “i” was not a capital “I”—a reference to self-centeredness, a characteristic we often assign to the next generation coming of age, both out of a reflexive stereotype, as well as with an enduring familiarity with the characteristics of late adolescence.  Rather, it was the more humble and humbling lower-case “i,” and referred to one of the most ethically confounding components of the law school curriculum today:  externships.  The Economist article referred to externship by its synonym, “internship,” (hence, the “i”) and considered the—ideally, educational and professional—experience in the context of a global trend in which internships have become widely required for entry into the most elite professions, such as law, finance, corporate management, journalism, and government. 

The Economist article highlighted that with the rise of internships expected prior to hiring, the market has also seen an increasing number of these internships being unpaid, which effectively serves to segregate poor potential interns from wealthier ones.  After all, it is far more difficult for a poor student and her family to support her for several months while she works for free.  But it gets worse.  As legal educators are well aware, many young people not only have to work for free, but they have to pay to do so in today’s market.  In the case of law school students, some will be paying $15,000 or more to work full-time in law offices off-campus over the course of one semester.  Is there a point at which this becomes exploitative?

One generation ago, in the late 1990s, I racked up approximately 3,500 hours of law practice experience between my first day of law school and my graduation day and was paid close to $100,000 in the process.  If one were to add in my field experience with human and children’s rights, my experiential hours would have approached 4,000.  Of those, only approximately 100 were earned through a law school-sponsored externship.

What did my law school do while I was off campus getting thousands of hours of legal experience?  It treated me like an adult and tried to support me with flexibility and funding.  It granted me a one-year leave to take a paid position working in an international law firm in Tokyo, let me complete my third year in another law school on the other side of the country where I clerked at the law firm where I happily spent the first eight years of my legal career, gave me two grants to support my field work in children’s rights, and allowed me to spend a January term researching child labor in Asia.  In other words, the school allowed me a significant amount of freedom to design an educational and professional experience that worked for me as an individual.  In exchange, I took my law school classes seriously, participated actively in the law school community, paid full tuition for three years, and despite the income I earned, still graduated six figures in debt with a studio apartment overlooking a parking lot and driving a 1987 Volkswagen Jetta.  But I had experience and purpose and was positioned to launch, so I was happy. 

Can we offer law students similar opportunities to individualize their legal education and professional development today?  I think we can.  The ABA’s recent decision to stop limiting law students’ ability to work more than 20 hours a week is a step in the right decision, as is the standard requiring law schools to mandate that students take more experiential courses.  But, these changes do not go far enough.  In today’s market of declining enrollment for law schools, some deans will be tempted to balance the budget on the backs of students and satisfy the experiential course requirements by offering low-quality externship opportunities. Every law school in the country must resist the temptation to allow our students to mortgage their futures with government-backed student loans in exchange for the “opportunity” to work for free off campus without substantial support from the law school.

Instead, law schools should see the new ABA standard requiring six credits of experiential coursework as an opportunity to strengthen and diversify course offerings that have long been neglected in the legal academy.  These offerings should include a variety of law practice simulation courses leading into multiple clinical practice opportunities followed by a successful externship placement or paid clerkship that could lead to a permanent job offer, such as those described in last week’s article in The Economist.  In other words, we need to ensure that our students are competitive to launch in a market very different than you and I entered one or two generations ago. 

At every stage of this learning process, law schools should ensure that experiential course offerings are high quality and well-resourced, even when they occur off campus.  When a student writes a check for thousands of dollars to a law school to work for free, the law school has a heightened moral obligation to ensure that the student has adequate support and supervision from the law school to help ensure that the experience is truly educational and professional and the student is successful.  The student should complete the semester, or at his or her least law school career, feeling that, even in a market that many of us fear is increasingly exploitative, the law school had the student’s back.  Law schools should not be seen as part of the exploitation and class stratification of “Generation i” being witnessed on a global basis. 

Instead, we should transform our approach to “Generation i” into “Generation U,” getting to know our students individually, discovering their dreams and aspirations, and then helping to design an educational and professional program that is all about them.  Sometimes that will mean providing high levels of support, other times, it will mean just getting out of their way, but always it should include high-quality choices, both academic and experiential.  In doing so, let’s ensure that internships are all about education with our students at its core—in other words, a capital “U” bringing together us, the University, and You, our students.   

September 14, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Did the Rule of Law Explode?

Yesterday domestic violence was the focus of my clinic class.  Along with several guest speakers who practice victim advocacy law,  I urged my law students to practice self-care and to anticipate vicarious traumatization in this work.  We discussed resilience, and balancing holistic lawyering with appropriate lawyer-client boundaries.  We brainstormed stress management activities ranging from running to retail therapy. 

