Thursday, October 27, 2016

News and Notes on Clinical and Experiential Education at Pepperdine University School of Law

In this annual season of program updates, I am happy to share news from Pepperdine about our continuing efforts to expand and improve the programs of clinical and experiential education. This has been a busy year of new projects and curricular reforms.

Curriculum  Reform:

As I noted here, in 2014, Pepperdine became the first school in California to proactively adopt a version of the California State Bar’s TFARR proposals. Our current 3Ls will be the first class to graduate with a requirement of 15 units of experiential education and 50 hours of pro bono service. This year, we refined that requirement to accommodate student demand and to balance other important experiences in law school. Now, students must complete 15 units of experiential courses or their equivalent, and the equivalent may include limited legal work outside of credit bearing courses. Here are more details on our new experiential learning requirements.

Pro Bono:

The 50-hour pro bono requirement has driven exceptional student demand for clinics and practicum courses, in addition to co-curricular pro bono opportunities. We are constantly working to generate and promote pro bono opportunities for students.  For example, with generous grant support, we have developed an excellent partnership with OneJustice to offer multiple Rural Justice Bus trips throughout the year to underserved areas of Southern California. These limited-scope clinics focus primarily on veterans services in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. We have developed these trips largely for 1Ls, so they can have early live-client experience before they are eligible for clinics, externships and practicums.  Some are meeting clients under supervision within weeks of beginning law school. Here are more details on the pro bono requirement.

Expanding Externships:

In the wake of the ABA’s dramatic revisions to field placement standards at the beginning of this semester, we undertook a thorough examination of our externship program (timely as the ABA just completed a site visit last week). After provisional experiments this semester, and considering significant student demand, Pepperdine now permits paid externships in addition to our typical, unpaid placements in judicial, governmental, public interest, and corporate offices. In Los Angeles, this is especially advantageous for our students working in entertainment, media, and sports practices. 

Our students may take up to 22 units of out-of-classroom credit during law school, which includes all field placement courses, and they may take up to 10 units of externship credit per term. These full-time externships are common for students working in federal circuit court their second year, and they are essential for our Washington, DC Externship Semester. Here are more details on the externship programs.

New Clinics:

In 2016, we launched two new clinics.  In the Restoration & Justice Clinic, students represent victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Los Angeles.  Prof. Tanya Cooper has developed  important partnerships with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and CAST LA to advocate for clients of gender-based crimes, seeking remedies and orders to ensure liberty, safety and empowerment for our clients.  

On the foundation of an IRS grant, we launched the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic in downtown Los Angeles. This clinic has a particular focus on ESL clients in downtown and East LA.  In its first full semester, the clinic had a full wait list within days of opening registration. Under the exceptional direction of Supervising Attorney Isai Cortez, the LITC is thriving on Skid Row alongside the Legal Aid Clinic.

Now with six standard JD clinics and three clinics in the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine offers about 160 seats in clinical courses each year, accommodating about 80% of all law students by the time they graduate. 

Here are more details on all of our clinics: Community Justice Clinic, Fair Employment & Housing Mediation Clinic, Investor Advocacy Clinic, Legal Aid Clinic, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Mediation Clinic, Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, Restoration & Justice Clinic, and Special Education Advocacy Clinic.

New Practicum Courses:

To increase live-client courses, and to offer more specialized practice areas, we have developed several practicum courses in fruitful collaboration with excellent partners. Practicums give us a platform to innovate and experiment, especially when institutional resources are tight. These are exciting works in progress. 

Practicums are field placement courses in collaboration with partners in focused practice areas, reserved for Pepperdine students who apply directly to the partner agencies. The partners provide supervision in practice, and law professors provide academic framing and guided reflection.  Presently, we offer three active practicum courses with others in development.

The Employment Law Practicum is our newest practicum course. Students work with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County in its Workers’ Rights Clinic. Their work involves individual representation, policy research, and program development in immigrant communities. 

We also work with the great lawyers at NLSLA in the Veterans Law Practicum (Los Angeles).  Students represent veterans in diverse controversies, applications, and appeals for benefits in LA area Veterans Administration offices through NLSLA's Veterans Initiative.

In the Veterans Law Practicum (Ventura), our largest and longest running practicum course, students work with the Ventura County Public Defender to represent clients in Veterans Treatment Court, a collaborative court with restorative justice, diversionary sentencing, and rehabilitative programs for veterans.    

