Saturday, August 11, 2018

Teaching law students how to better communicate with clients

This is a new article by Professor Linda F. Smith (Utah) about how we might record, study and learn from attorney-client (and student-client) conversations to better teach client communication skills. Professor Smith's article is called Rx for Teaching Communication Skills: Why and How Clinicians Should Record, Transcribe and Study Actual Client Consultations, 24 Clinical L. Rev. 487 (2018).  I'd give you the link to SSRN but the service has gone belly-up for the moment (actually, it's been down for several days due to "maintenance"). Instead here's a link to a pdf posted at the Clinical Law Review website as well as the abstract from Professor Smith's faculty page:

This article will argue that the legal academy has much to learn by recording, transcribing and systematically studying student-client and attorney-client consultations. Clinical faculty can utilize conversation analysis and other social science techniques to do this. Social scientists and medical providers have studied doctor-patient conversations in this way over many years. Through this systematic study researchers have reached conclusions about effective doctor-patient consultations that form the basis for teaching these skills in medical school. This article will highlight some of these studies and their findings. Some have contended that attorney-client conversations simply cannot be recorded and studied in the same way as doctor-patient consultations due to attorney-client privilege. This article will lay out how a law clinic could obtain client informed consent to this procedure, protect client confidentiality and privilege, and gain the necessary approval of the Institutional Review Board. Finally, this article will suggest topics about client consultations that could merit study in the law clinic.


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