Monday, August 29, 2016

Breaking Into Clinical Teaching (From Jennifer Koh at ImmigrationProf Blog)

Our friend, Prof. Jennifer Koh, at ImmigrationProf offers great advice in her post Breaking Into Immigration Clinical Teaching.  It's good advice for immigration lawyers and others interested in clinical education. 

Here's an excerpt:

  1. Several Different Types of Clinical Teaching Positions Exist, and it Helps to Know Which One(s) You Want. A number of different types of clinical teaching positions at law schools exist today, with varying levels of job security, publication requirements, and additional faculty responsibilities.  They each have their pros and cons, and it’s helpful to know (roughly) which one might be a good fit for a person at the point in their career when they are considering a transition to clinical teaching. Roughly speaking, I’d divide them into the following five categories: (1) tenure-track or tenured faculty positions, (2) clinical tenure or long-term contract faculty positions, (3) adjunct faculty positions, (4) staff attorney positions, and (5) clinical teaching fellowships.  I provide rough explanations of each, with the caveat that every law school is different, such that some of the descriptions below may not apply universally.  Tenure-track positions for faculty typically exist at law schools that have made an institutional decision to create a “unified” tenure-track, in which professors whose primary teaching responsibilities are in a clinic are evaluated and promoted on a path towards tenure with expectations very similar to faculty who do not teach in clinics.  Almost always, tenure-track faculty members are expected to publish in law reviews, serve on faculty committees, and participate in all faculty votes.  Faculty with clinical tenure or long-term contracts, by contrast, may or may not be expected to publish.  Depending on the school and the terms of the position, faculty may be encouraged – but not required (and potentially, not supported) – in their scholarship endeavors.  Clinical tenure and long-term contract faculty may or may not be permitted to participate fully in certain faculty decisions, such as the hiring or promotion of their non-clinical colleagues.  Whether tenure-track, clinical tenure, or long-term contract faculty, the entire faculty of the law school must usually evaluate and vote on the appointment.  Adjunct clinical faculty (like adjunct faculty at any law school) generally have their own practices, but agree to supervise a limited number of students each term within their specialty area.  Staff attorney positions are typically non-faculty positions in which publication is not expected.  Staff attorneys’ primary responsibilities are usually to manage, support and grow the clinic’s docket and advocacy work.  Staff attorney positions often come with student supervision and teaching responsibilities.  Unlike most clinical teaching fellowships, staff attorney positions are typically not designed with an end goal of preparing the attorney for entry into the clinical teaching field.  Many staff attorney positions are permanent (as opposed to time-limited) positions.   Some staff attorney positions (and some clinics) are supported primarily or partly by “soft money,” such as grants and external funders, such that the job security may depend on the availability of outside funding for the clinic or position.  Finally, a number of law schools offer clinical teaching fellowships, which are typically term-limited, full-time positions designed to provide mentoring to the fellow to eventually obtain a clinical teaching position while the fellow provides case coverage and teaching support to the clinic.   At many law schools, adjunct faculty, staff attorneys and clinical teaching fellows do not require full faculty approval. 

    Some questions for one to consider, in light of these differing positions:  To what extent do you enjoy or have the aptitude for research and publishing?  To what extent is your resume consistent with your potential to publish?  What are your primary motivations for going into teaching? To what extent do internal hierarchies within your workplace matter to you?  What stage are you at in your career as a lawyer?  How geographically flexible are you? (Actually, this last point matters enough to warrant #2.). 

