Monday, November 11, 2013

In response to pressure for more "practical training," D.C. law schools push for reform of bar rules governing student practice

From the National Law Journal: 

Hands-On Training for Law Students:  D.C. would catch up with other states, and private attorneys don't seem to mind.

As law students nationwide clamor for more hands-on training, the District of Columbia's six law schools have joined forces to push for the first major overhaul of rules governing student practice in D.C. in decades.

 

Law school deans and faculty argue that existing rules are outdated and cumbersome. The proposed changes are aimed at streamlining how students are certified to work in clinical programs and expanding the type of work covered under the rules, from appearing in court in civil and criminal cases to advising nonprofits and small businesses on tax law and contracts.

 

The focus on clinics reflects growing demand from students, and their future employers, for more practical experience before they enter the job market, said Georgetown University Law Center Professor Wallace Mlyniec, who runs the juvenile justice clinic and has led the revision efforts.

 

At the same time, clinic directors say, the more students working in clinics, the more law schools can offer legal assistance to clients who otherwise couldn't afford a lawyer to fight an eviction, seek political asylum, get protection from an abusive partner or tackle any number of issues in and out of court.

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