Jay Pottenger from Yale and Beryl Blaustone from CUNY gave two of the keynote presentations at the recent International Clinical Conference in Ireland. The theme of the conference was “Lighting the Fire: The Many Roles of Clinical Legal Education”. (Wonderful conference by the way, kudos to the organizers!).
An exciting thing about the American presentations was the leadership,,, from MacCrate, to Best Practices and Carnegie. And, while we complain that law schools in the U.S. have not implemented MacCrate as you would expect from such an important report, nearly every law school in the U.S. now has some form of client-service clinic. It turns out that an important report was published in the United Kingdom by the Lord Chancellor’s Committee for Education and Conduct in 1996 and was followed in 2001 by the Law Society of England and Wales proposing a new legal educational framework to teach law students knowlege, skills and ethics. In the wake of these two important reports, some law schools in the United Kingdom responded by including more simulation courses in the curriculum. Professor Pottenger’s presentation focused on the superiority of client-service clinical models to simulation programs, particular in imparting training on ethics and building on student motivation. Professor Beryl Blaustone did a masterful job of demonstrating her techniques for providing meaningful feedback to students in a client- service clinical program. Her technique of asking the student to identify their own issues with their performance and using that as the springboard for the feedback session is very effective. Her presentation demonstrated that there are simply some things that can only be taught through the supervison and feedback process in a client-service clinic.
This two-day conference included a wealth of papers and from many jurisdictions addressing the philosophy and techniques of clinical legal education in law schools in many countries. It was a stimulating conference and the Best Practices book was often mentioned. I was really proud of the leadership that American clinical legal teachers demonstrated at this important conference. And the two keynotes by Beryl Blaustone and Jay Pottenger did all clinical teachers from the United States proud! The conference web page is here: http://www.numyspace.co.uk/~unn_mlif1/school_of_law/IJCLE/
Next year’s International Clinical Conference will be in July in Australia!