And today I am sad.  Nearly despondent at times.  You wouldn't notice it from my professional demeanor, but I'm aching inside.  The sky looks exactly the same today as it looked that morning thirteen years ago when the world changed.  The morning the D.C. federal courthouse where I worked was evacuated and my boss and I discussed how long we could "get away with" staying in the building to finish up some pressing work.  The morning I could not reach my boyfriend to tell him I was safe, and knew in that same moment that I would marry him and help raise his children who had lost their mom three months earlier to the day. The morning I wondered what the rule of law meant if we were abandoning a federal courthouse where we could see the Pentagon burning from our office window.

Sometimes I still wonder what the rule of law means, where it takes us as a society, how it serves us.  I hope it means we get a little better about self-governing every day.  That we continue to define societal expectations about what constitues behavior punishable by criminal sanction or enforceable by civil court order. 

Twenty years ago the United States Congress passed groundbreaking federal legislation with the Violence Against Women Act.  Life and the law under the VAWA is far from perfect.  But it's better.  My students can lean on the state statute authorized by the VAWA to gain protective orders for their clients. Tomorrow, one of them will do that at a hearing in a small, beautiful state courthouse that on September 11, 2001 did not have to be evacuated.  There will be protective order hearings in my old courthouse in D.C. too.  We went back to work within a few days, and the rule of law proceeded.  As shall we.

September 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Measuring Learning Outcomes and Competencies

The new ABA accreditation standards are out, and we’ll need to start making adjustments to how we assess what our students learn.     The standards are intended to move law schools in the direction of learning outcomes, while still requiring certain inputs into the law school learning environment.  The word “competency” makes its debut in the standards (appearing three times) and the phrase “learning outcomes” debuts with ten appearances.

Most notably, according to revised standard 301(b), a “law school shall establish and publish learning outcomes.”  Revised standard 302 takes areas of law and practice in which we are currently required to “provide instruction” and mandates that we now establish learning outcomes in those areas:


A law school shall establish learning outcomes that shall, at a minimum, include competency in the following:

(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;

(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;

(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and

(d) Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.”

New standard 315 states that we must conduct ongoing evaluation of our learning outcomes and assessment methods:


The dean and the faculty of a law school shall conduct ongoing evaluation of the law school's program of legal education, learning outcomes, and assessment methods; and shall use the results of this evaluation to determine the degree of student attainment of competency in the learning outcomes and to make appropriate changes to improve the curriculum.

Many in the clinical community have become accustomed to evaluating and measuring student performance, so these changes present less of a sea change and more of an opportunity to re-examine and upgrade our practices.

I am lucky to work in an interprofessional context in which I can learn from my psychology and social work colleagues, whose accreditation standards have long required competency based educational models.  The National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology bases its model on six measurable core competencies.  The Council on Social Work Education has identified ten core competencies which are defined as “measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills.”

While we at the Interprofessional Center have been engaged in interprofessional practice for over a decade, our assessment tools have remained focused on our individual disciplines.  Each supervisor evaluates her or his  students by discipline specific tools.  Over the past year, we have been looking to the health professions for models for identifying and assessing interprofessional collaboration competencies.  As a result, we have been learning not only from other health professions, but from each other in terms of how to assess our students’ development.  Relying very heavily on the work of others, we have modified and developed a set of Interprofessional Collaboration Competencies and are working this year to implement and measure them with our students engaged in practice.  Stay tuned for more on how we are trying to accomplish that task.

Virgil Wiebe, University of St. Thomas (MN)

September 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Why Flunking Exams is Actually a Good Thing."


Over the past year, I have been working with my undergraduate institution's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Initiative (SoTL). Throughout this effort, I have been amazed while learning about various methdologies used among other discplines. Conversley, at times, I have been driven into the depths of despair (slight exageration) at the woefully inadequate measures of my own, and a fair amount of law school, teaching.  

I found this most recent article, passed along from SoTL, to be illuminating, and I wanted to share it with my clinical colleagues (who I am now "tagging" with the responsibility of continuing to pass the article along to other educators).  

In sum, the article is based on a recent study by Elizabeth Ligon Bjork, professor of psychology at UCLA, and postdoc research associate, Nichoals Soderstrom, who found that pre-testing students (helping them realize how much information they are lacking from the start), can be effective for improving academic performance and retention.  "Bjork’s experiment suggests that pretesting serves to prime the brain, predisposing it to absorb new information."  

It's incredible how such a seemingly simple flip can have a significant impact in the classroom....This article, along with my SoTL work, have made it very clear that I have "miles to go before I sleep..." 


The author of the New York Times article is Benedict Carey.  [On a side note, apart from reporting for the Times, Mr. Carey  also has a book coming out later this month "How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where and Why It Happens."]

September 8, 2014 in Books, Interdisciplinary Programs, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 1, 2014

JOBS: California Western School of Law

For your Labor Day reading, a job posting, courtesy of Prof. Greg Reilly of California Western School of Law


CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW in San Diego invites applications for an entry-level, tenure-track faculty position to begin in the fall of 2015.  Our curricular needs are in Family Law, Business Law, and Clinical Teaching.  We are particularly, though not exclusively, interested in candidates who are interested in teaching in our Clinical Internship Program, as well as in one of the above-mentioned subject areas.   Candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our faculty are strongly encouraged to apply.  Interested candidates should email their materials to Professor Scott Ehrlich, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at  California Western is San Diego’s oldest law school.  We are an independent, ABA-approved, not-for-profit law school committed to producing practice-ready lawyers.  California Western is an equal opportunity employer.

