Clinical Law Prof Blog

Editor: Jeffrey R. Baker
Pepperdine University
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Next for Social Justice?

Today I had the opportunity to discuss clinical law teaching as a method to advance social justice in a private meeting I can't say much about except that I left it invigorated.

Over the past three days I have felt anything but invigorated as I watched, read, listened to, and pondered media coverage and expert commentary on the massive implosion of community non-development and public non-safety in the much beloved and misunderstood Charm City of Baltimore

This month, my students have been stressed out and frustrated but they have also filed a petition to help a client get access to a vehicle to travel the 30 miles to her job as a maid; counseled a client through issues about her own life-threatening illness and how it may or may not impact her potential filing for divorce; and researched best practices on reporting gender-based violence on campus to advocate for its victims.

What is next for social justice can seem elusive in our world of declining law school applications, a wounded economy that may never fully recover, violence in our streets, and a social media-centric culture that distracts our students and ourselves constantly and often lacks any meaningful results.

Yet we adapt.  We listen to the call for legal assistance for Baltimore that went out on this blog and hundreds of other online lists this week.  We listen to our students when they put down their phones and ask us to review their draft petition.  We listen to our clients when they vent about the system, and we nod and say we agree and we mean that.  We do agree.  The system is porous.  It is messed up.  

Social justice is hard to hear.  It whispers.  But when we stand still, in these spaces we create to cultivate it, we hear that whisper.  And stand ready to start anew each day in our journey through this work, and we respond to that whisper in the words of the brilliant Maya Angelou: "Good morning."

April 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Clinical Law Prof Meet-Up in the Desert: May 6 at 8:30 p.m.

UPDATE:  We're meeting on the patio outside the Fireside Lounge at the Westin.  See you soon.


Friends, Writers, Readers,

The Clinical Law Prof Blog community will gather for an informal, not-hosted, meet up at the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, May 6, somewhere in the Westin.   (Watch this space, the Facebook page and @ClinicalLawProf for the location TBD).

It is impossible to plan a gathering that does not conflict with other worthy gatherings at this mighty conference, but if you can, please save the time and join us for conversation, refreshments and pleasantries.  

April 28, 2015 in Conferences and Meetings, Food and Drink, Games, Music, Religion, Science, Sports, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Call for Help.


We have just received a call for help from our fellow clinicians in Baltimore.  

"Lawyers and law students are needed for jail support and legal observing for demonstrations in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. We are building an infrastructure to support community organizations in Baltimore who are exercising their civil and human rights." 

There is a immediate need for attorneys licensed in Maryland with criminal defense and civil rights experience. 

If you would like more information, please see the following website:

The website has information on: News & UpdatesTraining Materials and a place for Donations.  






April 27, 2015 in Clinic News, Clinic Students and Graduates, Community Organizing, Criminal Defense, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

What the Best Law Mentors Do: A Request for Nominations

Via Prof. Kelly Terry, a request for nominations for the best law mentors in the country:

 I am writing to ask for your help with a new research project.  A team of my colleagues here at University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, Professor Terri Beiner, Professor Kelly Browe Olson, and I, are launching a study of the best law mentors in the country. We recently signed a contract with the Harvard University Press to publish our results.

We need your help finding the best mentors.  Our goal is to identify attorney mentors who transform junior lawyers’ careers and even lives, study those mentors in depth, and understand why they are so effective. Based on this research, we will identify and describe a set of behaviors, attitudes, and habits that are characteristic of the best law mentors.   We hope to produce a work that is a manual for attorneys who aspire to be transformative mentors, a benefit to legal employers for hiring and training mentors, and a tool more junior lawyers might use to find good mentors.  Thus, anyone (you, your colleagues, or your alumni) who contributes to our study by nominating a mentor will both honor a great colleague and help move the profession forward by improving lawyer mentoring.

The methodology for the study will be qualitative and similar to the approach Dean Schwartz and his co-authors used for What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013).  We will solicit nominations, gather evidence of nominees’ excellence, and pare the list to the most extraordinary legal mentors. We will then study the mentors where they work, interviewing both the mentors and focus groups of current and former mentees.  We also hope to observe mentoring interactions.  We will sift through the information we gather, identify what the best mentors have in common and areas of important difference, and organize the book by the common themes identified through this process. We plan to finish our research over the next three years and complete the book, What the Best Law Mentors Do, by January 2019.  

Here is a link to the website we have created for the book,, and here is a link to the page we are using to solicit and receive the nominations,  Please feel free to make nominations yourself.

We are hoping you will share the links with your colleagues, alumni, large local employers, and state bar associations.  We would be very grateful for your help with our efforts to find great mentors.  We suspect the mentors nominated for the study will be flattered by the nominations, and the ones we choose to study in depth will appreciate the publicity resulting from selection as one of the best mentors in the country.  If a nominated mentor chooses to remain anonymous or does not wish to participate, however, we will not pursue the nomination.

April 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Pay Phone: A Very Short Story About Law School

The 1Ls filled the big classrooms, grinding through Contracts, in perpetual states of anxiety, fear and exhaustion. In the atrium, a few 2Ls and 3Ls relaxed on benches and chairs. Some chatted over their wraps and snack bars and Nalgene bottles. Some highlighted cases and book-briefed cases for the next class. Some disappeared behind screens and headphones. One napped without shame, her hood over her eyes, sprawled on a couch. The space was public, but their possession was open and notorious. Their domicile is the law school, and the atrium is their residence.

On the balcony above, two professors stopped to talk about the Dodgers’ strong start. A student hovered nearby, waiting for her chance to ask a quick question, worrying if she were near enough to get their attention without being intrusive. Across the way, an administrative assistant backed out of the library and hoisted a bulky box full of blue books and Scantron sheets.

