Friday, February 27, 2015
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
Your AALS Externship Section Chairs,
Inga Laurent and Lisa Smith
Friday, February 20, 2015
This week, the Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) released its massive 2013-14 Survey of Applied Legal Education. The survey results are available here.
This work is critically important to the community of clinical legal education. The data provide detailed views of clinical faculty hiring and status, clinic design and practice, pedagogy and practice in clinics around the country. This information is invaluable for schools making strategic improvements to their programs.
The 43-page report provides the summary results of CSALE’s third triennial survey of law school clinics and externships and the faculty teaching in those clinical courses. Over 88% of ABA-accredited law schools participated in the survey, which included the Master Survey, Law Clinics Sub-Survey, Field Placement Course Sub-Survey, and Faculty Sub-Survey.
We want to thank the hundreds of clinical faculty who participated in the surveys and the many people who helped us develop and analyze the questions and results, including CSALE’s Board of Directors: Charles Auffant (Rutgers - Newark); Jeanne Charn (Harvard); Brad Colbert (William Mitchell); Deborah Epstein (Georgetown); Paula Galowitz (NYU), Peter Joy (Washington University), Sue Schechter (Berkeley); and Chuck Weisselberg (Berkeley). We are also deeply indebted to Lewis Downey at Cicada Consulting Group, Inc., and to our research assistant at Wash U., Greg Jones.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Via Kate Kruse:
The Clinical Law Review will hold its next Clinical Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, September 26, 2015, at NYU Law School. The registration deadline is June 30, 2015.
The Workshop will provide an opportunity for clinical teachers who are writing about any subject (clinical pedagogy, substantive law, interdisciplinary analysis, empirical work, etc.) to meet with other clinicians writing on related topics to discuss their works-in-progress and brainstorm ideas for further development of their articles. Attendees will meet in small groups organized, to the extent possible, by the subject matter in which they are writing. Each group will “workshop” the draft of each member of the group.
Participation in the Workshop requires the submission of a paper because the workshop takes the form of small group sessions in which all members of the group comment on each other’s manuscripts. By June 30, all applicants will need to submit a mini-draft or prospectus, 3-5 pages in length, of the article they intend to present at the workshop. Full drafts of the articles will be due by September 1, 2015.
As in the previous Clinical Law Review Workshops, participants will not have to pay an admission or registration fee but participants will have to arrange and pay for their own travel and lodging. To assist those who wish to participate but who need assistance for travel and lodging, NYU Law School has created a fund for scholarships to help pay for travel and lodging. The scholarships are designed for those clinical faculty who receive little or no travel support from their law schools and who otherwise would not be able to attend this conference without scholarship support. Applicants for scholarships will be asked to submit, with their 3-5 page prospectus, by June 30, a proposed budget for travel and lodging and a brief statement of why the scholarship would be helpful in supporting their attendance at this conference. The Board will review all scholarship applications and issue decisions about scholarships in early July. The scholarships are conditioned upon recipients’ meeting all requirements for workshop participation, including timely submission of drafts, and will be capped at a maximum of $750 per person.
Information about the Workshop – including the Registration form, scholarship application form, and information for reserving hotel rooms – is available on-line at:
If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to send us, we would be very happy to hear from you. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Randy Hertz at email@example.com.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
In May, the movie Noble will open; it is a biography of Christina Noble, Irish children's rights activist. In advance of the debut, the producers solicited stories from women doing courageous work.
Prof. Brittany Stringfellow-Otey received a nomination. Here is her profile.
These are my favorite quotes from my colleague and friend:
“My goal is for poverty to bother you for the rest of your life . . . I don’t want you to be able to walk the block to your office and not be completely troubled by those asking for money or suffering from addiction. I want you to do something about it, with your time and resources.”
“I want to be an old lady working on skid row. I will always be here.”
