Participants in the Spring Workshop of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism has spent the past two days discussing how law schools can help students to respond to the economic crisis. One of the exciting presentations from the program was by Fred Rooney of the Community Legal Resources Network of CUNY Law School. He discussed a concept of “The Longitudinal Law School” — a law school’s continuing obligation to its graduates. He described two programs of the CUNY Community Legal Resources Network - “a collaborative that supports CUNY Law School graduates as they work to set up and run solo or small-group practices devoted to serving pressing needs of the poor and disadvantaged in communities that are underserved by lawyers.” Components of the program include the “Launchpad for Justice” program in which new graduates have an opportunity to provide critical legal services and continue their professional development in the time between their graduation and their admission to practice. A second program, the Incubator for Justice, which “trains CLRN members, over an 18-month period, in basic business issues such as billing, record-keeping, technology, bookkeeping and taxes while, at the same time, facilitating Incubator participants’ involvement in larger justice initiatives and in subject-based training in immigration law, labor and employment and other topics that will arise continually as these attorneys build their practices.”
As law schools are called upon to increasingly broaden their objectives, the concept of an ongoing commitment to the education of students beyond graduation is an important and often overlooked aspect of best practices.
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