We have set an ambitious standard that every student will graduate with diverse, intensive practice experience with live-clients and committed experiences in public interest practice. This is a demanding expression of our mission and pedagogical priorities, and it creates perpetual challenges to improve existing programs and to expand into new forms, partnerships, and practice areas. We have all hands on deck, from our dedicated clinical faculty, to adjuncts and supervising attorneys, to doctrinal faculty who are taking on faculty advising, imagining new clinics, and integrating experiential components into their courses. 

This is an exciting season for clinical and experiential education at Pepperdine. Like so many schools, we are pressed between rising demand for clinics, externships and experiential learning and intensifying pressures in enrollment and budgets. We have had a full year building these programs to better serve our students, clients, and communities.  

October 27, 2016 in Clinic News, New Clinical Faculty, New Clinical Programs, Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Recap of the 6th Annual Southern Clinical Conference – “Celebrating the Work: Innovations, Traditions, and Disruptions in Clinical Legal Education” (Oct. 13-15, 2016)

At this year’s Southern Clinical Conference, the Charlotte School of Law (CharlotteLaw) welcomed close to forty legal and clinical educators representing eighteen law schools to celebrate the innovations, traditions, and disruptions in our work as clinical educators. Being a city reflective of tradition, innovation, and (yes) disruption, the City of Charlotte proved to be an appropriate site given the theme of this year’s conference. Further, being a law school with mission pillars dedicated to (1) serving the underserved, (2) producing practice-ready attorneys, and (3) ensuring positive student outcomes, CharlotteLaw was the ideal host for the conference.

The following is a recap of this year’s conference highlights:

• On Thursday night, the conference kicked off with a great informal gathering of attendees at the Aloft Hotel in uptown Charlotte.

• On Friday morning, CharlotteLaw’s Dean Jay Conison gave conference attendees a warm welcome to both the Queen City and to our school. He extolled his support for clinical legal education and emphasized CharlotteLaw’s commitment to experiential education generally citing our thirteen live client clinics, expansive externship and cooperative placement programs, and one of the country’s only post graduate law firm incubators.

• For the opening plenary session, Professor Bob Kuehn of Washington University School of Law presented ‘Measuring the Value of Clinical Education.’ As per usual, Bob did not fail to impress us with his amazing empirical research showing the benefits of clinical legal education in relation to student job outcomes. He further shared his ongoing research into whether there is any (positive or negative) effect of clinical legal education upon student bar outcomes.

• Conference attendees were given a chance to learn more about the disruptions (North Carolina House Bill 2 (HB2) and the killing of Keith Scott) affecting the City of Charlotte during a lively lunch panel held at Bentley’s Restaurant (a restaurant on the 27th floor of Charlotte Plaza that showcases a great skyline view of Charlotte). Moderated by Charlotte Law’s Clinical Director Scott Sigman, the panelists for this forum (all involved with said disruptions) included CharlotteLaw Professor Christie Matthews, CharlottLaw Graduate and ACLU Board Member Brandy Haynes, and Charlotte City Council Members John Autry and LaWana Mayfield. For those of you missed this fantastic lunch panel, here’s a link to the video.

• Our Friday evening reception was held at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in uptown Charlotte. Our attendees enjoyed wonderful company, great food, wine/beer, and unimpeded viewing access to the museum’s newest exhibits. In juxtaposition to the events inside our Friday reception, Republican Nominee Donald Trump was giving a speech a block away from us at the Charlotte Convention Center. Reports are that at least a couple of our attendees joined the throng of Trump protestors outside the Convention Center!

• On Saturday, two of our most favorite clinicians, Alex Scherr (UGA) and Carwina Weng (Indiana), presented the conference’s closing plenary – “Too Much of a Good Thing? Integrating Outcomes into In-House and Externship Clinics.” Given the new push towards measuring outcomes in legal education, this highly educational and interactive presentation provided us innovative strategies, challenging us all to become better clinicians and closed our conference on an amazing note.

• All in all, there were twenty presentations (plenary, sessions, works-in-progress, panels) featured at this year’s conference. Each one was engaging and fantastic.

• One last shout out to my fellow conference planning committee members – Anne Hornsby (Alabama), Danny Schaffzin (Memphis), Kendall Kerew (Georgia State), Lisa Martin (Catholic), Robert Lancaster (Louisiana State), Alex Scherr (Georgia), and Crystal Shin (William & Mary). You guys are the best!

• Next year’s Southern Clinical Conference will be held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Everybody should mark their calendar when the ‘Save-the-Date’ comes out in the near future!

