In this clip, my colleague, Cheryl Bader, and I, talk about where students often start and where they end up. As I listen, I am struck by how much we are talking about feelings and relationships and how little we have to say about rights, the law and all that. It reminds me that the clinic is just one part of law school and is best understood as part of that larger institution. Although some of my clinical colleagues may disagree, I would not want law school to be all and only the clinic or if it were, the clinic would be very different.
Our students come to us already steeped in the discourses of rights, obligations and process. The first year of law school is a powerful experience. Some think the clinic should help students unlearn first year, but I think the clinic should leaven, broaden and deepen first year. I guess I am still a very traditional law professor and lawyer. I can stress lawyer role and relationship in the clinic because my students are already thinking about rights and rules and our legal work reinforces those messages. When I teach first year, I stress the abstractions, because that is the time for them and I know my first year course, like my clinic, is just one part of the whole that makes up a legal education.
-- Ian Weinstein