When the phone rang, most folks reached for their mobile devices. The Boomers did not notice anything peculiar. The Gen Xers recalled the hint of a bygone sensation, and their minds toggled to an emerging memory dredged up from childhood. The Millennials registered the anachronism first, because the ring was too loud, too insistent and all the way across the room. Nothing vibrated in their hands, and no one raised a phone to their ears. It was an actual, honest to goodness bell. For a few of them, this was a brand new experience.

All eyes turned to the pay phone on the wall that none of them had noticed before. It rang again. No one moved to answer it, and everyone wondered who would. They think like lawyers, and all of them were analyzing the facts, their duty to answer, the defenses for not answering, the potential liability attaching if they did answer, the ownership of the phone, the likelihood of needing to help whomever was calling, the time before the next class, and the social cost of being the one person to do the peculiar thing. It stopped ringing.

Their obligation, if any, was waived. The professors asked each other if they had ever noticed that pay phone before. The hovering student chuckled to make herself heard and to move up the conversation queue.  The sleeper slept, and the people who had taken out their ear-buds put them back in.

One of the professors wondered why the law school still paid for a pay phone if they couldn’t afford more research assistants.  The other said that it would probably not survive the renovations planned for the summer.

It rang again. Everyone stopped, looked at the phone and looked at each other. They dared each other to answer it. One of the professors looked over the rail at a group of her students and pointed, “Come on, y’all, somebody answer that thing! It won’t bite.”

“No way! That’s how horror movies start,” said the articles editor for the law review, a once aspiring actress. She got laughs, but no one stirred. It rang and kept ringing.  It did not switch over to voicemail. 

With a shrug, a 3L marked his place with a highlighter and walked across the room. All eyes on him, when he put his hand on the blue receiver, it stopped ringing. The tension broke as he shook his head and returned to his cases, but it rang again before he made it back to his study group.

“Go faster,” commanded his moot court partner.

“Fine!” He put his hand on the phone, and it rang again.

Pausing a beat, he answered, “Hello?”

Everyone watched him as he became increasingly cross and concerned.   “Ma’am…” he tried to interrupt the caller, “… Ma’am?   Could you, could you hang on just a second?”  He looked at the keys to find a mute button but gave up and put his hand over the receiver.   “Is anyone in a clinic?   She’s calling about the clinic.” 

“Yeah,” an eager 2L said as she grabbed a pad and pen.   She was all about client intake, just not usually with an audience.   She took the receiver from the 3L who was happy to let her take over.  “Hello?”

Tethered to the phone, she perched her legal pad on her knee and leaned against the wall.   Most of the students went back to their work.   One of the professors walked down and stood nearby to keep watch over the student. 

“Yes, ma’am, but do you know which clinic represented you?”   She made a note but shook her head. “I don’t know that clinic.   I’m in another one, but I can ask….” She struggled to take more notes.  For long stretches she tried to listen, tried to take notes, tried to understand.  She tried to catalog a story, but she couldn’t get a question in edgewise. 

“Ma’am, do you have a number…. Ma’am?”  She stood up straight and spoke louder, “Ma’am, are you there?  Can you hear me?  I think we dropped the call?  Hello?”   She hung up and looked at her teacher.  “That was weird.”

“What did she say?”  The professor directed the law school’s elder law clinic and had taught the student in her professional responsibility class the previous semester.

“Well, she was talking really fast and said she didn’t have much time. I think she said that the Family Law Clinic had worked with her on a custody order before she went to jail but that she had just gotten out and wanted to see her kid.”  She looked at her scratchy notes.  “I think.  She was mad.   She was talking really fast, and it was hard to understand her.   She said she was running out of time, and didn’t have any change? Does that make sense?”

“Yeah,” the professor smiled.  “She was calling from a pay phone, and you have to pay for the time you talk.  If she was the one trying to call before we answered it, she probably ran out of money.” 

“Oh.  I wonder how she got this number.  Do we have a family law clinic?”

“We used to, but the funding ran out a few years ago.  We transitioned the practice to other clinics when we got new grants, but that was like 15 years ago.  Did she say who helped her?”

The student checked her notes, “Um, Tracy? Tracy something?” 

“Tracy Welty, probably.   She was a professor, but she retired.  She moved back home, somewhere in the South, I think.  I wonder if we still have the client files.  Do you know her name?”

“She was talking too fast.  It was a sketchy connection.   She said it, Tamika, Tamara, something, but I didn’t catch her last name.  It was very loud where she was.” 

“Did you get a number?”

“No, but if she was calling from a pay phone, I don’t know how we can get her.  Can we call the number back?  I don’t even know where she was.  ”

“I don’t think so.” 

“What should I do? “

They pondered for a moment. The professor asked, “What clinic are you in?”

“The Immigration Clinic.  We don’t handle family law things.”

“I know.  Neither do I.  Why don’t you ask Prof. Williams what she thinks, and I’ll ask some of the older folks if they remember a case like this.”

The student capped her pen and flipped her legal pad back to her class notes.  “I feel bad for her.  I hope she calls back.” 

The doors to the big classrooms opened, and the first-years poured out into the common area.   The professor smiled at the student, “You did a good job. We do what we can.” 

The professor headed back to the faculty suite.   The students packed up, and most of them moved toward the auditorium.  A guest speaker was giving a talk on something, and there was free pizza for lunch.     

April 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CONFERENCE: Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Summer Conference.

Come experience beautiful Spokane this summer.

The Institute for Law Teaching & Learning will present its summer conference on June 13-14, 2015, at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington. The theme for this conference is Experiential Learning Across the Curriculum.