October 21, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A lesson on fear: how re-locating to Jamaica increased my empathy for supporters of Donald Trump


As the plane descended at dusk over a hazy patch of lush, green island, surrounded by the sea, I realized that I had absolutely no idea what my life would be like for the next nine months.  I have not been in such an unpredictable situation in ages. Like most Americans, I live in an environment that is almost entirely predictable, to the point of even seeming mundane, and so the idea of moving to Jamaica to research restorative justice for nine months on a Fulbright Grant was exciting in theory.  As I moved from the theoretical into the practice of living a new reality, I was anxious. In minutes, I would be landing in a world wholly unfamiliar, one that I had only read and heard about but never experienced. 

I had a heightened awareness that safety could be an issue here.  This message was reinforced in a multitude of ways: during orientation, in the news, from locals, past visitors, in on-line forums, the campus security page on the university website, an endless amount of information conveying the importance of safety. The instant I touched the ground, images emphasizing this perception were omnipresent. In Kingston, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a security guard, they are everywhere - at the entrance to every gated community, in and outside every supermarket, mini-market and gas-station.  The ATM doors lock behind you, roads are littered with “sleeping policemen” (speedbumps), walls and chain link fences surround most everything, you cannot even drive into a parking lot without having to pick up a card from a security guard that you must present before you leave to ensure you are the rightful owner of the vehicle that you’re driving or riding in. For the first time in a long time, my safety seemed to be in question.

I envisioned a difficult but manageable adjustment to my new life, but I morphed into a person I didn’t quite recognize. I was living out the potential reality of what I imagine many of my fellow Americans, who support Donald Trump feel, I was shackled by my fear. I had no context for the world I was entering and therefore no baseline for the danger or lack of danger that actually existed, but all the signs pointed toward warnings and so I heeded them. My body and my mind assumed worst case scenarios, creating a victim-persona that needed protection rather than acknowledging that I am a capable, adaptable, empowered adult who has maneuvered life relatively well.  Generally, I am a very optimistic person, who intensely longs to see the best in people and our world, but I have to admit that I was in total lock-down. I felt horrible and within the first 24 hours, I was second-guessing my decision, as my opportunity had morphed into a difficult challenge. Everything became puzzling and substandard; simple adversities seemed to need herculean strength to overcome. This reality was exhausting.

My malaise, discomfort and the person I was becoming came alarmingly into focus during one of my walks home. I was on my way back from campus to my apartment, which is about ¾ of a mile away in a fairly isolated but magnificently lush, green, gorgeous valley.  The grounds are surrounded by a chain link fence and there is a 24 hour security checkpoint for all persons entering. It was a balmy Friday afternoon, I was sweating, uncomfortable and in a rush to get into the one air-conditioned room in my home, when I saw a man, probably in his 20s walking on the road.  The phrase “he doesn’t seem like he belongs here” rolled around in my head. Alarm bells rang, thoughts of how I would fight and what I would do if attacked raged through my head and adrenaline pumped. I steeled myself, put on the nastiest face I could muster and practically stomped past him. I was momentarily proud of myself for projecting such a hard-ass appearance and “saving myself” from potential catastrophe.  I walked past my house in case he was around the corner plotting on how to break in my apartment. I was being “safe” and “using my common sense.” I spent the rest of the afternoon with a nagging feeling, listening for sounds, and worrying. 

Simultaneously, I had a sense of unease with myself and my behaviors. I kept looking at the situation, thinking about the many ways that “keeping safe” prevented fostering connection. I knew this protectionist mentality was not aligning with how I want to be in the world and would eventually stop me from understanding Jamaica.  And the use of that word “belong” was really the final straw. Who was I, a foreigner, to talk about belonging? This is a word that has been used to justify horrific profiling, discrimination and worse, and here I was “othering” to preserve my stuff?!? I just couldn’t stop thinking about the list of things I needed to “protect:” my passport, ID, money, things. I was convinced that I would crumble and wouldn’t survive without them.  I was completely identifying with things, as if my very being were being threatened. I realized this thinking was not healthy, and I knew I had to get out of this space, but I didn’t entirely feel motivated. In fact, I felt strangely, righteously justified in defending my things against any and every perceived threat at almost any cost. This mentality was a downward spiral that lead to intense consumerism. I kept shopping to buy more things that I thought would make me feel comfortable, which of course would put more at risk of being taken, and none of my purchases could make me feel better because what I really wanted was safety and connection. To feel pseudo-safe, I stuffed myself, stuffed down my feelings, locked up physically and emotionally. I knew I could not live this way, but escaping the reality my mind had created was immensely difficult.