September 1, 2014 in Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Let’s Dance

“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.” ― Nelson Mandela

My father was hiking in Mammoth Lakes with his wife, their 5-year-old daughter, and one of his cross-country runners last month when he unexpectedly had a heart attack and died.  He was 75 years old and still went to work six days a week, eleven months a year.  He had just arrived for a high altitude training camp for his runners.  It was his favorite week of the year in a job he loved.

The only thing he loved more than coaching was his family.  Thus, at the age of twenty, when he had his first of seven children, he began a lifetime tradition of packing up our entire family (and often a couple of neighborhood friends), driving us to the 405, and asking, “North or South, East or West?”  We never knew at the beginning of these month-long vacations whether we would wind up in the Canadian Rockies, a Kansas farm belonging to a third cousin, or the White House.  These summer journeys became our sacred time--a time to rejuvenate, reflect, and cocoon as a family, away from work and school.

When I learned of my father’s death, I was in the midst of one of these sojourns with my older sister and our two families.  We had just arrived in Ireland for a work-free week of family vacation. Somehow I had managed to complicate my first two weeks away from campus with two law conferences, a grant application, the presentation of two papers, and several professional meetings with potential collaborators.  Needless to say, I am no John Binford. 

Returning to campus three days after my father’s burial, I immediately threw myself headlong into work—focusing on meeting the end of summer writing deadlines, and preparing to survive the late August tsunami of students and clients and committees.  I became friends with midnight and a stranger to my children. 

Transitioning from work to sleep one early morning, I read the following article in Times Higher Education (“THE”) on the link between relaxation and work, which reminded me that working longer hours can often compromise productivity, not increase it.  It brought to mind a New York Times essay I read last year that cited similar research.  Somehow between infancy and high school, I became caught up in America's "Busy Trap," and here in mid-life, I have still not learned to break free.  Was this busy-ness compromising my productivity as a professor?  Did it make me a poor role model for my students?  Was I missing out on motherhood because I mistakenly thought that working 14 hours a day would make me more successful or helpful to those in need or a better provider or whatever it is that is driving me?

What would happen if we stepped back and experimented with some new approaches to productivity, such as those suggested in this Forbes article?  What if we set aside three hours a day, away from our students and family and clients and colleagues just to write, and broke those hours into 90-minute blocks?  What if we made it a priority to sleep at least eight hours a night?  Should we turn off email for hours at a time as suggested in this New York Times op-ed?  What if we silenced all notifications when we wanted to think or needed to meet with people?  Could we stop sleeping with our iPhones next to us?  Better yet, what if we declared our time away from work a digital-free zone?  Would that make us smarter, more present, productive, efficient, relaxed?  Is it possible to be at peace with not at least trying to answer every email every day?  Would it possibly make us more professional to manage our time and communications more proactively, rather than go through life with an “Always Open” neon sign across our chests?  Maybe my dad was right about the sanctity of summer vacations.  Should we, could we stop trying to work on vacation?  According to NPR, adults need recess, too.  What about dancing and singing and loving?  Will these make us better teachers, scholars, attorneys, people?  Maybe we should find out.

Care to dance with me this semester? 



August 28, 2014 in Science, Teaching and Pedagogy, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

RFP: 2015 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education

The AALS Request for Proposals for Concurrent Sessions, Workshops, Poster Presentations and Session Moderators for the 2015 Conference on Clinical Legal Education, via its email to members of Aug. 25, 2014:





2015 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education

Leading the New Normal:

Clinical Education at the Forefront of Change

Request for Proposals for:

- Concurrent Sessions

- Workshops

- Poster Sessions

- Session Moderators


DEADLINE: Friday, October 3, 2014

          The 2015 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education will be held from Monday, May 4 to Thursday, May 7, 2015, at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California. The bi-annual Clinic Director's conference will take place before the start of the main conference on Sunday, May 3 and Monday, May 4.


          The Conference Planning Committee seeks proposals for concurrent sessions, workshop sessions, and posters. We also seek volunteers to serve as session moderators for working groups.


          We invite proposals from individuals or multiple presenters for all categories of presentation at the conference.*   We encourage faculty who have not presented before or who have not presented in the past few years to submit proposals. We also encourage collaboration across institutions. Proposals are due by the close of business on Friday, October 3, 2014. Selections will be made and participants notified by November 7, 2014. All proposals should be emailed to by the October 3rd deadline, and include "Proposal for 2015 Clinical Conference" in the subject line of the email.


