CSALE 2013-14 Survey of Applied Legal Education – by Mary Lynch

The Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education’s (CSALE) 2013-14 Survey of Applied Legal Education is now available on CSALE’s website http://www.csale.org/results.html and on SSRN http://ssrn.com/abstract=2566484

The 43-page report provides the summary results of CSALE’s third triennial survey of law school clinics and externships and the faculty teaching in those clinical courses. Over 88% of ABA-accredited law schools participated in the survey, which included theMaster SurveyLaw Clinics Sub-SurveyField Placement Course Sub-Survey, and Faculty Sub-Survey.

CSALE can also provide free customized reports on questions in the surveys – contact administrator@csale.org or rkuehn@wustl.edu.

Clinical Law Review Workshop – Registration deadline is June 30, 2015

The Clinical Law Review will hold its next Clinical Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, September 26, 2015, at NYU Law School.


The Workshop will provide an opportunity for clinical teachers who are writing about any subject (clinical pedagogy, substantive law, interdisciplinary analysis, empirical work, etc.) to meet with other clinicians writing on related topics to discuss their works-in-progress and brainstorm ideas for further development of their articles. Attendees will meet in small groups organized, to the extent possible, by the subject matter in which they are writing. Each group will “workshop” the draft of each member of the group.


Participation in the Workshop requires the submission of a paper because the workshop takes the form of small group sessions in which all members of the group comment on each other’s manuscripts. By June 30, all applicants will need to submit a mini-draft or prospectus, 3-5 pages in length, of the article they intend to present at the workshop. Full drafts of the articles will be due by September 1, 2015.


As in the previous Clinical Law Review Workshops, participants will not have to pay an admission or registration fee but participants will have to arrange and pay for their own travel and lodging. To assist those who wish to participate but who need assistance for travel and lodging, NYU Law School has created a fund for scholarships to help pay for travel and lodging. The scholarships are designed for those clinical faculty who receive little or no travel support from their law schools and who otherwise would not be able to attend this conference without scholarship support. Applicants for scholarships will be asked to submit, with their 3-5 page prospectus, by June 30, a proposed budget for travel and lodging and a brief statement of why the scholarship would be helpful in supporting their attendance at this conference. The Board will review all scholarship applications and issue decisions about scholarships in early July. The scholarships are conditioned upon recipients’ meeting all requirements for workshop participation, including timely submission of drafts, and will be capped at a maximum of $750 per person.


Information about the Workshop – including the Registration form, scholarship application form, and information for reserving hotel rooms – is available on-line at:




If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to send us, we would be very happy to hear from you. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Randy Hertz at randy.hertz@nyu.edu.


— The Board of Editors of the Clinical Law Review

Workshop on Measuring Learning Gains June 22-24

Registration is now open for the AALS Midyear Workshop of Measuring Learning Gains. The Workshop will address assessment of learning and evaluation of programs.  The workshop promises to be a hands-on program for legal educators to develop assessment plans and the tools and techniques to make those plans a success.
Register at the AALS website.

Crafting Learning Outcomes — What Verbs Do You Use?

A few years ago my clinical colleagues and I started to jointly teach Orientation for all our clinic students. The Orientation is typically 3 days long (this semester it was only 3 half days) and is a mixture of joint classes and smaller individual clinic-focused sessions. The joint classes focus on topics that are relevant to all clinic students, such as Introduction to Client Interviewing, Cross-Cultural Lawyering, Clinic Procedures, Acting for Lawyers, Persuasion for Lawyers, Factfinding, Legal Research for Clinic and a class devoted to team-building. We also set aside time for each clinic to meet individually to discuss clinic-specific topics.

Now, we’re thinking about whether to convert the Clinic Orientation into a stand-alone, 2-credit module. To me, the process of developing a curriculum and course proposal for this new class provides an opportunity to start backwards – to incorporate some backward design techniques into the course structure and design. Backward design theory explains that while a syllabus can offer a roadmap to the schedule and assignments for a semester, it is far less useful for setting goals and assessing student outcomes. By contrast, articulating learning outcomes at the beginning of the semester enables us as educators to more effectively measure student progress and provides us with a basis of comparison. So, I decided to start this semester with an eye toward the desired outcomes. What did we want our clinic students to know and be able to do at the end of Orientation?