Mercifully, it all changed in an instant, well an evening…the way that life often does. I was invited to see Garvey. The warmth of the locals who had offered to take my friend and I was instantly soothing and my self-created distress started melting away. The musical was phenomenal, and I was instantly drawn into the story, mostly forgetting about the worries of “safety.”  Occasionally, small thoughts would pop up about how I would get home in the dark, but I was determined to delight in this experience, to stay in the moment and soak in every second of this spectacular piece of art that was moving my soul. At the end of the night, one of my new friends took me home and as I lay down, exhausted from so many emotions, I knew a shift had occurred. In the morning, I opened my eyes and my first thoughts were of the warmth from the rays of sun as they streamed through the window across my skin. I walked into my living room and didn’t cringe immediately at the heat, but recognized how my body had comfortably adjusted. I looked out my front doors in time to see a stunningly beautiful sunrise.

Through kindness and connection with others, I had come back to myself.  I choose an apple instead of candy for breakfast. I didn’t feel the need to shop for more stuff. I started writing, turned on my music, read a book, and my heart exploded when I saw my best friend’s children smile at me on FaceTime.  I stopped waging a war against the ants that swarmed the garbage and learned to tie a small bag up high and take it out when I leave the house.  I am open again. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about safety, I am just not consumed by it.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and view it as such again instead of as a challenge. I’m excited to make new friends and to learn a new way of being in the world; the industriousness of the people that I have already witnessed has amazed me, and I look forward to learning more.

In reflecting on my first few days in Kingston, I now have a little more insight on fear and how it can co-opt us. I was momentarily inconsolable, I watched myself become someone that I was not proud of but I didn’t know how to change. In the end, I was moved by what always moves me in this life: connection, music and dancing.  These reminded me that we are all just trying to live our best lives. We are doing the best with our situation. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. And while it’s true there may be some harsh realities, I was creating a story, nothing had actually happened, I was my own worst enemy. Living in that place of fear did nothing to protect me, and worse, it prevented me from accessing the connection I really needed and from seeing beauty and light. Fear can be both a reality and a state of mind, and living there, whether real or perceived, is an awful place to be.

I had to ask myself how I would have reacted if someone had criticized my fear or manifestations of it. My situation highlighted that the feelings underlying the fear mentality are valid and deserve to be met with compassion and problem solving rather than chiding and dismissal. This transition has given me new perspective on what this election can be about for me. I can listen to someone’s fears, even if they manifest in an unappealing way, because I too have the capacity to act out of alignment with who I want to be in this world.  I can reckon with the need that is underlying the fear, making people feel safe, respected and whole, because that is what’s required to move us all into better space.


October 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Columbia Law School to Design and Teach Alternative Dispute Resolution Curriculum With the Educational Arm of the United Nations


