Thursday, October 31, 2013

Staudt and Medeiros on Access to Justice and Technology Clinics

Professors Ronald W. Staudt and Andrew P. Medeiros (both Chicago Kent College of Law) posted on SSRN an article, entitled Access to Justice and Technology Clinics: A 4% Solution, that proposes engaging students in clinical experiences to build law practice skills that use technology to better serve the needs of clients, particularly low income clients.

The abstract states:

This article is targeted at the criticisms of the quality of legal education, criticisms that law schools fail to prepare graduates to succeed in the profession. We propose a modest improvement to the law school curriculum that may make graduates more capable to serve their clients. We propose that law schools add a new type of clinical course that teaches law students how to use and deploy technology to assist law practice. The changes we propose will affect about four percent of the average law school curriculum. If widely adopted, the changes we propose will help law students to learn core competencies needed in an increasingly technological profession, while they build tools and write content to help low-income, self-represented litigants overcome serious barriers in their pursuit of justice.

Specifically, we propose that law schools offer a new clinical experience — the Access to Justice Technology Clinic, or A2J Clinic for short. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), in partnership with IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, has launched its Access to Justice Clinical Course Project to develop and refine A2J Clinics. In these courses law students build web tools and other interactive content to help low-income people achieve their justice goals. Courses of this type have been taught by several law schools during the past decade. This CALI initiative builds on those efforts, organizes faculty across the country into a team of collaborators, and establishes a structured process to share new insights, tools and curricula with all law schools.

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