  1. Geography Matters. Quite a Bit.  The clinical teaching job market, like the overall job market for academic jobs, is pretty tight.  The drop in law school applications over the past several years has caused quite a few law schools to restrict their faculty hiring, and so being geographically flexible makes a big difference.  For folks who are willing to move anywhere (or most places) for their dream teaching job, participating in the American Association of Law Schools’ Faculty Recruitment Conference may make sense, as a number of law schools have hired for tenure-track and clinical/long-term faculty positions through the conference (also referred to as the “meat market”). But for attorneys who realistically cannot move, then cultivating relationships with the law schools in one’s area may provide a better route to developing some pathway to clinical teaching. If pursuing opportunities within a particular geographic area, personal relationships with existing faculty help, as they might lead to adjunct teaching opportunities or other collaborations with a law school.
  1. Publishing Helps, But May Not Be Critical. PhDs, LLMs are Probably Less Valuable for Clinical Teaching. As discussed in #1 above, whether one publishes really depends in large part on the nature of the position and the law school’s expectations of the clinician.  For tenure-track positions, demonstrating one’s potential for scholarship is generally required for the position.  For other positions, one’s track record as an excellent attorney, an innovative advocate, a leader in the profession, and an effective teacher may be the main criteria for the job.  That being said, I think writing helps, even if in less traditional forums such as practice guides or blogs.  Writing in an area that grows out of one’s practice experience or advocacy work is often a great place to start.  My sense is that obtaining an advanced degree such as a PhD or LLM is not particularly helpful for clinical teaching, since those degrees do not tend enhance one’s ability to teach practical skills (meaning, I wouldn’t recommend obtaining any of those degrees in order to prepare oneself for a clinical teaching position; better to spend the time writing, litigating a cutting-edge case, developing innovative lawyering, seeking out opportunities to work with law students, etc).   
  1. Clinical Teaching Fellowships? A Mixed Bag.  Many of immigration law professors directing clinics at law schools across the country have completed clinical teaching fellowships.  (I did mine at Stanford).  They can offer excellent experience for aspiring clinicians to gain teaching (and lawyering) experience, develop mentors and relationships within the legal academy, and start on their scholarly agendas prior to entering the law teaching market.  But clinical teaching fellowships cannot guarantee a full-time faculty position in this job market, especially if the fellow isn’t geographically flexible.  The pay tends to be low, and thus difficult for candidates without other sources of financial support.  Whether one pursues a clinical teaching fellowship may thus depend on the other factors outlined here.
  1. Don’t Discount the Serendipity Factor. As with much of life, one just never knows how things will unfold.  My sense is that timing and luck matter a lot in determining who gets which clinical teaching jobs.  Maybe a local law school happens to decide in a particular year to expand its clinic or receives funding to expand in the immigration area.  Maybe a full-time clinical faculty person retires.  When I initially interviewed at my own law school (through the AALS “meat market”), they were looking for an entirely distinct faculty role, but as our discussions progressed, a retirement was announced and I somehow had the opportunity to start an immigration clinic in Southern California.  

August 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Seeking New Writers for 2016-2017

The Clinical Law Prof Blog is inviting new voices to join our group of writers.  The vision of this blog is to create a forum and community for clinical legal educators to discuss new ideas, share announcements, reflect on our work, praise accomplishment, seek justice, and promote good teaching.

If you would like to write for the blog for 2016-2017 and beyond, please write me at my email below in the profiles.  We ask that you commit to one post per month at least, and these can range from major academic and theoretical pieces to short posts sharing announcements, events, job postings, or articles of interest.  We enjoy fiction and poetry, too!

Specifically, we would like to identify a writer who will curate and share regular law review articles on clinical education or by clinical professors.  We would also like to identify a writer to carry on the Five Questions series of interviews of clinicians. 

Whether you are new to this or an experienced veteran professor, whether you are at a highly ranked university or a scrappy regional law school, please consider adding your voice to this community. 

If you’re not already, please join the Clinical Law Profs Facebook group and follow @ClinicalLawProf on Twitter.

August 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

JOBS: Stetson Clinical Director

Via Prof. Cynthia Batt:


Director of Clinical and Experiential Education


STETSON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW may seek to fill a faculty position for Director of Clinical and Experiential Education beginning in fall 2017.


Our main campus is located in Gulfport, Florida, in the Tampa Bay area, the nation’s nineteenth largest metro area.  Stetson was established in 1900 and is Florida’s oldest law school.  Stetson has earned a national reputation for its advocacy, elder law, legal writing, and higher education programs, and has Centers for Excellence in many areas. We encourage potential applicants to visit our website at to learn more about our school, our community and our programs.


We welcome applications from candidates interested in serving as the Director of Clinical and Experiential Education.  Stetson offers our students more than 400 clinic and externships opportunities. Responsibilities include overseeing the development, implementation, and evaluation of the College of Law’s clinic and externship courses, establishing objectives and assessment procedures for clinical courses, working with faculty members who teach externships and clinic courses, and teaching. Stetson encourages applications from women, minorities, LGBTQ candidates, and all others who will contribute to our stimulating and diverse cultural and intellectual environment. All applicants must have a strong academic record and be committed to outstanding teaching and scholarship.


The Faculty Appointments Committee will begin reviewing applications on or around August 15, 2016. Candidates will be interviewed during the AALS 2016 Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington, D.C., although some interviews may take place at other times and locations.


