Wednesday, December 30, 2015

CLEA Newsletter Winter 2015-16


Together with the CLEA Newsletter Committee, I am very happy to announce that the Winter 2015-16 issue of the CLEA Newsletter has just been posted here.

In this issue, you’ll find lots of interesting content, including CLEA committee and advocacy reports, articles on clinical teaching, and several announcements about upcoming events at the AALS Annual Meeting in NYC.  Plus, you’ll find news from our colleagues around the country.

Happy New Year!

CLEA Newsletter Committee
Tanya Asim Cooper (Pepperdine)
Susan Donovan (Alabama)
D'lorah Hughes (Wayne State)
Kate Kruse (Mitchell Hamline)

December 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

ABA Seeking Comment to Revised Standards for Externships

With a memo to deans and other interested people on December 11, the ABA is seeking notice and comment to significant revisions of Standards 304 and 305.  These would move the standards governing field placements from 305 to 304 which governs clinics and simulation courses. 

The memo describes these proposed revision:

In moving field placements to Standard 304, requirements are added that are commensurate with those required for clinics and simulation courses—a means of guided reflection; opportunities for performance, feedback, and self-evaluation; and direct supervision. The new Standard also defines a field placement course as one that provides substantial lawyering experience and calls for the creation of a written understanding for the experience. It also imports components from Standard 305 such as the requirement for appropriate prerequisites or sufficient training, and the need for credit granted to be commensurate with the time and effort required. The revision removes any distinctions in the requirements for these programs based on credits offered, and mandates that records should be maintained for all placements. The revision also requires that law schools maintain sufficient control of the student experience at the field placement site to ensure that the requirements of the Standard are met.

Most significantly, "this proposal eliminates current Interpretation 305-2 (“A law school may not grant credit to a student for participation in a field placement program for which the student receives compensation.”) and does not include a similar prohibition in revised Standard 304."

Instructions for submitting comments are in the memo here:  Notice and Comment - December 11 2015

December 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CFP: Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2016 Conference

Via Prof. Kelly Terry:




Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2016 Conference

“Real-World Readiness”

June 10-11, 2016

Washburn University School of Law—Topeka, Kansas


The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law schools are preparing students to enter the real world of law practice.  With the rising demands for “practice-ready” lawyers, this topic has taken on increased urgency in recent years.  How are law schools and law professors taking on the challenge of graduating students who are ready to join the real world of practicing attorneys?  Can we be doing more?

The Institute takes a broad view of educational practices that promote real-world readiness.  Accordingly, we welcome proposals for workshops on incorporating such teaching techniques in doctrinal, clinical, externship, writing, seminar, hybrid, and interdisciplinary courses.  Workshops can address real-world readiness in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, or academic support teaching.  Workshops can present innovative teaching materials, course designs, curricular or program designs, etc.  Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and also when they return to their campuses.  Presenters should model best practices in teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants. 

The Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme.  To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one single-spaced page (maximum) and should include the following information:

  • the title of the workshop;
  • the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s);
  • a summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
  • an explanation of the interactive teaching methods the presenter(s) will use to engage the audience.

The Institute must receive proposals by February 1, 2016.  Submit proposals via email to Emily Grant, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at

Conference Details


Schedule of Events:

Washburn University School of Law will host a welcome reception on the evening of Thursday, June 9, and the conference workshops will take place at the law school all day on Friday, June 10, and until the early afternoon on Saturday, June 11. 

Travel and Lodging:

Topeka is about 75 minutes away from the Kansas City airport (MCI).  You may wish to rent a car at MCI for the drive to Topeka.  There are a few shuttle services available, if you’d like to explore those options (  and 

A block of hotel rooms will be reserved for a discounted rate at the Ramada Topeka Downtown Hotel and Convention Center.


The conference fee for participants is $450, which includes materials, meals during the conference (two breakfasts and two lunches), and a welcome reception on Thursday evening, June 9, 2016.  The conference fee for presenters is $350. 

For more information, please contact any one of the ILTL Co-Directors:

Professor Emily Grant


Associate Dean Sandra Simpson


Professor Kelly Terry


December 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Case selection, secondary trauma, and other people’s scholarship

I don’t relish my student’s traumatic experiences.  I am happy, however, that they are happening with me there to support them.

Perhaps I should be a little less overtly honest about it with my students.  As they came in over the last few weeks to relay some of their traumatic experiences to me, maybe I should not have moved so quickly to tell my students how much I thought they were learning from it and instead commiserated more on how bad it must be to experience clients’ trauma for the first time.  One student, on meeting his SSI client for the first time, had her tell him it wasn’t worth living once she was denied benefits and that she had considered killing herself over the case.  Another student went before an ALJ quite convinced that her severely mentally ill client should win only to have the ALJ badger her and the client about drug use that seemed truly irrelevant.  Like many clinicians, I have sent students to see dying clients, had clients insult and run out on my students, and had students visit clients in squalid neighborhoods that made clear to students for the first time the horrors of poverty.  It’s hard for them, and I should honor that.