So, as I sat through the Orientation classes this semester, I focused on crafting a series of learning outcomes for our students. Shortly into it, I found that the most challenging part of creating learning objectives is finding the best wording. I wanted to say “understand” for each topic – students would understand the value of client-centered lawyering, for example. But I recalled an earlier post on this blog, by Barbara Glesner-Fines, in which she recommended avoiding vague verbs, such as “understand,” because they do not effectively measure achievement. Instead, we should focus on “action verbs” that clearly define our expectations for our students.

What were the right verbs for my list of learning outcomes? As students go through the curriculum, we expect them to improve and gain new skills. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (1956), there are six categories of cognitive skills that students pass through as they learn. At the basic level, students begin with knowledge skills and gradually acquire skills of comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The language we use for learning objectives should reflect students’ increased cognitive skills throughout the semester. For example, students at the beginning of the semester may be expected to “define,” “recognize,” or “state” the significance of a legal concept, showing their developing skills. By the end of the semester, they should be able to “evaluate,” “interpret,” and “investigate” the proceedings of the courtroom trial, moving into more advanced skills and knowledge.

Here are some more verbs to include based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives:

Knowledge level:

  • Define
  • Describe
  • Recall
  • Record
  • State

Comprehension level:

  • Classify
  • Compare
  • Explain
  • Identify
  • Report

Application level:

  • Apply
  • Construct
  • Summarize
  • Demonstrate
  • Solve
  • Execute

Analysis level:

  • Analyze
  • Distinguish
  • Critique
  • Diagnose
  • Debate

Synthesis level:

  • Develop
  • Plan
  • Manage
  • Organize
  • Propose

Evaluation level:

  • Appraise
  • Argue
  • Conclude
  • Measure
  • Defend
  • Integrate

Knowing that this was a set of outcomes from Orientation and that our students were at the beginning of the learning process, many of the verbs I used are closer to the top of this list than they are to the bottom. At the end of the semester, I might expect to seek outcomes toward the bottom of the Taxonomy.

Here is my draft list of learning objectives for the Villanova Law Clinic Orientation. The process of crafting learning outcomes is still relatively new to me, so I’d love to benefit from the community and hear your comments/feedback on how this list could be improved upon.

Client Interviewing:

  • Students will explain the value of and be able to plan for an initial client interview; anticipate and identify how the client might feel and think about the interview; consider impediments to an effective interview; explain the value of building trust and rapport with a client at the beginning of a lawyer-client relationship; construct a set of goals for an initial client interview from the perspective of both the client and the student/lawyer.
  • Students will plan for and conduct one or more simulations of an initial client interview.
  • Students will be exposed to the importance of cultural sensitivity and issues of difference between themselves and their clients; be able to see the world through the eyes of another and appreciate new perspectives.

Professional Formation/Becoming a Lawyer:

  • Students will be familiar with the competencies necessary to become an effective lawyer and the underlying research; consider what kind of lawyer each student would like to be; develop greater self-awareness; consider how to find happiness as a lawyer in relation to each student’s own individual strengths and virtues.
  • Students will explain the value of learning about an office’s internal operations and recall procedures, such as, where and how to store files, how to maintain files, how to mail correspondence, where to find supplies, who is responsible for different functions in an office and other relevant office matters.

Teamwork and Collaboration:

  • Students will appreciate the value of and complications that may arise from collaborating with others on a team; work on teams for various exercises.


  • Students will demonstrate principles of persuasion and explain the importance of being persuasive as a lawyer; apply the factors to consider in making a persuasive argument (ethos, pathos and logos), such as understanding one’s audience and how to influence that audience’s heart and mind, building one’s professional reputation and leveraging the reputation of others, as well as the value of building a logical case.


  • Students will implement key understandings about learning, such as the circular process of planning, doing, reflection, with the goal of continuously reflecting upon and improving one’s work.