* Full-time faculty members and fellows of AALS member law schools are eligible to submit proposals. Fellows should include a CV with their proposals. The following individuals may participate as panel members, but may not submit proposals: faculty members at fee-paid non-member schools; international faculty; visiting faculty (without a full-time position at an AALS member law school); adjunct faculty members; graduate students; and non-law school faculty.


Concurrent session presenters, workshop leaders, poster presenters and session moderators must pay the registration fee and are responsible for their own expenses related to attendance at the Conference.




I. Conference Theme


          Legal education confronts a period of intense change. These changes include drops in enrollment, a market downturn in jobs for graduates, transformations in law practice, and a rethinking of the roles of and the need for lawyers. Some argue that law schools must address these changes or lose control over legal education. Proposals to eliminate the third year, to revamp the traditional curriculum, to graduate "practice-ready" lawyers, and to permit students to take the bar early, all act as the forward edge of reform in legal education. A "new normal" seems to be taking hold.


          Clinicians have long been at the forefront of change in legal education. From the early years of CLEPR, clinical legal education has led in developing new models for pedagogy and in advancing social justice. The sheer growth of this conference evidences the expanding presence and influence of clinical faculty on legal education. At many schools, clinical and field placement faculty have been asked to take the reins of change: not just in clinical courses but in other parts of the curriculum; and not just in individual courses, but in the sequence and structure of the curriculum as a whole.


          This conference will explore whether and how clinicians should lead in the "new normal" of legal education. Definitions of the phrase stress how "a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation . . . has become standard, usual, or expected" or describe "a current state of being after some dramatic change has transpired." We hope to hold conversations that will help us to understand and to engage productively with the situation we now face.


          Plenaries and concurrents will be organized along three broad themes: (1) What is the New Normal?; (2) What is the Role of Clinicians in the New Normal?; and (3) What is the Future in the New Normal?


          Before turning to specifics, we recognize that many of the most useful sessions at these conferences share ideas about how to keep doing what we do best. Clinicians who have had success in teaching, supervision and service delivery in any clinical setting are now, as always, welcome to present their developing strategies and techniques and to help participants develop their skills as clinical teachers. In short, while we ask you to focus proposals towards the conference theme, we will review all proposals with this more general criterion in mind.


Track One: What is the New Normal? 


          This track focuses on the new realities that profoundly affect legal education in general and clinical education in particular. We will ask how law schools and clinicians are responding to calls for reform in legal education, the problems of reduced resources, declining enrolments, and an uncertain job market. We seek proposals for concurrent sessions that frame and describe the "new normal", either directly or implicitly, through new approaches to teaching, service delivery or course design. We encourage presenters to describe and assess how they have adjusted their work to new realities, thus helping participants to respond to change at their schools. Proposals can also focus on institutional concerns, including the impact of the "new normal" on staffing, status and diversity of clinical faculty and of clinical legal education. 


Examples of possible Track 1 Concurrent Session Topics

  • How do or should law schools frame the "new normal"? Clinicians at schools that have struggled with institutional questions posed by the new context could create sessions that help participants understand and contribute to their own school's responses to this new context.
  • What effect has the "new normal" had on clinics and externships? Has it altered the role that clinic and field placement courses play in the overall curriculum? Concurrent sessions might introduce participants to ways to rethink and redesign their programs or to integrate them with other parts of the curriculum.
  • Have changes in the job market impacted how clinicians design and deliver their work, including course content, interactions with students and partnerships outside the law school? Proposals could focus on the challenges of teaching for transfer beyond the clinic experience, on ways to engage other stakeholders in the training of students, or on the special role that clinicians play in career counseling with students.
  • Is "practice-readiness" a useful outcome for legal educators generally and clinicians specifically? Do we mean to create "practice-ready" lawyers in our work as clinicians, or is the concept either too simplistic or too complex to be useful? Presentations might present particular ways that clinics can address the pressure for "practice-ready" lawyers, and help participants understand how "practice-readiness" can help (or hinder) their efforts as clinicians.
  • How does the "new normal" affect the staffing of clinical courses, and the status, participation, voice, and compensation of faculty who work in clinics? A concurrent could work with CSALE or other data to help clinicians understand possible alternatives in staffing. Clinicians at schools with different patterns of hiring clinical faculty could help participants identify and deploy strategies for the hiring of clinical faculty at their schools.


Track Two: "What Role Should Clinicians Play in the New Normal?"


          Clinical programs are at the center of the reform movement in legal education. We may at last have become "normal." Our methods are now well-accepted and are being adopted and adapted, for better or for worse, in new ways. We are being asked to take leadership roles in legal education in ways that are unfamiliar to many of us and troublesome to some. We must also ask whether and how the "new normal" affects our long-standing commitment as social justice educators. Concurrent sessions can help participants to better identify and achieve the goals of our work in this new context.