Benefits to Participants: during the conference, participants can expect to encounter many new ideas about teaching, learning, and incorporating experiential learning across the curriculum so that we can better prepare “practice ready” lawyers. In addition, the conference, which includes long scheduled breaks, is intended to facilitate informal interaction among creative teachers who love their work with students. Participants should leave the conference inspired and informed about incorporating experiential learning into their own classes.

For more information, click here.


April 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers and Award for for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project

Via Prof. Anju Gupta (emphasis added):

The CLEA Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that Claudia Angelos, Clinical Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, is the recipient of the 2015 CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers. The CLEA Board is equally thrilled to announce that the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics are the recipients of the 2015 CLEA Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project for their work on civil rights and criminal justice abuses highlighted by the death of Michael Brown.

Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers:

    Claudia Angelos joined the faculty of New York University School of Law in 1980. She teaches lawyering and litigation and directs the Civil Rights Clinic, the Racial Justice Clinic, and the New York Civil Liberties Clinic at NYU Law. She is a national expert on prisoners’ rights and during her thirty-five years at NYU, she and her students have litigated more than 100 civil rights cases in the New York federal courts. Claudia has also been a long-time advocate for clinic education and has served in leadership positions on the boards of both CLEA and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). She has been “the guiding force in countless board meetings, committee meetings, conference calls and email loops” in both CLEA and SALT, her nominators noted in their letter of support, and “[d]ozens of comments, letters, briefs and notices have been drafted and issued with her participation and guidance.” They highlight in particular Claudia’s work on behalf of the clinical community in the American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation standards revision process. Claudia has, in the words of her nominators, be an “unflagging, zealous and skilled” advocate for clinicians, helping “lead the successful battle to reaffirm clinical status, to increase the minimum required skills credits, and to identify practical skills as a critical part of the learning outcomes to be expected of all students.” Over the last six years, Claudia has attended virtually every meeting of the ABA Standards Review Committee and many meetings of the Council on Legal Education, developing working relationships with members of the Committee and Council to inform and influence the deliberations. “While many challenges remain and we have not solved all our problems,” Claudia’s nominators conclude, "clinical education has come out of the comprehensive review in a much stronger position than we imagined at the beginning of the process. Claudia was the keystone and well deserves our recognition.”

Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project:

    Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics are dedicated to advocating for the disadvantaged and the betterment of the community at large while providing unique and challenging experiential learning opportunities for students interested in public interest law. The Legal Clinics have provided pro bono legal services to the community for more than 41 years and currently provide legal services in six clinical programs (Civil Advocacy, Criminal Defense, Entrepreneurship and Community Development, Externships, Judicial Process Externship and Mediation) that house 10 practice areas.

   In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, a few things were abundantly clear: their community would forever be changed, deep-seated issues of mistrust and injustice continue to roadblock regional growth and, if there was any community poised to effect change, it was the St. Louis legal community.

    Guided by the University’s social justice mission, the attorneys of the SLU LAW Legal Clinics wasted no time involving their clinical practice areas in the search for solutions. In fact, they have been involved in many of the issues Ferguson brought attention to long before they came under such a bright national spotlight. With a small staff of seven attorneys (Professors Amany Hacking, Brendan Roediger, Dana Malkus, John Ammann, Patricia Harrison, Patricia Lee, Susan McGraugh), one social worker (Lauren Choate), Professor of Practice (Steve Hanlon), two staff (Greta Henderson and LeAnn Upton) and many dedicated clinic students, the Legal Clinics found a variety of ways to engage students, faculty and the community during the 2014-2015 academic year.

    The related legal work and advocacy involved multiple responses on a variety of legal matters including: community outreach and education; national, state and local media awareness of civil rights and criminal law abuses; lawsuits in state and federal courts on municipal warrant and tear gassing abuses; testimony before the governor-appointed Ferguson Commission; municipal, legislative and executive testimony; and leading meetings and panel discussions at the law school and in the community in an effort to seek solutions. Together, these professors, as representatives of the Legal Clinics, continue to bring attention to vital issues, fight for those who seek justice but do not have the means to fight themselves and work towards real solutions for a just future, all while teaching and mentoring their students to do the same.

Both awards will be presented at the AALS luncheon at the Clinical Conference on Wednesday, May 6th. The Committee received an unusually large number of outstanding nominations this year. At Wednesday's luncheon, we will give honorable mention to some schools that had particularly impressive projects.

The CLEA Board acknowledges with gratitude the efforts of the CLEA Awards Committee:

Geneva Brown (Valparaiso)
Anju Gupta, Co-Chair (Rutgers-Newark)
Perry Moriearty, Co-Chair (Minnesota)
Kele Stewart (Miami)
Jane Stoever (Irvine)

April 16, 2015 in Promotions, Honors & Awards | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

JOBS: University of Memphis Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic

Via Danny Schaffizin: 

Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is seeking a Visiting Assistant
Professor of Law to direct and teach a new Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic to be created as part
of the Memphis Children’s Health Law Directive (Memphis CHiLD), an innovative alliance
between the School of Law, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and Memphis Area Legal Services.
The full-time, twelve-month position will begin on July 1, 2015 and will include doctrinal
teaching responsibilities of one course per semester in addition to the teaching and supervisory
duties related to the Medical-Legal Partnership. Subject to approval, funding is available to allow
the position to be renewed on an annual basis for three years.

Under the direction of the Visiting Assistant Professor, the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic will
supervise students in providing legal services to Le Bonheur patients and their families; develop
an interdisciplinary education curriculum focused on the social determinants of health and the
legal, policy, and other issues affecting the well-being and healthcare access of low-income
children; and engage in systemic advocacy that seeks to improve health outcomes for low-income
children. The Visiting Assistant Professor will also partner with and draw on the assessment and
research expertise of the Law School’s Institute for Health Law and Policy (iHeLP), as well as
Memphis community stakeholders, to evaluate the impact of the Medical-Legal Partnership in
utilizing law and policy to advance children’s health.

