clinics, clinical education, law school
Law school offers few opportunities for students to move beyond the ink and paper law of textbooks to see the actual effects of real law on real communities. Because law school clinics offer a rare opportunity for students to see the real and imperfect law-in-action, the import of immersive clinical experiences on the education of tomorrow's lawyers is inestimable. Through clinics, students learn how the law really works, witness its power and its shortcomings, and ideally begin to envision what shape the law ought to take. Expressing a student's perspective on how to make the most of the extraordinary opportunity of clinical legal edu cation, this article advances that goal through five core directives: 1) immerse intensely, 2) balance hubris and humility, 3) challenge legal structures, 4) expect the whole law school to join in confronting issues of social justice, and 5) discuss visions of social justice openly. These directives not only challenge law schools to make issues of access to justice and the social responsibility of lawyers a central theme of the curriculum, they should also embolden clinical teachers to offer intense immersion experiences that encourage students to indict structures of injustice and to work toward particular visions of justice and social change.
Jeffrey Ward, One Student’s Thoughts on Law School Clinics, 16 Clinic Law Review 489-519 (2010)