Examples of possible Track 2 Concurrent Session Topics

  • As teachers with particular expertise in helping students to learn from experience, what roles/responsibilities should we take on in our schools? Teachers who have succeeded or failed in taking on the added responsibility of teaching the traditional faculty and others in the clinical method can help participants to understand how to do this at their own schools.
  • What are the potential costs/risks of clinicians taking on a leadership role in the "new normal"? People from schools that have appointed a "Dean of Experiential Education" or that are considering whether to do so might engage us in how the move affects our clinics, our students, our clients, and ourselves.
  • What are the risks and benefits of the "new normal" to our clients, their communities, and our social justice mission? Is it possible both to grow our programs to meet student demand and to maintain our commitment to high-quality social justice lawyering? Presenters who have addressed these issues might engage us in strategies for achieving social justice goals while serving a larger, more anxious, and more ideologically diverse student population.
  • What are the risks and benefits to our pedagogy of taking on a more expansive role in the "new normal"? Particularly in light of the proliferation of experiential opportunities across law school curricula, is there a risk to the future of the in-house clinic itself? Clinicians might develop a panel that considers the importance of maintaining the traditional model and identifies the various threats to that model that the "new normal" poses. Clinicians could also help participants assess different ways of integrating and sequencing different clinical methods.
  • How should we address the challenges of resource limitations in the design of our programs? People who have struggled with creating programs at lower cost or adapting existing programs to accommodate more students might help others who face these questions brainstorm the related problems and to find better solutions.


Track Three: "What is the Future in the New Normal?"


          On this track, we look at the future in the "new normal," both for the practice of law and for legal education. Concurrent sessions in this track should help us anticipate and prepare for what's coming next. As to law practice, we hope to address how clinical and field placement faculty can understand the rapid and profound technological change that could well remake law practice and how those changes can advance our work for social justice. We want to explore how changes in service delivery and structure of law practices can and should impact our work both in clinics and in field placements. And we hope to address how clinical and field placement faculty can better use technological advances and insights from learning sciences in their work.


Examples of possible Track 3 Concurrent Session Topics

  • Clinics have a role to play in responding to changes in the practice of law as it relates to client representation. A panel in this track could present a particular vision of how law practice will change, and help participants plan their courses to prepare students for that change.
  • How can clinicians be at the forefront of framing a "new normal" for legal practice and social justice lawyering in the face of technological change? Concurrents help participants understand ways to integrate new and existing technology into their work for clients: for example, by navigating the physical distance between clients and lawyers. Concurrents on this track could provide tools for clinicians to rethink program design in light of innovations in technology.
  • How can clinics prepare students to be entrepreneurial in solving access to justice or other social justice issues? Clinicians could describe how different schools have met success in encouraging a more entrepreneurial approach by students, and help participants to transfer those successes to other contexts.
  • The pace of technological change also affects law school teaching generally and clinical teaching specifically. How can clinicians adapt new technology into their teaching? Demonstrations and explanations of particular teaching approaches (the flipped classroom, video, MOOCs, or remote externship supervision) provide potential topics for concurrents. Sessions could also address how different approaches to technology can aid and alter our interactions with students, including tools for clinical practice and for assessing and giving feedback to students.
  • How can clinicians use knowledge and experience from multiple disciplines and social perspectives to shed new insight on barriers to legal empowerment? Multi-disciplinary clinics present particular opportunities and challenges; concurrent sessions can help participants understand how these collaborations work, and how to identify and develop multi-disciplinary opportunities at their schools.
  • How can clinicians use new ideas in design theory to connect people to law, legal information, and legal services? We encourage proposals that describe new and innovative approaches to making this connection, and that help participants assess ways they might use this approaches at their own schools.


II. How to Make a Proposal


          The conference starts Monday, May 4, 2015, with a Law Clinic Director's conference from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The opening plenary for the main conference occurs that evening from 6:00 - 6:45 p.m., followed by the AALS reception with poster presentations. The conference continues with sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, and ends with lunch on Thursday, May 7. It will include full plenaries, mini-plenary sessions along the three tracks, concurrent and poster sessions, working groups, and in-depth, multi-session workshops. Participants may follow along one track, or mix and match mini-plenary sessions and concurrent sessions to best fit their goals for the conference. 


A. Concurrent Sessions


          The Committee seeks proposals for concurrent sessions to develop the themes presented along the different tracks. The conference provides five time periods for concurrent sessions: Tuesday, May 5 from 9:45 - 11 a.m. and 2:45 - 4:00 p.m.; Wednesday, May 6 from 9:00-10:15 a.m.; and Thursday, May 7 from 8:30 - 9:45 a.m. and 10:00 - 11:15 a.m. Submission of a concurrent session proposal includes a willingness to have that proposal scheduled in any of the concurrent session time slots. 