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
The Clinical Legal Education Association will be holding its full-day New Clinicians Conference on Monday, May 4, 2015, immediately before the start of the AALS Clinical Conference at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, CA. Please make your travel plans accordingly for what will be an exciting and insightful conference. Registration information is forthcoming.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Twice a year I have that Academy Awards moment when the envelope arrives in my inbox and my hands start to shake. An image of Sally Fields pixelates in my mind as I wonder, “Did they like me? Did they really like me?” It is a humiliating image, but there it is, every January and May, year after year, as much as I fear and despise it.
Clinical teaching is a bare your guts kind of experience. Raw and intense, our students see us at our best and our worst. They see us at our clients’ funerals, holding our clients while they vomit after losing custody of their young children, cranking out briefs side-by-side with our students at 3:00 a.m., and being berated by judges--on the record, no less. It is not always a pretty picture.
Despite being sincere and hard-working and deeply devoted to supporting our students as they emerge as attorneys, many of us hold our envelopes in our hands and wonder what our course evaluations will say. What did they really think of this exhausting clinical course that is so very real--immersed in real life and real learning and real law?
A pattern has emerged such that I have come to expect much of what I read—the high expectations I have for my students, my directness, and intensity. What I was not expecting this semester was the warning about my, shall I call it “girl talk”? For years, I have very consciously and openly talked about gender equality both in and out of the classroom. I am familiar with the voluminous research that shows the inequality that emerges between genders in academic settings from a young age.
Girls are called on less, speak for shorter periods, and are interrupted more than boys. This gender inequality begins at least in elementary school and continues on into college and even graduate school, before embedding itself solidly into lifelong workforce inequality, as demonstrated by both pay and position.
The issues created by gender discrimination are multifold. Not only is it a violation of our female students’ rights, and compromises their learning, it will have a significant economic impact on them individually, on organizations that fail to fully engage their minds and professional energies and talent, and on society overall.
And so I talk about these issues openly and directly when gendered dynamics appear in my classrooms or clinics. For example, both in and out of class, I look for discussion participation that is representative of the population by gender (and race). If the class is fifty percent male and fifty percent female, I expect the discussion to be approximately representative of those figures. When discussions become lopsided, I expressly invite members of the underrepresented group to talk more, and often draw the students’ attention to gendered dynamics and their negative consequences.
In clinic, I often witness gendered dynamics in client interviews or weekly meetings. It is not unusual, especially at the beginning of the semester, for me to observe client interviews where a female student is thoroughly prepared, sometimes more prepared than her male partner, and yet he does most of the talking. I see female students who talk quietly or hesitantly or infrequently, sometimes using a high pitched voice, accompanied by a sorority head tilt, and a few filler words such as “like.” Afterwards, we debrief and explore together why the female student did not participate more actively in the interview, especially if she is lead on the matter or was the most prepared. We work on voice and body language and volume for both men and women, but I witness these issues with my female students more.
In our weekly meetings, the students prepare the agendas and facilitate the discussion. I usually remain silent about roles until and unless we are in our third meeting and the female student still has not led or facilitated the meeting, which happens with at least one team almost every semester. We talk about the importance of attorneys conveying leadership and confidence, when and how best to demonstrate these traits, and why and how women and men need to support each other in developing professional personas and leadership skills.
And yet, there it was, at the very end of my very last evaluation. The anonymous student wrote that he or she did not say this or necessarily agree with this point of feedback, but thought it was important for me to know that another student said that, in advocating for women, I needed to be careful not to create a situation that placed male students at a disadvantage.
Does trying to provide and nurture and support equal participation by our female students place our male students at a disadvantage? Or is it the advantage of inequality that some are afraid of losing? In trying to rid our classrooms of gender bias, are we creating a classroom that some of our students feel are biased against them? These are just a few of the questions that I have been asking myself since nervously opening my envelope two weeks ago, now wondering if we should stop talking openly and directly about these issues.
Or maybe the issue is that there is not enough “girl talk” in clinics and law schools and higher education. As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant pointed out in their December editorial in the New York Times, when people are told that discrimination is widespread, it can actually make discrimination worse by legitimizing it. The only way to actual reduce discrimination is by acknowledging its widespread existence and then changing the message slightly to add, “and most people want to overcome their biases.” But, do we?