Saturday, January 11, 2014

A debate on requiring clinical/experiential training in law schools

The Clinical Legal Education Association has proposed that law school accreditation standards should require every law student to take 15 credits of experiential education, or about one semester out of the six usually needed for graduation. Experiential education can take many forms, from clinics and externships to simulation classes, but the basic idea is that no one should become a lawyer without having had some exposure, with the guidance of law school faculty, to the practice of law. It seems to me that this idea is confirmed both by logic (shouldn't a professional school provide training in the practice of the profession?) and by experience (both from the clinics and other experiential classes law schools already offer, and from the very substantial levels of experiential education that a range of other professions require).

But reasonable people disagree, and one of them, Brian Leiter, graciously invited me to debate the question with him on his blog. We did so last week, under the title "Ellmann v. Leiter on the proposed clinical/experiential learning requirement." I hope you'll enjoy it!

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