Candidates should be prepared to present their comprehensive vision for teaching, administering,
growing, and cultivating enduring support for the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic. In addition
to directing and teaching the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, it is anticipated that the Visiting
Assistant Professor will teach two additional courses based on the needs of the law school. For
duties related to the Medical-Legal Partnership, the Visiting Assistant Professor will report
directly to the Director of Experiential Learning, and will work closely with the Dean, Director of
iHeLP, and Faculty on the development of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic.
Candidates must possess a J.D. or equivalent law degree and must be admitted to practice in
Tennessee or willing to seek admission to the Tennessee bar as soon as practically possible
following appointment. See TN Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 10.02 (Attorneys in Clinical and
Related Law School Programs). Among other qualifications, candidates should have a minimum
of five (5) years of legal practice experience; a demonstrated interest in serving lower-income
individuals and communities, substantial experience or interest in working with healthcare
professionals and students; a strong desire to supervise and work with students; and a
commitment to building community relationships and programs.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest, resume, and list of three references to Professor
Daniel Kiel, Chair, MLP Faculty Recruitment Committee, at Write
“Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic Application” in the subject line of the email. Preference will
be given to applications received by April 27, 2015, although applications will be accepted until
the position is filled.

The University of Memphis School of Law recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in its new building, the newly restored U.S. Customs House in downtown Memphis. A $48 million project,
the structure offers a magnificent setting for learning and teaching and has been recognized as one of the finest law school facilities in the nation and the world. Memphis is a beautiful and diverse city with affordable real estate and an excellent quality of life. The city is known for its friendly atmosphere, revitalized downtown, and attractions such as Graceland, Beale Street, Opera Memphis, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Zoo, NBA Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers basketball team, National Civil Rights Museum, and nationally recognized theatre companies.

While the School of Law does not treat race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age,
disability, or sexual orientation as dispositive in hiring decisions, the School has a strong
institutional commitment to hiring persons who will add to its diversity. The University of
Memphis is an EEO/AA employer.

April 15, 2015 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2015 M. Shanara Gilbert Award to Prof. JoNel Newman of Miami

Read this great news from Prof. Jayesh Rathod:

The Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education is pleased to announce that Professor JoNel Newman, Professor of Clinical Education and Director of the Health Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education's M. Shanara Gilbert Award.  We will honor JoNel and present the award at a luncheon on Tuesday, May 5, at the Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Rancho Mirage, CA.

As you know, the M. Shanara Gilbert Award honors an "emerging clinician," with ten or fewer years of experience who has (1) a commitment to teaching and achieving social justice, particularly in the areas of race and the criminal justice system; (2) a passion for providing legal services and access to justice to individuals and groups most in need; (3) service to the cause of clinical legal education or to the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education; (4) an interest in international clinical legal education; and (5) an interest in the beauty of nature (desirable, but not required).

JoNel’s colleagues and students at the University of Miami submitted a compelling nomination packet, describing her long-standing commitment to social justice, creative pedagogical approaches, and commitment to serving marginalized communities in the Miami area and beyond.  One nominator wrote of the significant contributions of the Health Rights Clinic that JoNel directs, noting that her students “have served over two thousand vulnerable health-impaired clients …. and have secured over two million dollars in entitlements and public benefits for their clients.”  Her nominators wrote of a myriad of innovative and impactful community-based projects that JoNel has spearheaded, including initiatives relating to the Haitian diaspora, veterans’ rights, pediatric care, and more.  JoNel’s students wrote that she “embodies the qualities sought in the recipient of the Shanara Gilbert Award” and her colleagues at Miami herald her “extraordinary efforts and contributions to clinical legal education, service, and justice.”

Please join us in congratulating JoNel on this important recognition!

The Executive Committee also gratefully acknowledges the hard work of the Awards Committee: Professor Sameer Ashar, UC-Irvine School of Law; Professor Margaret M. Barry, Vermont Law School (co-chair); Professor Dionne Gonder-Stanley, North Carolina Central School of Law; Professor Mary Lynch, Albany Law School (co-chair); and Professor Lisa Martin, Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.


April 8, 2015 in Promotions, Honors & Awards | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

JOBS: Director of South Dakota's new Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

Via Ms. Teresa Carlisle of the USD School of Law

The University of South Dakota School of Law is happy to announce the Fall opening of South Dakota’s only Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC).  The LITC seeks a director to begin July 1, who will continue developing the clinic for Fall semester.  The director will teach, supervise and mentor students in the clinic.  Application materials should be submitted electronically at Inquiries about applying should be directed to Tiffany Graham, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, at  Questions about the clinic itself should be directed to Professor Allen Madison at

April 7, 2015 in Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 3, 2015

20/20 Vision Awards to Profs. Margaret Drew and Sarah Buel

This week, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault announced the recipients of the 20/20 Vision Awards:  "The awards were created in honor of the important work accomplished by the passage of the VAWA and the creation of the CDSV 20 years ago. Recipients played an instrumental role in mobilizing the legal profession against domestic and sexual violence by either creating, supporting, advancing, or advocating for the CDSV or VAWA over the past two decades."

Among the recipients are two clinical professors, Prof. Margaret Drew of UMass and Prof. Sarah Buel of Arizona State.   Through their work in clinics representing victims of domestic violence, their scholarship, activism and leadership, they have helped shape pathbreaking progress through VAWA and clinical education.  They have been leaders and mentors to many attorneys and clinical professors in this work.  

