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:
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.
Filed under: Best Practices and Clinics, Teaching Methodology, Uncategorized Tagged: | academic freedom, instituional independence, law school clinic, political interference, professional responsibility, professionalism, Tulane Environmental Law Clinic