Columbia Law School will develop a program to train U.N. diplomats and personnel in negotiation techniques and conflict resolution, under an agreement signed this week by Columbia University and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The partnership grew out of a multi-year effort by Columbia Law School Professor Alexandra Carter ’03 to teach alternative dispute resolution to U.N. diplomats in New York City. Since 2012, Carter—the director of clinical education at the Law School and head of the Mediation Clinic—has led UNITAR’s negotiation workshops for women diplomats.
A champion of mediation as a critical tool in resolving conflicts, Carter envisions a larger and evolving international collaboration between UNITAR and Columbia University. She touts the global concerns and international reach of many of the Law School’s ten clinics, and credits Law School Dean Gillian Lester, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, for making “international engagement a major pillar of her deanship.”
“Columbia Law School’s clinics move global and national policy developments, in addition to serving many individual clients,” said Carter. “Over the last decade, the Mediation Clinic has worked with transnational organizations like the United Nations, as well as foreign governments, federal and state courts, and law schools, to advance the practice of mediation, negotiation, and global peace building.
“The Mediation Clinic will be the focal and contact point for the new curriculum and trainings, though over time we expect to bring together many of our experts from other schools and disciplines. We are starting in New York—with the largest diplomatic corps—but we have already received requests for proposals abroad.”
‘Opportunities for Our Students’
Under the supervision of Carter and Lecturer in Law Shawn Watts ’12, Columbia Law School students in the Mediation Clinic work to resolve a wide range of real-world cases involving commercial, employment, housing, and family disputes. Carter sees great opportunities in the new UNITAR partnership for students who have already studied the basics of negotiation.
“Columbia Law School students will be intimately involved in the design of these training programs, they will assist in the classrooms, and they will have an opportunity for substantive interactions with diplomats and change agents from all over the world,” she said.
In addition to teaching her Law School courses, Carter has taught mediation to private- and public-sector groups, as well as to international academic audiences, and she serves on the Mediator Ethics Advisory Committee for the New York State Unified Court System. In January, Carter and Watts helped conduct the first Peace Summit at Tokyo’s International Christian University, where students, faculty, and diplomats from nine nations studied the policy and practice of mediation and peace building.
In 2012, UNITAR asked the Mediation Clinic to participate in the Women Negotiating Peace conference at the United Nations. Carter’s workshop--a first-of-its-kind training for female delegates—was organized in response to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, which promotes the participation of women in peace building efforts worldwide, noting they are “underrepresented in virtually all” governments.
“We were proud to be part of that first summit,” Carter recalled, “and right from the beginning, we could see the impact on the diplomats and also the incredible opportunities for our students. The U.N. asked us to return because of the tremendous feedback.”
Since then, the workshop has become an annual event, and participants have even come to the Law School for further training, attending the initial “boot camp” weeks of each semester’s Mediation Clinic. Starting in the fall, Carter and Watts will teach an Advanced Mediation Clinic, “in large part because of the U.N. partnership and all the substantive work we know it will generate for our students,” Carter said.
At this week’s signing of the Law School’s agreement with UNITAR, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Nikhil Seth stressed the importance of gender equality.  “He came up with an idea to hold training programs for women before the General Assembly and all other major U.N. meetings,” Carter said, “so that female diplomats feel equipped and empowered to enter the U.N.’s biggest arenas and advocate for themselves and their missions.”
In a statement released after this week’s meeting at Columbia Law School, UNITAR called the collaboration “crucial to equip members of this community with the capacity to navigate and contribute to the United Nations.”
Partnership with UNITAR
UNITAR was established in 1965 "for the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations.'' It provides short-term executive training to officials of member states as well as to representatives of civil society and the private sector. It works with an estimated 25,000 people around the world each year, through seminars and workshops, e-learning, and special events.
When Carter met earlier this year with the head of UNITAR’s New York office, Ambassador Marco Suazo, they came up with the same question: “Why are we talking about isolated programs when we could be talking about something so much greater?” remembered Carter. “We should be exploring everything that Columbia Law School and Columbia University bring to bear, in terms of teaching, intellectual leadership, and the ability to design a curriculum that will marry conflict resolution—which is a skill that cuts across all disciplines—with the U.N.’s 2030 agenda and its sustainable development goals. These goals include gender equality, eradicating poverty, access to justice, making sustainable cities, creating just institutions and protecting our environment.”
The agenda’s social justice goals align with the mission of the Columbia Law School clinics, which handle cases in such subject areas as international human rights, environmental law, community enterprise, and immigrants’ rights.
“Our clinics were founded to increase access to justice and to solve legal and social problems, to be a voice for those who need one, and to empower individuals, whether they live in New York City or Papua New Guinea, to access their rights and solve their own problems,” Carter said. “This partnership is a tremendous fit for our program.”
The New York diplomatic corps represents a wide variety of nations, from the world’s most- to least-developed states. Workshop participants will receive signed certificates of attendance from Columbia Law School and Columbia University, Carter notes, and the U.N. has expressed a desire to work toward a more formal credential, such as a certificate in conflict resolution and diplomacy.
“Our goal, over the next year and beyond, is to design and execute trainings that will reach hundreds of diplomats, and to combine our expertise in conflict resolution with substantive legal knowledge that will benefit all nations and all peoples,” Carter said.

October 15, 2016 in Clinic News, Clinic Profile, Clinic Students and Graduates, Clinic Victories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Judicial Externships as "Experiential Courses"

This post arises from an exchange on LAWCLINIC. Sally Gertz from Florida State posed the following question:

Question:  Does your school count a judicial externship as an “experiential course” under new Standard 303, which requires each student to have 6 credits of experiential courses? 

I answered in two emails; this post combines the two in a single post:

My school has treated judicial externships as professional skills courses and will continue to treat them as experiential courses under the new rules.

I read the list of “other professional skills” in Interpretation 302-1 as inclusive and expansive rather than exclusive. The lead-in to the list of named skills says: “other professional skills are determined by the law school and may include skills such as” the list of enumerated skills. To me, this suggests two things:

—the list does not exclude teaching of skills other than those listed so long as

—the law school makes a determination that these skills are legitimate outcomes of the relevant course.

A judicial externship course offers many potential outcomes that fall within the scope of “other professional skills.” In addition to the ones that you noted in the list itself, I would include professionalism by attorneys and judges in a litigation context, the exercise of judgment as a neutral decision-maker, management of a high volume caseload, research and writing in a time-sensitive workplace, and pragmatic problem-solving as a judge.

