Sunday, July 1, 2012

New legal "skills" scholarship: "Re-Vision Quest: A Law School Guide to Designing Experiential Courses Involving Real Lawyering"

By Professors Deborah A. Maranville (U. Washington), Mary A. Lynch (Albany), Susan L. Kay (Vanderbilt), Phyllis Goldfarb (George Washington) and Russell Engler (New England). It is available at 56 N.Y.L.S. L. Rev. 517 (2012) and from SSRN here. From the abstract:

Legal educators have long viewed experiential courses involving real lawyering as a world divided neatly in two: externship placements and in-house clinics. This article suggests that despite the decades-old vintage of this categorization scheme, it is inadequate for the curriculum reform era that lies ahead. Increasingly, the content of these categories has expanded, the always-permeable boundary between them has blurred, and hybrids and varieties have sprouted that defy easy categorization. Thus, the labels conceal both similarities and differences. Our overarching purpose in this article is to identify and frame the wide array of options for structuring an educational experience in which law students are performing as professionals engaged in service to people involved in legal matters. We suggest that legal educators expand their thinking about curricular options for experiential learning and develop a broader conceptual framework for articulating these options. In this article, we offer such a framework, representing our effort to highlight more comprehensively the extensive range of options that law schools can consider in designing or redesigning curricular clinical programs. We also propose a decision-making process for using that framework and apply it to three examples. We hope the article will serve as a decision-making guide for the law school faculty and administrators who will be shaping the future of clinical legal education and legal education in general.


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