I began thinking more about this after being fortunate enough to be assigned to a group with Ron Tyler from Stanford at the Clinical Law Review Workshop at NYU this fall.  I got to learn about his current scholarship, which describes what seems like an amazing trauma curriculum that is part of his clinic and the empirical study he is doing to look at whether his teaching is helping his students deal with secondary trauma in their clinic work.  I was struck by the thoroughness of the project but also the assumption that secondary trauma was a large risk for his students in his criminal clinic, even without picking cases to elicit traumatic responses.  I know it happens with my students, but does it happen enough that I should be worrying about and planning for it?

Pushing back a little, I asked Ron whether students experiencing secondary trauma is good for them as law students learning to practice and if so, whether he should select cases for his students that he hoped would elicit traumatic responses for his students’ benefit.  Kinder than me or at least my than my first inclinations on learning of his work, Ron noted he would never do that, but he knows the responses will happen to his students, and they will be as prepared as they can be. 

He made me think three things.  First, I am lucky to be able to participate in the CLR workshops (try it if you haven’t!), and get to learn from people like him.  Second, I need to learn more about secondary trauma.  Along with his draft article, I have now gotten to see a draft and hear about another article my colleague and Temple, Sarah Katz, is writing with Deeya Haldar from Drexel on secondary trauma in the family law context, (an article which was also workshopped at a CLR workshop and which is forthcoming n CLR soon!  Did I say try it if you haven’t?).  I am doing my best to notice potential secondary trauma with my students in their cases.  I am working on appropriate responses.

But third, I wonder whether maybe I should be more careful in my case selection and either select in or select out cases in which I think secondary trauma might occur.  Clinical classes are a great place to deal with problematic practice issues of all types.  Won’t a student benefit from facing this in a clinic?  On the other hand, is this for what a clinic student is signing up?  Is it right to put them in a situation where I know they will be traumatized?

As December for me is case selection time for the Spring semester, the question of what characteristics I want for our clients and cases is front and center.  It is hard.  Without knowing much about the new students that will take the clinic in the Spring, I need to come up with cases that I try to tailor to help them learn.  Now I wonder if I should be shielding them from trauma or at least considering it in the calculation.

In the end, I have decided I need to be as kind as Ron and not seek out traumatic experiences for my students.  I have to recognize that although the cases I give them may elicit secondary trauma, I cannot and should not force students to experience it.  I must confess, however, that I am not all that unhappy when my students come to me and have to talk about the feelings representation is provoking in them.  I want to help them learn to handle how their feeling affect their lawyering, and that if it is a response to trauma, that is not so bad.  As my wife says about treating kids with liver disease, she wishes no children had liver disease but if they do, she wants to take care of them.  Similarly, I want to help my students when they experience trauma, too!

December 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, December 4, 2015

What Can We Do?

On Wednesday, I posted an angry lament on Facebook in the wake of the violent atrocity in our Southern California community. It spawned a hot, predictable social media debate on guns and religion. Here is my summary comment to that conversation that has helped me clarify my own thinking.

We have a crisis of violence, hatred, fear and radicalization across many spectra in our nation. This may not even be new; it may be written into our national roots and character. It is ours, though, here and now, and this crisis is not inevitable or invincible. We do not have to live like this and fortify ourselves in bunkers of fear and arms, suspicious of everyone and ready for a quick-draw.

When I say we need to do something, I mean we need to do everything.

Yes, I favor very strict and highly regulated gun control. I also favor intense, compassionate, wise policing and intelligence, under the rule of law and accountability. I favor public investment in resources that will keep our communities safe and vibrant. I favor political discourse and journalism that does not radicalize us but informs and illuminates us. I favor rich, deep, accessible, extensive, and excellent public education for every child in America from preschool to graduate school. I favor public policy and private responses that invite inclusion and empowerment of marginalized, impoverished and vulnerable communities. I favor racial reconciliation and an end to the corrupt and violent state-complicity in the school-to-prison pipeline. I favor restorative justice and diversionary, alternative sentencing programs. I favor a capable and expert military, and I even favor the draft. I favor rich public and private investment in art, music and beauty. I favor the defiant, unyielding insistence that every single human being is a dignified soul entitled to love, hope and inclusion. I favor politics that seek solutions through compromise, creativity, negotiation and optimism. I favor wise laws that keep us safe and that respect the human, civil and constitutional rights we claim, and the only things that keep us from that balance are fear, greed and a lack of imagination. I favor the cultivation and care of communities of peace, sharing, mutual dependence, hope and empathy.

Fundamentalism of any and every species is the enemy, and fear is its weapon. We must stand against the tides of fear, ignorance, apathy, violence and exclusion, the forces that drive us apart. Our weapons must be wisdom, courage, love, creativity, humility, illumination, education, hope, and a fierce, tangible commitment to inclusion and dignity.

As Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, "The fight for justice in society will always be a fight. But wherever the spirit of justice grows imaginative and is transmuted into love, a love in which the interests of the other are espoused, the struggle is transcended by just that much."

December 4, 2015 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)