These are all outcomes available in both trial and appellate chambers and are ones for which most chambers have ample opportunities to give students “opportunities for performance” under Standards 304(c) and 303(a)(3). Of course, being able to articulate these professional skills on your syllabus is just a start: your course will have to meet the other requirements of Standard 303(a)(3) and 304(c), by supporting and focusing student learning for these outcomes in the balance of the externship course.

Finally, an important clarification. The outcomes I described earlier include several that might serve for a non-experiential course: research and writing; professionalism; and problem-solving. These learning outcomes constitute acceptable learning outcomes for a non-experiential course, under 302(a), (b), or (c): a writing seminar, or a traditional professional responsibility class.

More pointedly, consider the following two course proposals:

—an “externship” in which the student stays at home, receives research assignments from an outside practice (perhaps a judge’s clerk) with no context for the assignment, no access to the file, no chance to observe related hearings, and no contact with the judge or the clerk about how the issue assigned relates to the underlying problem.

-- an “experiential course” in which students do research and produce memos on behalf of an outside non-profit with whom the teacher has a connection. The students primarily research and write and may engage in in-class discussions of problem-solving, under faculty supervision, but with little to no contact with the outside organization or the realities faced by the non-profit.

Those are not experiential courses, in my view. The definition of an “experiential course” ought not to cover courses in which a student only practices skills identical to those in a writing course or a doctrinal class. In defining an experiential course, Standard 303 refers back to all of Standard 302, including those subsections identified above.  But it’s important to make sure that student learning should focus on the exercise of other skills, the “other professional skills” in Standard 302(d), and in a real or carefully simulated practice context.

In a well-structured judicial externship, the student works in the denser, richer context of direct judicial practice: drafting proposed orders; analyzing, suggesting, and discussing possible decisions; observing and reflecting on conduct by judges and lawyers; and engaging in conversations with the judge and the clerks that develop their understanding of decision-making, problem-solving, and ethical representation.

Some of this work matches what we would see in a doctrinal or paper course; but that’s not what distinguishes it as “experiential.” The broader list of skills in Standard 302(d), as developed in Interpretation 302-1, seems more characteristic of experiential learning, especially when exercised in the fuller context of practice.

You can find the language of Standards 303 and 302 here: Chapter 3, Program of Legal Education.


October 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Conferencing on Tulsa Time

Conferencing on Tulsa Time

A shout out of thanks to the folks at the University of Tulsa Clinical Program for the gracious hosting of the Midwest Clinical Conference this weekend. Dean Lyn Entzeroth not only welcomed us warmly on Thursday evening, but has been an engaging participant throughout. Associate Dean Betsy McCormick and her colleagues (Mimi Marton, Anna Carpenter, Barbette Viet, Lynn Miller, Kate Vetterick, Nathalie S. Guerrero, & Cynthia Yaschine de Kohler) have put together a great program.

I urge colleagues to stay tuned to the conference website, as materials from the raft of great presentations are posted. There’s still a day to go, but so far we’ve inspired and informed, especially about Tulsa’s past and present social justice struggles. Some highlights from those presentations:

Our lunch keynote speaker yesterday was Marq Lewis, director and founder of We the People Oklahoma. Lewis told the story of organizing the petition effort to empanel a civil grand jury to remove Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz from office in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris. Particularly inspiring were the practical proposals made by Lewis to advance policing reforms, including blood testing of officers following shootings and efforts to reduce use of force incidents.

Following lunch, Devon Douglas (a recent TU alum) and David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute; Deborah Shallcross, a former judge now at GableGotwals; Dan Smolen, a civil rights attorney in private practice; and Adrienne Watt, of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, shared about the ongoing efforts to secure access to justice in Oklahoma.

Hannibal B. Johnson, attorney and author of Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, was the keynote speaker at dinner. Johnson shared with us the sad and powerful history of the 1921 Race Riot in which white mobs destroyed the thriving black business district of Greenwood. He recently wrote that:

"We are fast approaching the five-score anniversary of the riot. Let us exhale, and then let us breathe freely, oxygenating our efforts on three fronts: (1) healing our history; (2) making an appreciative inquiry into our past; and (3) recommitting to diversity and inclusion. If we do this, we will have honored the memory of one of our darkest days by illuminating it with a bright new light."

In the Q&A, Johnson also shared about the history and current struggles of the black towns of Oklahoma, formed in the post-Reconstruction era by migrants from the South.

