Clinical legal education focuses on reflective learning, yet data collected from newer clinical faculty reveal that few schools offer training to assist new clinicians in understanding and incorporating reflective learning techniques as they make the transition from law practice to clinical law teaching. To the extent that training is offered to newer faculty, it may range from ad hoc guidance and informal mentoring to more deliberate programs, which may include periodic meetings devoted primarily to discussing clinical methodology, teaching techniques, and other issues important to newer clinical faculty. Although informal and unstructured approaches to training new clinical faculty may well be suitable, there does not appear to be a consensus on the types of training that would best serve the needs of new teachers and their students. The authors argue here that the same care and consideration that are customarily devoted to developing effective clinical experiences for students should be employed to devise effective in-house training programs for new clinical faculty.
Based upon the data collected and the lessons the authors learned from their experiences of working with new clinical faculty at the 1999, 2001, and 2003 Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) New Clinical Teachers’ Conferences, the authors make a series of recommendations for clinical faculty in-house training programs. The recommendations address the major issues confronting new clinical faculty: the classroom component in clinical courses, establishing scholarship goals, understanding clinical legal education, non-directive supervision versus directive supervision, when to intervene in client representation, and dealing with unmotivated students. The authors also propose guidelines for designing in-house training programs for newer clinical faculty. They conclude the article by advocating for more training to assist new clinical faculty in making the transition from practicing law to teaching law.
Justine A. Dunlap & Peter A. Joy, Reflection-in-Action: Lessons Learned from New Clinicians , 11 Clinical L. Rev. 49 (2004).