Contact: Applicants should send a cover letter indicating teaching and scholarly interests, a current CV, and at least three professional references to Professor Candace M. Zierdt at [email protected] or by standard mail to Professor Zierdt at Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL 33707.

August 18, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

JOBS: University of Arkansas - Fayetteville

Via Prof. Steve Clowney


The UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS SCHOOL OF LAW-FAYETTEVILLE, invites applications from both entry-level and lateral candidates for a tenure-track clinical faculty position to begin in the fall of 2017.

The law school is focused on hiring an individual who can build on and expand our successful Immigration Law Clinic.  All applicants for the position should have significant practice experience in immigration or asylum law, and some familiarity with supervising young attorneys.  Candidates should also have demonstrated scholarly promise, strong classroom teaching skills, and an absolute willingness to serve on school committees.  Any successful applicant will be expected to sit for the Arkansas bar examination. 

In furtherance of the law school’s fundamental commitment to experiential learning, clinical professors have full tenure rights and equal voting privileges on all faculty issues.

The University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, located in the northwest corner of the state, is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas. The University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution and welcomes applications without regard to age, race, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, religion, marital or parental status, protected veteran status, military service, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity.  Persons must have proof of legal authority to work in the United States on the first day of employment. All applicant information is subject to public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Applicants with questions may contact Professor Steve Clowney, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, at[email protected].

August 17, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

JOBS: South Dakota: Low Income Tax Clinic Director, Lecturer

Via Assoc. Dean Tiffany C. Graham:  

Low Income Tax Clinic Director, Lecturer

The University of South Dakota School of Law invites applications for the position of Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Director. The position is non-tenure track and paid out of a federal grant beginning no later than January 2017. Continued employment is contingent on availability of grant funding.

The Director will lead the only LITC in South Dakota. Responsibilities will include representing low-income taxpayers before the IRS and the U.S. Tax Court, teaching and supervising clinical law students in the representation of clients, engaging in outreach to South Dakota communities, developing and coordinating a panel of pro bono attorneys, managing the LITC’s docket, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of an IRS-funded LITC.

We would be especially interested in candidates who have experience with an LITC or have some teaching experience. The grant period ends December 31, 2016, but is expected to be renewed for three years thereafter. The successful candidate must be a licensed attorney in a United States jurisdiction (a state or the District of Columbia) by the time of the appointment.

Applications for all university positions must be submitted through the Board of Regents electronic employment site: Include on the website: application letter, vita, and names and addresses of three current references.  Inquiries may be directed to Ramon Ortiz, Director of Experiential Learning, School of Law, University of South Dakota, 414 E Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069; e-mail [email protected]; telephone 605-677-3922.  

For application assistance or accommodation, call 605-677-5671.Diversity and inclusiveness are values that are embraced and practiced at the University of South Dakota.  Candidates who support these values are encouraged to apply.  EEO/AA.

August 16, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tyner: The Leader's Journey

A guest post from Dr. Artika Tyner on her new book, The Leader’s Journey: A Guide to Discovering the Leader Within:


Lawyers are the gatekeepers of justice, democracy, and rule of law. We are called upon to create access to justice and preserve the foundational tenets of fairness and equity. As gatekeepers, lawyers should also utilize their legal training to serve as leaders. This process of social change can be evidenced through the furtherance of social justice, transformation of the legal system, and public policy reform. 

The preparation for assuming the role of lawyer as leader should begin during the formative years of a lawyer’s professional identity- law school. Law schools are in a prime position to aid law students in developing their leadership capacity by connecting their practical experience with an understanding of leadership development and one’s ability to advance social change. The adoption of a leadership development and social justice curriculum is a “new frontier” for legal education by in which the potential of law students to serve as leaders and agents of change can be realized. As a former clinical law faculty member of the Community Justice Project, I was inspired to write my new book which provides law students with a practical guide on how to develop their leadership skills.  

Leadership is a journey often mistaken for a destination. The Leader’s Journey: A Guide to Discovering the Leader Within contains practical guidance and inspiration for that journey. My new book will provide law students with inspiration on how to develop their individualized leadership style and make an impact. This is the foundation of leadership growth. In three parts, the book explores core values of leadership and how these values can inform a law student’s understanding of leadership. 


 Part 1: Leading Change—Planting People, Growing Justice (Why Lead?) 
Leadership is about influence. Law students have the power in their hands to positively influence the world around them. I start each course with asking my students: “What is in your hands to make a difference in the world?”