October 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 7, 2016

5 Questions for Julie D. Lawton

I am excited to start off our Five Questions series with a fascinating woman:  Julie D. Lawton, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Housing & Community Development Legal Clinic at DePaul University College of Law.  I couldn’t help being drawn to Prof. Lawton's story and I hope you will be too!

  1. Before becoming a clinical professor, you practiced corporate and transactional law.  Describe how your journey brought you from a large firm to directing a housing & community development clinic.

That’s a bit of a longer answer about life…I was practicing at a large law firm in Washington, DC enjoying my work, but delaying “living”. When asked when I would (travel, marry, vacation more, start a family…), my answer was always “when I (make partner, get older, make more money…)”. Then Sept 11th, 2001 happened. I was driving down the highway when the plane hit the Pentagon (I worked about 10 minutes away). It was the blackest smoke I have ever seen. The city was in chaos, my family in a minor panic, and my country, and my view of living, forever changed. Afterwards, I read the stories of the victims of the many things they wanted to do in life, but postponed until “when they”… I decided then, that “when” must be now. So, at the end of 2001, I quit my job, sold my house, packed my car and traveled the world for a bit. I went whale watching in Alaska, walked along Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, had the best Indian food (ever!) in Durban, visited the Valley of a Thousand Hills with the Zulus in South Africa, sat at a point in the Chobe River that is the meeting point of 4 countries, dodged hippos in Botswana, and drove with a lifelong friend from San Francisco to Philadelphia, including visiting the Petrified Forest, the OK City Bombing Memorial, and a meteor site along the way. And, I have been trying to live life every day since. I have traveled to 18 countries, moved to another area of the country, bought a new house, fallen in love, gotten engaged and found my true professional passion in life in teaching. This path has taught me that life is not about the destination, but about the journey, so I enjoy the ride. And, the journey has led me here.

  1. Your article "The Imposition of Social Justice Morality in Legal Education" has garnered much press and discussion among us clinical professors.  I must say, regardless of whether I agree or disagree, it felt like a breath of fresh air.  I love open discourse like this.  It is part of the reason I enjoy being in academia.  What was the impetus for writing this article?

As with many articles, the impetus was a variety of events that eventually led to a decision to write about it. From my frustrations with the diversity of clinical offerings when I was a law student, to the frustrations of many of my law students with the diversity of clinical offerings, to the many comments from others I heard that we, as clinical professors, choose cases that reflect our social justice leanings, I thought it appropriate to add my voice to the discussion. Honestly, I was invited to speak at a symposium and wrote this piece for the symposium. I genuinely (and, naively) thought it would be a sleepy little piece that allowed me to flesh out some arguments that had been floating around in my head. I never (ever) expected it to generate such controversy. In truth, I am uncomfortable in the spotlight and would have been perfectly happy for it to have remained a sleepy little piece. However, after so much discussion about it, I accepted that I reinvigorated a discussion about an issue many of us care deeply about, so I decided to “lean-in”. I wrote a companion piece that delves deeper into these questions that will be published in the Indiana Law Review next spring. Here’s hoping our wonderful clinical colleagues will continue to love me!

  1. As directors/supervisors of clinical programs, we all have hopes and dreams for what our programs can and could be.  You are the director of DePaul's Housing & Community Development Legal Clinic. What plans or goals do you have for your clinic during the next five years?

My clinic historically has focused on real estate and affordable housing. However, at my school, DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, more students practice business law upon graduation than real estate law, so I am expanding my legal clinic to incorporate more business and entrepreneurship into client selection. I have established a collaboration with our business school to build more businesses and we are also collaborating with our College of Computing and Digital Media to offer more services to businesses in the area.

  1. I'm a new clinician and always love hearing from those with more experience, so what's one "tip" you would give someone just starting out as a clinical professor?

Find your own voice in life, whether as a lawyer, a parent, or a professor. There are many models from which to choose, and while there are some clear ways to do this wrong, there are few clear ways to do it right. Listen to others, learn different techniques, contemplate and try out which works best for you, and then find, and trust, your own voice. 

  1. You've lived in Chicago for a few years now, can I safely assume you are a die-hard Cubs (or Sox!), Bulls, BlackHawks and Bears fan?  I grew up watching Michael Jordan fly, the Bears go to Super Bowl XX (and win!), and the Cubs continue to lose in the playoffs, so Chicago sports will always be near and dear to my heart.

Welllll, I am marrying a south-sider who happens to be a Cubs fan, teach students who are die-hard Packers fans, and live in a country with a President who is a Sox fan. So, my lesson learned is to cheer them all; that way, I don’t have to dodge Chicago snowballs as I go about my day.