Congratulations, Margaret and Sarah!


April 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#BlackLivesMatter: Law Clinic, Field Placements and Clinician Responses in Sanford, Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland and Our Communities

#BlackLivesMatter Program at the AALS Clinical Conference

Inside and outside of the classroom, many of us in the clinical and field placement communities have long been on the frontlines of the struggle for racial, social, political, and economic justice. However, the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and countless others (of all genders) reinforced the idea that as educators, lawyers, and activists, our work matters now more than ever. The goal of this session will be to highlight some of the work being done to address issues tragically brought to light by these incidents, and to identify concrete ways in which members of our communities may collaborate to address issues such as carceral debt, police militarization, racial profiling, grand jury reform, citizen activism, and our teaching methods, to name just a few.

Join us on Tuesday, May 5, 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m. as we convene a panel of clinical and field placement professors to discuss their work in Sanford, Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland. From there, we will invite audience members to discuss their work in advance of small group sessions. Although the conference promises robust discussions surrounding race and racial justice pedagogy and methods, we invite participants to share their teaching approaches here as well. In those small group sessions, participants will identify projects, action items, or initiatives ripe for collaboration between clinics and/or between clinics and home communities. In this program, we also want to expand our conversations and collaborations as they involve the consequences of police and government actions against other minority, women and/or transgendered groups. The ultimate goal is to invite participants who successfully realize their collaborative goals to present their works at next year’s Clinical Conference.

The coordinators will send be sending out calls for a) a one-sentence description of work you have done that relates or responds to the deaths of Mr. Martin, Mr. Brown, Mr. Garner., or Mr. Rice, b) lesson plans surrounding the same, and/or c) copies of op-ed pieces. We will visually display your descriptions and work, and hope to feature your lesson plans and op-ed pieces [with the appropriate legal clearances] in an electronic compilation, available to members of the Clinical and Placement communities. More to follow.
Bryan Adamson, Seattle University School of Law, Consumer Protection Clinic
Russell C. Gabriel, University of Georgia School of Law, Criminal Defense Clinic
Sunita Patel, American University, Washington College of Law, Civil Advocacy Clinic
Robin Walker-Sterling, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, Criminal Defense Clinic

March 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Call for Writers: 2015-2016

As we approach the first anniversary of launching the Clinical Law Prof Blog, we are seeking new voices and writers.  We seek writers who are involved with clinical legal education, either as faculty, fellows or staff attorneys, from clinics, externships or pro bono programs.  We seek writers who will commit to post at least once per month during the school year, for at least one year.    

Posts can be event notices and job postings, program updates, long form reflections on teaching, advocacy for clinical education, scholarly notes on substantive law, interviews, poetry, fiction, or comments on current events. 

On the blog, the Facebook group and Twitter presence, we aim to create a vibrant platform for clinical law teachers to exchange ideas and to promote our work.  We do not compete with the listserv or other sites but seek to supplement and strengthen our rich community.  We hope to promote curious, civil, witty and useful writing for our enterprise of clinical legal education.  

If you are interested in joining the project, please let me know by email, by May 4. 

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog. 

March 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 23, 2015

UALR's New Experiential Learning Requirement

Via Prof. Kelly Browe Olson on the LawClinic listserv:

I am thrilled to announce that at our most recent faculty meeting the [University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law] faculty in attendance unanimously passed a proposal that creates a new Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR).  This requirement will ensure that starting with the entering class in the Fall of 2015, every full and part-time student will participate in either a law school clinic, externship, or practicum in order to graduate. In order to ensure our part-time students have opportunities to work with clients, Professor Kelly Terry crafted three new distance learning practica.

There are three components to the ELR. In addition to a clinic, externship or practicum, the students must take a five-credit hour Lawyering Skills sequence and one of our newly developed one credit upper-level legal research courses. This means, at a minimum, the students will have nine hours of experiential learning when they graduate. 

In drafting the ELR proposal we relied heavily on materials from the Best Practices for Legal Education and the 2013-14 Survey of Applied Legal Education, from the Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education. The clinicians at Bowen appreciate the support of our clinical colleagues who assisted in the development of the proposal, the non-clinical faculty at Bowen and we are grateful for the leadership of Dean Michael Schwartz and Associate Dean Terri Beiner.

March 23, 2015 in Clinic News, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

14th Annual Transactional Clinical Conference: Teaching and Writing Methods of the Transactional Clinician

Via Prof. Alicia Plerhoples


Teaching and Writing Methods of the Transactional Clinician

 This year’s conference theme is “Teaching and Writing Methods of the Transactional Clinician.” 

Conference Date & Location

Friday, April 24, 2015
University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law (host)
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO (host partner & location)

This year’s Transactional Clinical Conference will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015.  The Pre-Conference Dinner will be held on Thursday, April 23. We hope to see you at both!



Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pre-Conference Dinner

Time: 6:00pm

Location: University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 5108 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110

Friday, April 24, 2015



Time: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Location: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation,

4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110



*Shuttle buses will run to/from hotel to/from dinner on the 23rd and to/from the conference on the 24th

8:00am – 8:30am



Opening Remarks

8:45am – 10:15am

Nuts & Bolts Teaching Plenary

Description: Panelists will work through a pre-arranged hypothetical and present their teaching approaches to the audience. The hypothetical involves clients who ask a transactional clinic for help in facilitating their plans to combat the lack of nutritious food choices and availability in low-income neighborhoods. The clients’ plan includes both commercial and non-commercial activities. The panelists will draw from their varied experiences in entrepreneurship, social justice, and critical legal theory to present their substantive analysis of the hypothetical as well as the pedagogical methods they would use to teach students how to represent the hypothetical clients.