          Submission guidelines for concurrent sessions


          To propose a concurrent session, send an e-mail to attaching your proposal. Each proposal should contain the following four elements:

  • Description, including goals and objectives for the session: A one (1) page proposal description. Include how you intend to draw on the theme of the conference and its three tracks. Please specifically identify the goals for the session and the learning objectives for the attendees of the session.
  • Takeaways: Where you have in hand documents (such as rubrics, surveys, evaluation forms, or schematics) or materials (such as a syllabus, bibliography, or teaching exercise instructions), please include them with the proposal.
  • Structure: Include your ideas about the structure of the session; the ways in which it will be engaging and interactive, which can include time for self-reflection and processing through quick writes or thinking time; and whether you plan to use other teaching methodologies or aids. Whatever teaching methodology you employ, we ask that you do it in furtherance of your goals and learning objectives for the session. The planning committee encourages presenters to be creative in their approaches to these sessions. Ideally, these sessions will deepen attendees' engagement with the conference themes while maximizing individual or group participation and utilizing technology, and/or techniques such as demonstrations, role plays, and audience exercises.
  • Presenters: Identify all individuals who you expect will participate in the session, including the identity of their institution, whether the person comes from another discipline or has interdisciplinary experience, and any other information about the person(s) that you think relevant. We encourage presenters to collaborate with clinicians from other institutions. Also, for each presenter, please indicate whether the person has presented at the AALS Clinical Conference in the past two years, and, if so, the title of the session, and whether the session was a plenary or concurrent one.


B. Workshops


          In 2014, the Clinical Conference offered a small group of people the chance to explore the topic of clinic design over the course of several working group time slots during the conference. The workshop allowed participants to explore the topic in depth, over the course of four sessions, rather than in single concurrent session.


          The workshop format was successful. We hope to expand the number of these workshops in the 2015 Conference, which will take place during the working group session time slots. Conference attendees will be asked to identify whether or not they would like to participate in a workshop as part of their conference registration. Workshop groups should convene remotely before the conference to prepare for their in-person work during the conference. Some workshops may take place in two sessions, while others may take four sessions.


          We solicit those with an interest in leading a workshop in two ways: for identified topics; and for new topics.

  • Identified topics: We have identified several subjects that may be ripe for workshopping, listed below. We solicit people interested in planning, organizing and delivering workshops on:
    • Clinic design: setting the goals and structure for a clinical course, including problems of implementation and evaluation;
    • Supervision: understanding and developing the working relationship between clinician and clinical student;
    • Assessment and feedback: different approaches to assessing student performance and to delivering assessment to students;
    • Creating teaching videos: how to create video teaching materials, including both the creative process and advice on technology.
  • New topics: in addition to the topics identified by the Planning Committee, we also solicit other ideas for workshop topics. We will review new topics for their breadth of appeal and their suitability to a multi-session format.


          Leading these workshops will require more time and preparation than a typical concurrent. Workshop leaders will play a major role in designing workshop content for either two or four 75-minute sessions and in preparing for the workshop before the conference. We plan to enroll participants for workshops in advance, and will encourage workshop leaders to assign materials to participants and to convene them remotely before the conference begins.


          Finally, we encourage proposals from groups of workshop planners and presenters. Workshop leaders should be prepared to work with the Planning Committee to identify other participants and session leaders for the proposed workshop. We expect to ask that workshop leaders work in teams with others interested in the same topic.


          Submission guidelines for workshop leaders


          To volunteer as a workshop leader or to propose a workshop, please send an e-mail to stating your interest. Each proposal should address the following criteria:

  • Identify the workshop topic on which you want to present, whether one we identify above, or a new one.
  • If you propose a new topic, include a short one-paragraph statement of why you propose this topic for the workshop format. In your statement, please address why you think your topic has a broad appeal and/or why it is particularly suited to the multi-session workshop format. Please also indicate whether you think this new idea requires four sessions, or can work in two sessions.
  • Identify the people who will collaborate with you on the workshop, if you know them. Make sure to specify who the contact person for your group will be.
  • These workshops will be successful only if workshop leaders have a background with the topic and a history of reliably delivering high quality conference sessions. Please identify your qualifications (and those of other proposed leaders) for leading the particular topic. These qualifications could include: scholarship on the topic; a history of presentations on the same or similar topic; past experience developing sessions for other conferences; and/or a demonstrated experience in the particular subject of your proposal.


          The Planning Committee will consider all proposed workshop leaders, and will decide on leaders based on all of the proposals that we receive.


C. Poster Sessions


          The Opening Reception on Monday, May 4, 2014, provides an opportunity for presenters to display posters and discuss their materials as conference participants circulate. The posters will remain on display in the general session room during the rest of the conference. Poster sessions, an integral feature of professional conferences for many disciplines, allow for wide participation and for greater dissemination of information beyond a single concurrent session. Posters are particularly useful for presenting descriptive information or other material not well presented in the more interactive format of a concurrent session.


          Submission guidelines for poster sessions


          To propose a poster, send an e-mail to Please submit a one (1) page description of your proposal, your specific goals for the poster, how the poster relates to the conference themes and the objectives, or takeaways, you have for each attendee who engages with your poster. Please identify all individuals who you expect will be participating in the poster presentation and any other information you believe is relevant. Bear in mind that many universities offer assistance in poster design and printing.