Diligence and Hard Work:

  • Students will hear about and see models of diligent lawyers, yet also distinguish between diligence and a healthy balance between work and pleasure and the value of levity and playfulness in a workplace

What verbs do you use in assessments and learning objectives? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

New Journal of Experiential Learning Available Now Online

Thanks to Touro Law School,  a new resource for our readers is now available.  The  Touro Law Center’s Journal of Experiential Learning has been launched online.  The inaugural edition  contains a foreword by Professor David Thompson, an Introduction by Dean Patricia Salkin and concluding remarks by Professor Luke Bierman.  Articles include

Ian Gallacher
Wes Porter
Christine Cerniglia Brown
Mary Lynch
Hon. Victoria A. Graffeo
Myra E. Berman

The  second issue will focus on post-JD incubator programs.  A call for papers has been out and a number of articles are already committed.  If you or a colleague would like to contribute, please contact Coordinating Editor, Associate Dean Myra Berman at mberman@tourolaw.edu<mailto:mberman@tourolaw.edu>

Also, if you have thematic ideas for future issues (e.g., legal process, externships/placements, clinics, pro bono, any doctrinal subject area, etc.) please let Dean Berman know.

Hot off the Presses – Evaluation of Experiential Daniel Websters Program Shows Graduates “Ahead of the Curve”

The long awaited report from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) and it’s Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers project is available on line. Entitled “AHEAD OF THE CURVE Turning Law Students into Lawyers A Study of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law “ the report describes the work done “with an evaluation consulting firm to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis of existing research to evaluate outcomes of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program. “ 

The report authors found:

  • In focus groups, members of the profession and alumni said they believe that students who graduate from the program are a step ahead of new law school graduates;
  •  When evaluated based on standardized client interviews, students in the program outperformed lawyers who had been admitted to practice within the last two years; and
  • The only significant predictor of standardized client interview performance was whether or not the interviewer participated in the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program. Neither LSAT scores nor class rank was significantly predictive of interview performance.

This evaluation should prove extremely useful as law schools, state courts and the ABA continue to examine the best way to prepare law students for the profession.

Clinical Law Review Board Seeks Applications by Professor Michele Gilman

The Clinical Law Review seeks applications for four vacancies on the Board of Editors.  The Board urges you to think about whether you would be interested, and to think about others whom you would encourage to apply.


Members of the Board of Editors serve for a term of 6 years. The term of the new Board members will commence in January 2016. Board meetings customarily are held twice a year: once at the annual Clinical Law Review Workshop at the end of September and once at the AALS Spring clinical workshop or conference. Board members are expected to attend meetings regularly. Policy matters for the Review and status of upcoming issues are discussed at these meetings. Throughout the year, Board members are asked to work with authors to edit articles. Board members also customarily serve as small group leaders in the Clinical Law Review Workshop.


Applicants should explain their interest in the position and should highlight the aspects of their experience that they believe are most relevant. The Board seeks applications from people committed to the work of the Review and strives to select people with diverse backgrounds and varying experiences in and approaches to clinical legal education. Applications and supporting resumes must be received no later than April 1, 2015. Please email them to me at mgilman@ubalt.edu with the subject line:  “Clinical Law Review application.”


The committee to select new Board members is always chaired by a current Board member whose term is expiring. I will be serving this year as the chair of the Selection Committee. The other members of the committee will be designated by the three organizations that sponsor the Clinical Law Review — AALS, CLEA, and NYU — each of which have designated two committee members.


I encourage you to contact me or other current or former Board members with any questions or for information about service on the Board or the work of a co-Editor-in-Chief. My fellow Board members and I have found it a very rewarding and informative way to continue the advancement of clinical legal education.


The other members of the Board are: Amna Akbar; Sameer Ashar, Wendy Bach; Keith Findley, Marty Guggenheim, and Kim Thomas. The current members whose terms are ending, along with mine, are: Carolyn Grose; Mae Quinn, and Brenda Smith.


The current Editors-in-Chief are Randy Hertz, Phyllis Goldfarb, and Michael Pinard.


Those who previously served on the Board are: Jane Aiken, Tony Alfieri, Bev Balos, Margaret Martin Barry, Ben Barton, Juliet Brodie, Angela Burton, Stacy Caplow, Bob Dinerstein, Jon Dubin, Cecelia Espenoza, Gay Gellhorn, Peter Toll Hoffman, Jonathan Hyman, Peter Joy, Minna Kotkin, Deborah Maranville, Bridget McCormack, Binny Miller, Kim O’Leary, Ascanio Piomelli, Paul Reingold, Jim Stark, Paul Tremblay, Nina Tarr, Rod Uphoff, and Leah Wortham. The Emeritus Editors-in-Chief are Richard Boswell, Steve Ellmann, Isabelle Gunning, and Kate Kruse.


I look forward to hearing from you. – Michele Gilman


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