Presenters:Alina Ball (UC Hastings), Jennifer Fan (UW), & Lynnise Pantin (NYSL)

10:15am – 10:30am


10:30am – 11:30am

Nuts & Bolts of Client & Transaction Management

Description: Presentations on teaching students how to (i) build a personal brand, present confidently, and manage client and community relationships, and (ii) manage projects, time, and clients in a corporate practice.

Presenters:Geetha Rao Sant (Wash U), Michelle Sonu (Stanford)

Nuts & Bolts of Collaboration & Interviewing

Description: Presentations on (i) helping students develop effective collaboration skills and (ii) teaching client interviewing using the “fishbowl class client” method.

Presenters: Dana Malkus (St. Louis), Susan R. Jones & Alice Hamilton Evert (GW)


11:30am – 12:30pm


Presentation (12:10pm-12:30pm):John Cummins of iLINC, a consortium of European law school clinics that support European information, communication, and technology start-ups.

12:30pm – 12:45pm


12:45pm – 1:45pm

Nuts & Bolts of Client Counseling

Description: Presentations on teaching students client counseling through practice simulations. Student learning objectives for counseling include (i) understanding the client’s perspective / frame, (ii) effectively communicating risks, benefits, and uncertainty, and (iii) mastering verbal and presentation skills.

Presenters: Priya Baskaran (Georgetown), Naveen Thomas (NYU)

Nuts & Bolts of Client Communication

Description:  Interactive discussion on teaching students (i) oral communication and public speaking skills, and (ii) how to compose client-centered emails, manage ethical issues that arise through email correspondence, and manage client relationships through email correspondence.

Presenters: Frances Martinez & Heather Way (Texas), Jeff Ward (Duke)

Scholarship: Why, What, Where, and How?

Description:This moderated panel will focus on publication of scholarship by transactional law clinicians. Panelists will discuss: (i) what type of scholarship to write; (ii) writing strategies; (iii) where to publish and what audiences to reach; (iv) how scholarship impacts tenure and promotion; and (v) topical areas of growth in scholarship written by transactional clinicians.

Panelists:Jim Kelly (Notre Dame), Dana Thompson (Michigan), Susan R. Jones (GW), Paul Tremblay (BC)

Moderator:Tony Luppino (UMKC)

1:45pm – 2:00pm


2:00pm – 3:00pm

Nuts & Bolts of Drafting Organizational Documents

Description:  Presentations on teaching (i) limited liability company formation and drafting operating agreements, and (ii) drafting organizational documents for nonprofit and for-profit ventures.

Presenters: Katherine Moyer & Mindy Wittkop (Oregon), Jim Kelly (Notre Dame)


Nuts & Bolts of Contract Drafting and Managing Future Risks

Description:Presentations on (i) telling science fiction stories as a technique to draft contracts and consider future risks, and (ii) introducing contract drafting and other transactional skills into a non-clinical business associations course.

Presenters: Michael Haber (Hofstra), Constance Wagner (St. Louis)


Nuts & Bolts of Engaging Communities

Description:  Presentations on (i) the four stages of the community building process and teaching community building skills, and  (ii) teaching client-lawyering in the context of a rural land use clinic where clients’ preferences often differ from students’ values.

Presenters: Paula Williams (Tennessee), Katherine Garvey (WVU)

3:00pm – 3:15pm


3:15pm – 4:30pm

Pen & Paper Workshop

Description:Presenters will share their works-in-progress. The format of the panel will consist of “rocket panels” during which each presenter will give his or her elevator pitch, speaking for no more than 10 minutes. The presenters will then engage in Q&A and receive feedback from the audience. Draft papers will be distributed prior to the conference, and it is recommended but not required that audience participants read the papers prior to the panel.


-          Patience Crowder (Denver), Contracting for Complexity: Collective Impact Agreements and Regional Equity

-          Edward De Barbieri (Brooklyn), Community Benefits Agreements in Land Use and Economic Development Approvals

-          Seletha R. Butler (Georgia Institute of Tech), Conceptualize Governing with the Ethic of Care and Justice  

March 19, 2015 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Igniting Law Teaching 2015 this Friday in D.C.

I am so excited to be boarding a plane in the morning to participate in LegalED's Igniting Law Teaching 2015 on Friday, March 20, 2015, at American University Washington College of Law.  CALI is a co-sponsor of the event. Live viewing will be available by webcast or, if you are in the region, join us in person by registering here: Registration.

The conference will feature talks by 35 law school academics and practitioners from the US, Canada and England – including several clinicians -- in a TEDx-styled conference to share ideas on teaching methodologies.  LegalED’s Teaching Pedagogy video collection includes many of the talks from last year’s conference, which have been viewed collectively more than 5000 times.

 The panels for this year include: Law Teaching for the 21st Century, Applying Learning Theory to Legal Education, The Art and Craft of Law Teaching, Using Technological Tools for Legal Education, and Pathways to Practice.

The Igniting Law Teaching conference is unlike other gatherings of law professors.  Here, talks will be styled as TEDx Talks, with each speaker on stage alone, giving a well scripted and performed talk about an aspect of law school pedagogy.  In the end, we will create a collection of short videos on law school-related pedagogy that will inspire innovation and experimentation by law professors around the country, and the world, to bring more active learning and practical skills training into the law school curriculum.  The videos will be available for viewing by the larger academic community on LegalED, a website developed by a community of law professors interested in using online technologies to facilitate more active, problem-based learning in the classroom, in addition to better assessment and feedback.

