EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The AALS Poster Project: Keith Blair's Teaching "Losing" to Clinic Student-Attorneys

Keith Blair presented the poster, Teaching "Losing" to Clinic Student-Attorneys (Download Losing_Poster):

Professor Blair is a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he has taught since 2005. In addition to teaching Constitutional Law, Tax Practice & Procedure, and Tax Clinic, he is the Director of the school's Low-Income Tax Clinic. Before becoming a professor at Baltimore, he was an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law and a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice in its Tax and Antitrust Divisions. He has published articles such as Praying for a Tax Break: Churches, Political Speech and the Loss of Section 501(C)(3) Tax Exempt Status, 86 Den. U. L. Rev. 405 (2009).

According to Professor Blair,
My poster examines the issue of "losing" and how clinics deal with losing cases.  Throughout law school we teach students the law so that they can be successful attorneys and win cases.  However, lawyers, and their clients, will not always be successful--someone will lose.  And we do not address what losing means to clients and attorneys.  We also do not address what losing actually is and the lessons that students can learn from losing.

I became interested in this topic during my first year of full-time teaching.  I direct a Tax Clinic and we had a trial during that year.  My students performed tremendously in conducting the trial. However, it was clear when the trial was done that we would probably not be successful and my students were despondent.  At that point I had to walk the line of praising the work that the students had done without diminishing the effect that losing the trial would have on our clients.

This poster is the first step in attempting to produce a piece of scholarship on losing.


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