George Critchlow, Professional Responsibility, Student Practice and the Clinical Teacher’s Duty to Intervene, 26 Gonz. L. Rev. 415 (1990).
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While there are a number of useful skills training methods, the live client clinic is one of the more valuable and unique tools for teaching lawyer competencies. A client-centered learning experience which requires the law student to “learn by doing” under the structured guidance of a clinical teacher also enriches students’ understanding of what it means to be a lawyer in the more subtle but important dimensions of human relations, ethical and moral responsibility (to clients, courts, and society), and reflective, self-critical thinking.
The live client clinic, however, is a special hybrid, presenting pedagogical and ethical concerns not encountered in other law school settings. The clinical teacher will face role confusion and professional conflict when his or her assessment of what is educationally productive for the student collides with the teacher’s assessment of professional obligations owed to the client. This conflict may turn generally on the teacher’s sense that the client’s interests are not being zealously served and protected by the student advocate. It might stem from a perception that the student is committing violations of more specific ethical rules (e.g., making a false statement of material fact to a tribunal) or committing errors or omissions which would constitute professional negligence. The clinical teacher may also have a particular moral sensibility about the specific case, or about conflict resolution in general, which differs from that of the student and which suggests responsibilities or constraints beyond those dictated by the applicable ethical code… Read More