I hope you can join us on March 20th, either live or virtually

March 18, 2015 in Conferences and Meetings, Teaching and Pedagogy, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teaching Pro Bono and Reclaiming the Virtue of Public Citizenship

The State Bar of California has approved new admission rules that require applicants to perform 50 hours of pro bono and to complete 15 academic units of experiential courses.  (These rules are pending before the California Supreme Court and the State Assembly before they are finally in effect.) 

Some critics have leveled extraordinary indictments of the new rules.  For example, like Prof. John O. McGinnis of Northwestern here and like the commenters on Paul Caron’s blog here, these critics variously declare that these requirements (1) are protectionist rent seeking from the guild, (2) are schemes for leftist, socialist ideological indoctrination, (3) are too expensive, (4) are only useful to students interested in litigation or public interest, (5) are slavery or involuntary servitude, (6) are ineffective to address access to justice, and (7) are unconstitutional.  

At the heart of these complaints is a flawed conception of the policies.  That flawed conception flows from an impoverished perception of the profession and a diminished view of lawyers’ roles as public citizens. 

To hear these complaints from conservative voices is puzzling, because the call for pro bono is a call for a basic good: access to justice and the expansion of the Rule of Law through the ancient institution of the bar, provided privately and locally by citizens in their own communities.   This is wholly consistent with the Catholic social teachings of subsidiarity and its Calvinist cousin, sphere sovereignty.  It is a conservative virtue that civil society ought to respond to these needs rather than leaving them to government preemption, but here are critics calling the bar’s policies some kind of shady, redistributive scheme. 

For centuries, our profession has embraced its calling for pro bono work, as its deepest cultural and social obligation.   Pro bono draws the marginalized into the Rule of Law and the justice system, to expand republican order and to extinguish self-help, vigilantism and anarchy.  Lawyers should instill trust in the system, thereby promoting the credibility of its institutions and working to ensure that the institutions of law and order sustain themselves by including everyone in the land.  If lawyers live up their reputation as cynical, mercenary parasites, bent on lucre and avarice, then the Rule of Law fails when the people opt out.   These moral and social obligations appear in every lawyer’s oath upon admission to the bar, in various forms.

In California, lawyers swear “to faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counsel at law,” which includes the duty “[n]ever to reject, for any consideration personal to himself or herself, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed.”  Calif. Business and Professions Code §6068 (h).  

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Mississippi, my home and the bar of my first admission (and no liberal bastion), imposed aspirational rules and mandatory reporting of pro bono when it adopted a new rule that “[e]ach member of the Mississippi Bar . . . should (1) render pro bono legal services to the poor and (2) participate, to the extent possible, in other pro bono service activities that directly relate to the legal needs of the poor.”  Miss. R. Prof. Conduct 6.1.   The Court provided this comment: 

Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional work load, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. All lawyers are urged to provide a minimum of 20 hours of pro bono services to the poor annually. Pro bono legal service to the poor is an integral and particular part of a lawyer's pro bono public service responsibility. As our society has become one in which rights and responsibilities are increasingly defined in legal terms, access to legal services has become of critical importance. This is true for all people, be they rich, poor, or of moderate means. However, because the legal problems of the poor often involve areas of basic need, their inability to obtain legal services can have dire consequences. The vast unmet legal needs of the poor in Mississippi have been recognized by the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The Supreme Court has further recognized the necessity of finding a solution to the problem of providing the poor greater access to legal service and the unique role of lawyers in our adversarial system of representing and defending persons against the actions and conduct of governmental entities, individuals, and non-governmental entities. As an officer of the court, each member of The Mississippi Bar in good standing has a professional responsibility to provide pro bono legal service to the poor.

 The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, in the Preamble, call us “public citizens.”  Public does not mean governmental.  Public refers to what we do together within our social order to take care of each other.   It’s not socialism.  It’s human decency necessary to sustain the republic.  

Now the critics may say that these merely are aspirational, not mandatory, obligations and that no authority on earth can compel someone to be moral, generous or charitable against their will.   Perhaps this is so, and perhaps this is why pro bono is not mandatory anywhere for licensed lawyers.  But if pro bono service is a central virtue of the profession – and it is – then it is wholly appropriate for law schools and the bar to make it mandatory for students entering the profession, to teach them how, to inculcate the virtue and value of our vocation, to transmit our common,  cultural norms, and to prepare them to do it well.  

Simply, it is the role of law schools to teach and train lawyers, and we legal educators are remiss if we do not teach our students the virtues of our profession and train them how to do exercise them.   We make law students do things against their will and inclination all the time, every day, because we have decided somewhere along the way that they need to know it.   We force them to take torts, contracts and property.   We force them to write long memos and briefs.  We require them to endure relentless reading assignments.  We subject them to stressful exams, and we cold call them to test their critical skills under pressure.   We do all of these things, and more, to prepare them to be lawyers.  We make them take a bar exam.  We erect barriers to the profession for good reasons. Why would we not require them to render service to the poor so that they learn about the great calling of lawyers and so that they learn how to do it well? 

(Remember, these students are not free-lancing on a street corner.  All of the pro bono required by the California and New York rules must be supervised by licensed attorneys who bear the professional responsibility for the client they engage, either in full or limited-scope representation.  The only real criticism here is that 50 hours is not enough.) 

Pro bono requirements are not slavery; they are pedagogical assignments to teach and show students how to be good lawyers.  Pro bono is as essential to our profession as are zealous advocacy and confidentiality.   It is fundamental to our work.  It also gives the students more experience with lawyers and client, more contacts in the bar, resume enhancement, perspective on the application of law, practice interviewing and counseling, a deeper understanding of professional responsibility, and good stories to tell.      