          You can find good tips on creating posters, with examples, at and at


D. Session Moderators (formerly "Working Group Leaders")


          Working groups facilitated by session moderators will be organized by clinic subject-matter, affinity groups, and mixed groups to share ideas and reactions and to engage in problem-solving.


          The scheduling of working groups will be a bit different from recent conferences. The number of subject area groups that the annual conference can accommodate is always limited by the number of smaller-sized rooms available at the hotel. As a result, small and emerging groups have had difficulty achieving recognition as working groups. This year we will have a larger number of groups, but will only guarantee each group a room for two of the four available time periods. We expect to be able to hold open a group of rooms for those groups who do want to meet for all four sessions. Groups that want to meet more than twice can request additional meeting rooms and times, or can meet in public spaces at the conference facility.


          We solicit volunteers to serve as moderators of these working sessions. In the past, we have entitled this role "Working Group Leader," but the designation does not reflect the hard work and importance of the role to the success of the conference. Each session moderator will be identified by the subject matter of his or her session; for example, "Criminal Law Session Moderator" or "Externship Session Moderator."


          Session moderators will be asked to talk before the conference to prepare for the group; to facilitate their working sessions; and, if necessary, to arrange for additional meeting space beyond the two slots that we guarantee.


          Submission guidelines for session moderators


          To volunteer to serve as a session moderator, send an e-mail to Please identify the subject areas you would be comfortable moderating. Please state whether you have served as a session moderator (or working group leader) in the past, how often and in which areas. We attach a list of proposed working group subject areas at the end of this RFP.


E. AALS Section on Clinical Education Committee Meetings:


          We will reserve three slots on different days of the conference for committee meetings of AALS Clinical Section Committees.



III. Conclusion


          To submit a proposal for a concurrent session or a poster session, and to express an interest in serving as a workshop leader or as a session moderator, please send the information we have requested to no later than the close of business on Friday, October 3, 2014.


          If you have questions, please feel free to contact any member of the Planning Committee. Thank you for reading this far, for your interest in the conference, and for all the work you do.





2015 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education

Planning Committee


Kimberly Ambrose

Claudia Angelos

Eduardo Capulong

Michele Pistone

Laura Rovner

Alex Scherr, Chair





2015 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education


List of Areas for Working Sessions

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Appellate Litigation

Civil Rights/Discrimination/Race

Clinic Administrators

Community Economic Development

Community Lawyering

Criminal Law

Critical Theory

Education Law

Elder Law



Family/Child Advocacy

Family/Domestic Violence

Family Law

Gender / Gender Identity / Sexual Orientation

Health and Disability



Interdisciplinary (Medical/Legal)

International Human Rights

Juvenile Law (Criminal)

Legislative/Policy Lawyering

Poverty Law

Scholarship Support/Development

Securities Arbitration


Transactional Law/Small Business





August 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Participation: 12th Annual LatCrit-SALT Junior Faculty Development Workshop

From Dr. Saru M. Matambanadzo of Tulane University School of Law, please see this Call for Participation in the Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT Junior Faculty Development Workshop.  The FDW is a yearly effort to support junior faculty and aspiring faculty whose work is committed to critical and progressive perspectives. 

Call for Participation
Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT

Junior Faculty Development Workshop

October 9, 2014

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV

LatCrit, Inc. and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) are pleased to invite interested participants to the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop (FDW), immediately preceding the SALT Teaching Conference.  This annual workshop is designed for critical, progressive, and social justice oriented pre-tenure professors, including clinicians and legal writing professors, as well as those who may be contemplating a teaching career.  However, we also encourage more senior members of the profession to attend, share their experience, and serve as resources and mentors.

The FDW is designed to familiarize critical, progressive, and social justice oriented junior faculty with LatCrit and SALT principles and values and support them in the scholarship, teaching, and service aspects of professional success.  In addition, the FDW seeks to foster scholarship in progressive, social justice, and critical outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory, among new and junior faculty, students, and practitioners.  Finally, the FDW aims to cultivate a community of scholars interested in the continuation of this and similar projects over the years.

To facilitate community building through shared experiences and the exchange of ideas, we strongly encourage all participants to attend the entire workshop.                                                                          

If you have questions about the workshop or would like to attend, please email  Although we will make efforts to accommodate all interested participants, RSVPs are strongly suggested by September 30, 2014

August 26, 2014 in RFP | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Call for Papers: Applied Feminism and Work

From Prof. Margaret Johnson of the University of Baltimore School of Law, please see this Call for Papers for the Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference: 



The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  This year’s theme is “Applied Feminism and Work.”  The conference will be held on March 5 and 6, 2015.  For more information about the conference, please visit

As the nation emerges from the recession, work and economic security are front and center in our national policy debates.  Women earn less than men, and the new economic landscape impacts men and women differently.  At the same time, women are questioning whether to Lean In or Lean Out, and what it means to “have it all.”  The conference will build on these discussions. As always, the Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice to effectuate social change.  The conference seeks papers that discuss this year’s theme through the lens of an intersectional approach to feminist legal theory, addressing not only the premise of seeking justice for all people on behalf of their gender but also the interlinked systems of oppression based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, immigration status, disability, and geographical and historical context.

