Helpful commentary on the perennial problem of political backlash against law school clinics about their choice of clients

Tulane Environmental Law Clinic director Adam Babich has put together a helpful piece, rich with deftly chosen citations from the likes of Ted Olsen, John Adams, and Justice Souter, to demonstrate the necessity of law school clinic independence in client selection, both for educational and service purposes. It can be found here:

http://www.americanbar.org/publications/professional_lawyer/2013/volume_22_number_1/twenty_questions_and_answers_about_environmental_law_school_clinics.html

In a few pages and accessible Q & A format, it is just as applicable to and useful to share with many non-environmental clinics, such as immigration student attorneys, who handle similar work (“involving complex regulations, administrative law, and disputes involving lots of documents”) and face comparable issues: on the totem pole of public unpopularity, undocumented immigrants, especially those allegedly convicted of crimes, may rank even lower than environmental activists.

My one quibble in presenting the article to students would be to comment on the use of commonplace phrases like “take the case” or “accept the case” or “reject/turn down the case.” I try to teach our student attorneys to think more in terms of “making an offer of representation” or “not prepared to offer representation.” It’s a subtle difference, I know, but not unrelated to the thrust of the piece in terms of the nature of the lawyer’s role, and a small way to reinforce the central concept of client as decision-maker.

Vanessa

One Response

  1. I felt in your post how you extremely want to help people to overcome their family problems by providing quality information and offering assistance, however, would it be much more convincing to get their interest if there are other relevant information they could get from the post aside from highlighting the characteristics, traits, qualities? well it is just my opinion… i have read about this site http://www.clary-associates.com/Family-Court-Matters.html and i believe that this can help you understand more what i am saying. in the end, it is still just my own opinion and whether you would consider it or not depends on you… but still a nice post..

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