Some critics proclaim that pro bono programs or law school clinics are inherently liberal or politically ideological.  These critics either lack exposure to enough programs or lack imagination to see how these programs can be empowering to the communities they serve, regardless of politics.  Schools across the political spectrum - from Berkeley to St. Thomas, from Harvard to Pepperdine, from Vanderbilt to Faulkner, from American to Notre Dame - have clinics and programs committed to the professional formation of students, as lawyers of integrity, compassion, humanity and hope, led by teachers of diverse convictions and causes.  

Although my politics have evolved, primarily for reasons of faith, I was reared a conservative in conservative communities.  My people taught me that caring for the poor was indeed an obligation, just not the obligation of the government, that people should learn to fish for themselves to escape the “welfare mentality.”   In these new pro bono requirements, we see an effort to equip lawyers to take up the cause of the oppressed and the poor, the fatherless and the widow, the least of these, as a social and moral obligation of a privileged profession.  These pro bono requirements will promote better outcomes, better access to justice, and better service to clients, which will lead to less dependence, more stability, and more virtue in the commonweal. 

These are not just traditional poverty law, litigation or legal aid cases either.  Just this week, I have approved a pro bono project in the legal department of a nonprofit film studio producing films for children's education for a student interested in entertainment and corporate work. I have approved a pro bono project for students conducting research for international human rights policies and law reform efforts in south Asia.   Lawyers are doing great work in every field of practice, and our students will learn from them. 

Indeed, the call for pro bono is a call for a community of local professionals to take care of our neighbors as a mark of civil society, to address our neighbors within the system of law and to not render them up to the state (and to call the state to account).  To prepare law students to do this work, so integral to the profession, is a rising tide to lift all ships. This effect is multiplied as law students become lawyers who know the responsibility of pro bono and have experience in the field.

California’s new rules are good and worthy.  They may be disruptive to old models of legal education, but that disruption is righteous and useful.  The requirement for pro bono will promote and sustain the profession as class after class of law students better understand the public virtue of the profession.  The requirements will promote access to justice by expanding and improving the capacity of pro bono lawyers to do more with law student help, then preparing those students to take on the work themselves when they enter their rich practices.        

March 18, 2015 in Current Affairs, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (4)

2015 New Clinicians Conference: May 4, Rancho Mirage, California

 The Clinical Legal Education Association Announces

2015 New Clinicians Conference

Monday, May 4, 2015

Westin Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage, California

CLEA’s biennial New Clinicians Conference (NCC) will take place May 4th at the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, California, also the location of the 2015 AALS Clinical Conference.

The full-day NCC program will begin with breakfast at 8 AM and will include multiple plenary and facilitated small group sessions, as well as break-out sessions.  The last session will conclude no later than 5 PM.

Thanks to the generous financial support provided by UCLA School of Law, Pepperdine School of Law, and the authors of Transforming the Education of Lawyers, The Theory and Practice of Clinical Pedagogy – Sue Bryant, Elliott Milstein, and Ann Shalleck – the NCC registration fee this year is only $50.



Registration for the NCC is separate from the AALS Clinical Conference.  The $50 registration fee includes a one-year CLEA membership, CLEA’s New Clinicians Handbook, a full day of programs, and meals (breakfast, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack).

Online Registration

The registration form can be completed on the CLEA website at:

Credit cards may be used through a PayPal link found on the website.

Payment by Check:

If you prefer to pay the $50 registration fee by check, please register first on the CLEA website and then mail your check (payable to “Clinical Legal Education Association”) to:

Professor Beth Schwartz

Fordham University School of Law

150 West 62nd St. Room 9-102

New York, NY 10023

If you have any questions, please contact:  Benjie Louis ( or Beth Schwartz (

March 18, 2015 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CLEA Newsletter Spring '15: Call for items (Due April 15)

On behalf of the CLEA Newsletter committee, I am happy to announce that it is once again time to send information for the CLEA Newsletter.  We invite you to submit your creative writing and shorter articles on clinical andragogy and social justice topics.  We also welcome your good news: promotions, moves, new experiential teachers, retirements, publications, and awards.  Hyperlinks are welcome.  Please keep your clinician news items as short as possible (50 word limit per news item), and longer submissions are subject to editing by the newsletter.
As a reminder, CLEA no longer publishes law school press releases or clinical program news, in part to avoid duplicating information published in the AALS Clinical Section Newsletter.  We have already heard from clinicians with interesting projects, and we hope that you will consider allowing CLEA to feature your writing.  The deadline for submissions for the Spring 2015 Newsletter is Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Please e-mail them to me at, and please contact me with any questions.

Thanks, and best wishes,
CLEA Newsletter Committee
Tanya Asim Cooper, D’lorah Hughes & Kate Kruse

March 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 27, 2015


Dear Colleagues, 

On behalf of the site selection committee (Liz Solar, Ann Vessels, Lisa Smith, Nancy Maurer, Danny Schaffzin and myself), I am very excited to announce that Cleveland-Marshall College of Law will be hosting Externships 8.  The conference will be held in Cleveland, Ohio! 

We want to thank all of the schools who applied to host Externships 8.  We considered a variety of factors including ease of access for participants, diversity of location, prior interest, and resources available to the host school. ​The proposals that we received were excellent and showed a level of commitment to and engagement in the externship community that is truly outstanding.

We look forward to having a terrific conference in Cleveland, Ohio.  For those of you who don't know, Cleveland was recently named to: 1) the New York Times List of 52 Places to Visit in 2015; 2) Fodor’s Go List 2015; 3) Travel & Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in 2015; and, 4) the LA Times 15 Destinations for 2015. 

Further details will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact:

Carole O. Heyward
Director of Engaged Learning
Clinical Professor of Law
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Phone: 216.687.5508

Your AALS Externship Section Chairs, 

Inga Laurent and Lisa Smith

February 27, 2015 in Clinic News, Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)