Papers might explore the following questions:  What impact has feminist legal theory had on the workplace? How does work impact gender and vice versa?  How might feminist legal theory respond to issues such as stalled immigration reform, economic inequality, pregnancy accommodation, the low-wage workforce, women’s access to economic opportunities, family-friendly work environments, paid sick and family leave, decline in unionization, and low minimum wage rates?  What sort of support should society and law provide to ensure equal employment opportunities that provide for security for all?  How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the role of the state and the private sector in relation to work?  Are there rights to employment and what are their foundations?  How will the recent Supreme Court Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn decisions impact economic opportunities for women?  How will the new EEOC guidance on pregnancy accommodation and the Young v. UPS upcoming Supreme Court decision affect rights of female workers? 

The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories.  We hope to deepen our understandings of how feminist legal theory relates to work and to move new insights into practice.  In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers. 

The conference will begin the afternoon of Thursday, March 5, 2015, with a workshop.   This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees as participants in an interactive discussion and reflection.   On Friday, March 6, 2015, the conference will continue with a day of presentations regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to issues involving health.   The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar, and NOW President Terry O’Neill.

To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday, 5 p.m. on October 31, 2014, to  It is essential that your abstract contain your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address where you can be reached.  In the “Re” line, please state:  CAF Conference 2015.  Abstracts should be no longer than one page.  We will notify presenters of selected papers in mid-November.  We anticipate being able to have twelve paper presenters during the conference on Friday, March 6, 2015. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review.  Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume.  Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication.  Regardless of whether or not you are publishing in the symposium volume, all working drafts of symposium-length or article-length papers will be due no later than February 13, 2015.   Abstracts will be posted on the Center on Applied Feminism’s conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees.   Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate, as well as meals. 

We look forward to your submissions.  If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Margaret Johnson at

August 20, 2014 in Conferences and Meetings, RFP | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Opportunity at University of Ulster

Ciaran White, Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of the Ulster Law Clinic at the University of Ulster, has asked me to share this opportunity with the clinical community.  The University of Ulster is hiring a permanent Lecturer in Law to be associated with the Ulster Law Clinic at the Jordanstown campus, seven miles north of Belfast (at the base of the South Antrim Hills).  Details can be found here.

 If you have not been to Belfast recently, it is undergoing dynamic transformation as a result of the reconciliation efforts being made by many.  It is now the safest city in the United Kingdom, and has a rich and vibrant culture with strong Irish, Scottish, and English influences.  The complex political and economic history in the region makes the award-winning Ulster Law Clinic ideally situated for those committed to access to justice, especially in peaceful post-conflict settings.  There continue to be socio-economic disadvantages faced by large segments of the population, and there is a concerted effort to create a more just and integrated society. 

 In addition to the engaging setting of this opportunity, the opportunity to collaborate with someone like Ciaran White is exceptional.  I recently had the opportunity to visit with him and his family in Belfast and he is a perfect blend of intelligence, wit, humility, and humor.  His dedication to social justice is inspiring, and greatly needed in the Belfast community as it continues to move toward greater reconciliation and healing.  If you are in the position to consider an opportunity like this, I strongly encourage you to apply. 

 Ciaran can be contacted at if you have any questions.

August 19, 2014 in Clinic News, Job Opportunities & Fellowships, Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Student Life, Relationships & the Law: Confronting Domestic Violence in Higher Education

In recent days, several stories have highlighted dating violence and intimate partner violence in college.   Here is NPR from today, and here is an important piece in HuffPost on the intersections of campus culture, dating violence and sexual assault.   Here the Washington Post reports on Coach Nick Saban inviting speakers to address the Alabama football team on domestic violence and human dignity.    

Registration is now open for Pepperdine’s conference on DV/IPV on college campuses, October 10 - 11, 2014, at the School of Law in Malibu, California: 

Student Life, Relationships & the Law: Confronting Domestic Violence in Higher Education

Joining me on the organizing committee are Prof. Tanya Cooper of Alabama, Dr. Alesha Durfee of Arizona StateProf. Margaret Drew of UMass, Prof. Leigh Goodmark of Maryland, and my colleagues, Profs. Carol Chase, Maureen Weston, Janet Kerr and Tony Miller of Pepperdine.  

So far, multidisciplinary panels include professors, lawyers and activists from Alabama, North Carolina, UC-Davis and the UC system, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine and other schools.    These panels will discuss critical topics including Title IX and Clery Act compliance and strategic interventions, intersectional critiques of institutional responses to DV/IPV, and comprehensive strategies to address campus culture through Greek life, student health, and model bystander programs.    

Please join us to discuss and illuminate this epidemic crisis in higher education.  Please share this information with leadership, administration, counsel, staff and faculty at your schools so that we may advance justice, peace and well-being among our students.   

August 18, 2014 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)