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2010 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education

Submitted by Clark Cunningham on Tue, 12-01-2009
Conference location
Baltimore, Maryland
United States
Sponsor organization(s) or institution(s)
Association of American Law Schools (AALS)
Sponsor(s)' contact information

Conference Description
Answering the Call for Reform: Using Outcomes Assessment, Critical Theory and Strategic Thinking to Implement Change
Best Practices for Legal Education and the Carnegie Report, Educating Lawyers, have stimulated a conversation about change in many law schools, including about how and whether to educate lawyers for practice. As professors who have played a central role in educating graduates for practice and in pushing reform in legal education, clinicians have been and will be an important voice in these conversations. This Conference aims to provide clinical educators with knowledge and skills needed for improving their own programs and participating meaningfully in institutional change. The conference's goal is to empower clinicians and other faculty whether their school is deeply engaged in discussions about Carnegie and Best Practices or whether the conversation has not even begun. To that end, the conference will follow an arc that considers the possibility of change in our own teaching (through examination of outcomes-based approaches), in the vision of lawyering we employ and transmit to our students (through engagement of the role of critical perspectives in effecting positive change), and, finally, in our clinical programs, academic institutions and legal education as a whole (through examination of theoretical models that explore how change occurs).
The 2010 Conference will include both plenaries and substantively related mini-plenaries that will enable conference attendees to deepen their understanding of and engagement with the plenary topics. These presentations will introduce the organizing themes for concurrent sessions, working groups and poster presentations. Facilitated working groups will provide conference participants with the opportunity to engage in conversation about the ideas that emerge in the plenaries and mini-plenaries. Working groups will be organized by clinic subject matter as well umbrella topics, including clinical scholarship, teaching lawyering in law school curriculum as a whole, and setting outcomes for clinical programs. Concurrent sessions will follow both sets of mini-plenaries and their working groups. These concurrent sessions will provide opportunities for detailed examination of issues and ideas that are related to or grow from the topical landscape of the plenaries and mini-plenaries. We hope the work done in the plenaries, mini-plenaries and working groups will serve as a springboard for the deeper, more specific and often more explicitly participatory learning that is the hallmark of the successful concurrent session. The final set of concurrent sessions, which we have designated "working concurrent sessions" will be a new addition to the conference format. These sessions will be organized around points in the geography of legal education where we see, hope to see, or hope to effect change. These may include topics as various as, for example, clinicians' status in the academy, clinical and integrative pedagogy and clinical education's role in advancing social justice.
Teaching Methods