Calls for legal reform, most notably the Carnegie Report, create an imperative that law schools provide more clinical opportunities to law students. In a world with limited resources, this potentially creates a tension between providing a clinical opportunity to all (or most) students versus providing a deeper clinical experience to those who take clinics to increase the likelihood that they are competent to practice upon graduation. While clinical scholars recognize that the decision to offer a clinic for one semester or the full academic year is an important consideration in clinic design, there has been little analysis of how this decision impacts educational goals and clinic design. This paper examines this question by critically examining the advantages to both and reflecting on an experiment in which the University of Miami Children & Youth Law Clinic, which traditionally operated as a full-year clinic, offered some students the Clinic for only a semester. Applying clinical pedagogy scholarship and adult learning theory, the author concludes that law schools must be intentional about the trade-offs and consciously justify the particular mix of length and type of clinics. The author makes the case that there are significant benefits to offering clinics for an entire year, and that in designing clinics for one semester, law schools must carefully identify goals and structure the clinic to maximize learning.
- clinical education; legal education; Carnegie Report
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kele_stewart/1/