October 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Conference on Standard 314 and Formative Assessment: ILTL and Emory, March 25, 2017

Via Prof. Kelly Terry:


 Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law

Spring Conference 2017


“Compliance with ABA Standard 314: Formative Assessment in Large Classes” is a one-day conference for law teachers and administrators who want to learn how to design, implement, and evaluate formative assessment plans.  The conference will be interactive workshops during which attendees will learn about formative assessment techniques from games to crafting multiple choice questions to team-based learning.  Participants will also learn ways to coordinate assessment across the curriculum.   The conference workshop sessions will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Emory University School of Law.

Conference Content:  Sessions will address the following topics:

Why Assess: Empirical Data on How it Helps Students Learn

Games as Formative Assessments in the Classroom

Formative Assessment with Team-Based Learning

Creating Multiple Choice Questions and Ways to Using Them as Formative Assessment

Coordinating Formative Assessment Across the Curriculum

Conference Faculty:  Workshops will be taught by experienced faculty: Andrea Curcio (GSU Law), Lindsey Gustafson (UALR Bowen), Michael Hunter-Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Heidi Holland (Gonzaga) and Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga)

Who Should Attend:  This conference is for all law faculty and administrators.  By the end of the conference, attendees will have concrete and practical knowledge about formative assessment and complying with Standard 314 to take back to their colleagues and institutions. Details about the conference will be available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law. 

Registration Information:  The registration fee is $225 for the first registrant from each law school.  We are offering a discounted fee of $200 for each subsequent registrant from the same school, so that schools may be able to send multiple attendees.  Details regarding the registration process will be provided in future announcements.

Accommodations:  A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Emory Conference Center Hotel for $159/night; at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown, Decatur for $99/night; and at the Decatur Holiday Inn for $159/night.  Reservation phone numbers are : Emory Conference Center Hotel: 1-800-933-6679; Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Decatur: or 1-404-371-0204; Holiday Inn Hotel Decatur 1-888-HOLIDAY.

October 6, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eviction Diversion & Civil Gideon

This Thursday, the 55th District Court in Mason, Michigan will call its Landlord-Tenant docket as it does each Thursday afternoon. There are 65 cases on the docket. Sixty Five tenants sued for possession under the laws of Michigan.

Our Housing Law Clinic at the Michigan State University College of Law will be there as well. Similar to other programs in Washington D.C. and other cities where law students represents consumers in housing matters, the Housing Law Clinic students come to court and represent the consumers before the court. Our clinic has been a partner with the District Court and the Michigan Department of Human Services for 4 years now. It is an idea that began when the city of Kalamazoo began a pilot program called the Eviction Diversion Program that set the tone for this path to more due process for low income residents in Michigan. Tenants, in some courts, would have lawyers in housing matters, and could avoid judgments and imminent eviction. DHS also provides some financial assistance to consumers who wanted to save their tenancies. 

The key to it all is cooperation between the court, the government, attorneys for property owners (and some property owners) Legal Services of South Central Michigan and our law school clinic. The judges of the court respect the right to counsel, would like to see due process occur in the legal system, and do not want to be the pipeline to homelessness.  MSU law students, eager to learn their profession, and even more interested in getting comfortable before courts, are engaged and are drawn to the program more and more each year. 

So on Thursday, our clinic will likely has 10-12 lawyers and clinicians ready to assist Michiganders. Legal Services of South Central Michigan will provide another 4 lawyers to assist. Considering that approximately half the tenants will appear (that is the average), any tenant wanting legal representation can have one. Just like criminal defendants who are charged with crimes each day. It is not a constitutional right yet (though it should be) but this is a small step towards a Civil Gideon.

As a result of the great example set by Kalamazoo, the Eviction Diversion Program has spread to other courts in Michigan, as it should. There was an attempt to implement the program in Eaton County District Court but it fell apart at some point. I was there on a few occasions and some of the lawyers for landlords complained angrily of the fact that tenants had lawyers now. Imagine. A lawyer complaining that someone has counsel ! It was one of the low moments in all of my experiences as a lawyer.

But overall, the Eviction Diversion Program has been mostly a positive experience. This past week, I received two inquiries from other jurisdictions in Michigan who want to do something similar in their courts on the landlord-tenant docket and would like some tips. Members of the program at the Mason Court also met with representatives from out of state (at their request) about starting a similar effort in their city.  This has been the norm so far; the negative experiences hardly outweigh this community commitment to equal justice way under the radar. 

October 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)