Part 2: Your Leadership Qualities (What Makes You a Leader?) 
Effective leadership requires developing the necessary tools to lead change, such as:  fostering creative problem solving skills and engaging in community-building in order to eradicate the access to justice gap.

 Part 3: Your Leadership DNA (What Is Your Individualized Leadership Style?) 
One’s leadership style is as unique as your DNA. It is the individualized, unique composition of each student’s leadership skills, technical competency, and life experiences. The challenge on this leadership journey is to discover how to leverage one’s leadership talent. Through the exploration of a range of leadership styles, law students will gain tools for leading more effectively. They can customize these styles to create their very own signature brand.

This collection of quotes serves as a source of inspiration and guidance on each student’s leadership journey. The quotes function as a critical reflection tool. As students take the time and reflect on each quote, they will gain new insights and build their leadership platforms. This type of reflection provides an opportunity for law students to strengthen their leadership skills and share these lessons with others. 

August 12, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 5, 2016

JOBS: Texas A&M University School of Law

Via Prof. Luz Herrera:

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW in Fort Worth, Texas seeks a full-time faculty candidate to fill a tenure-track or contract position to expand its clinical program. The Texas A&M Clinical Program offers thoughtful practical training for students interested in a range of substantive areas that include family law, government benefits, trademark law, patent law and immigration. Candidates must have a J.D. degree or its equivalent, an excellent academic record; experience supervising law students; and demonstrated practice experience. Candidates will be expected to apply for admission to the Texas Bar. A successful candidate will have demonstrated, or a strong promise for scholarly achievement. Applications for criminal justice, juvenile justice, probate, community economic development, tax, and consumer law clinics are particularly encouraged.

Texas A&M University is a tier one research institution and American Association of Universities member. The university consists of 16 colleges and schools that collectively rank among the top 20 higher education institutions nationwide in terms of research and development expenditures. As part of its commitment to continue building on its tradition of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service, Texas A&M acquired the law school from Texas Wesleyan University in August of 2013. Since that time, the law school has embarked on a program of investment that increased its entering class credentials and financial aid budgets, while shrinking the class size; hired nineteen new faculty members, including thirteen prominent lateral hires; improved its physical facility; and substantially increased its career services, admissions, and student services staff. 

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the university’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at [email protected] Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Eckstein at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509.

August 5, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review of Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World

This year, I am serving on my law school’s curriculum committee, outcomes assessment task force and our self-study committee for an upcoming ABA site visit. These posts involve many of the most pressing questions of the day in legal education, and they intersect often with clinical and experiential learning.

For these reasons, I was very happy and a bit intimidated to receive an invitation from the Journal of Legal Education to review Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World, edited by Deborah Maranville. Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kass, and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, and written by many others.  I have the privilege of friendship and collaboration with many of these authors and editors, and they are doing innovative, wise work on the hardest issues of our enterprise.  Their work and insight hit home. 

Please read and use the book; it will make our law schools better.  It will make us better teachers and scholars and will promote better outcomes for the students who trust us. It takes its place within the canon of legal education theory and practice, from McCrate to Carnegie to the original Best Practices. It is not the destination of our work, but it is a useful, important stop along the way. 

Here is an excerpt from my review, available on SSRN here and at 65 J. Legal Educ. 988 (2016).

Building on Best Practices charts the path for institutional and curricular reform within the prevailing structure of outcomes assessment. Like the refined demands of new ABA accreditation standards, Building on Best Practices draws from the trend toward objective measurement of identifiable goals. Institutional assessment follows a constructive, progressive cycle: identifying outcomes and goals, developing means to measure progress toward those goals, measuring performance in light of the desired outcomes, evaluating results, and developing and implementing changes, before starting again.

Thus, rather than evaluating a school based on its inputs, like the metrics of an incoming class, the library budget, or faculty research assistance, a school should measure its success based on how well it achieves the goals it sets for itself. Building on Best Practices proposes this process as the means to strengthen and improve the enterprise of legal education. Each law school must reckon what it wants to be in a topsy-turvy environment, then mark out a course to achieve it well within its own contexts and markets. It is not enough for schools to add or remove programs, to build a space, or to invest in a class with higher entrance metrics. Instead, schools must be able to articulate why they should do those things, to have a clear purpose for making the moves they make, and to use good tools to determine whether they work.

August 1, 2016 in Books, Scholarship, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0)