THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22
[All times Eastern]
[All times Eastern]
12:00 p.m. - 12:20 p.m.
The Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE) was founded in 2006 on the premise that significant teaching was underway on the experiential side of the legal education and few educators understood its magnitude, commonalities, and variations. A group set out to survey every single law school to discover that important information. Every three years since, CSALE has conducted the survey. The 2019-20 CSALE Survey, which is underway at present, is the fifth. No other entity has as much information about our community, and certainly no other organization has the kind of historical data that CSALE has.
The CSALE “Master” survey collected school-wide programmatic information from 94% of the ABA-accredited law school. The second part, the “Sub-Survey,” focuses on course- and instructor-specific information. It was released in January and will remain open until May. We expect to have early returns from this part too.
The last substantial revision to ABA’s accreditation standards made significant changes in the experiential curriculum. Those amendments are now fully operational and accreditation site visit teams have been applying them for the last couple of years. This 2019-20 survey will show how law schools have settled into the new regime.
Compared to prior surveys, the 2019-20 survey significantly refined and expanded the questions to plum externship programs, seeking information on the responsibilities of the externship directors and others who help run the courses, additional responsibilities the externship directors carry, information on hybrid clinics/group externships, details on the methods of reflection that schools use, recruitment methods for directors and instructors, and better information on employment/faculty status.
We will share this new data, weave it with empirical data from other sources, and provide historical context. Understanding our past, and understanding the context in which we teach, will provide us 20/20 Vision for the Future.
Peggy Maisel, Boston University School of Law
D’lorah Hughes, University of California at Irvine
In 2016 the ABA revised Standards 204 and 305 to allow paid externships for the first time. This decision came after opposition from the CLEA and other organizations that paid externships would take away from the pedagogical mission of externships and also decrease the number of law students enrolling in public interest experiences. The ABA House of Delegates, led by the young lawyers division, argued that paid externships should be allowed largely to offset the high costs of legal education and to open up opportunities at companies who were otherwise resistant to offering externships, particularly because of concerns with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In March 2018, the CLEA Externship Committee surveyed law schools on their experiences with paid externships and produced a detailed report. The report identified next steps for continued data-gathering including the amount of compensation and funding received by students and the effects (both positive and negative) of adopting policies relating to payment.
This session seeks to continue the discussion of the impact of paid externships on a law school’s externship program and the student experience. We plan to build on CLEA’s 2018 survey by evaluating in more depth the issues that arise in implementing paid externship programs and the decisions not to implement such programs. We will seek to see if the debate has changed since 2016 and whether the ABA made a mistake in changing the Standards. We will explore with participants how we can better assess whether compensated externships are a good idea and the impact they are having, if any, on externship programs.
Carolyn Larmore, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law
Anahid Gharakhanian, Southwestern Law School
Elizabeth Anderson, Embraced Wisdom Resource Group
Chelsea Parlett-Pelleriti, Chapman University Schmid College of Science and Technology
Externships are booming and students tell us that they love their fieldwork! Given the prominence of externships in legal education and their significance to transitioning to practice, we were curious to empirically probe into a couple of questions critical to externship program/course design and our students’ experiences: are our externs successful in their externships, and what factors contribute to that success? We’ll share our preliminary findings based on hundreds of surveys gathered from externs and supervisors, over the course of spring, summer, and fall 2019, from four participating law schools – Chapman, Southwestern, UCI, and UCLA. Our presentation will also provide an overview of the study design and the data analysis by the experts who were part of our study team.
Our first inquiry of whether externs are successful in their externships used the IAALS (Institute of Advancing the American Legal System) Foundation for Practice study, which gives us enormously helpful data about foundations that first-year attorneys need. And our second inquiry of what factors most contribute to that success of practice-readiness as a first-year attorney looked at three categories of input – the students’ background and interest level; the school’s program/course design and teaching; and the quality of the placement and the supervision. Importantly, we explored these questions through a methodology that we think should be playing a bigger role in our assessment of legal education and what works – empirical research!
Takeaways from our presentation will be our research findings as well as an overview of empirical research design, including collaboration with experts.
Kate Devlin, Boston University School of Law
Cecily Banks, Boston University School of Law
Allan Motenko, Massachusetts Department of Revenue
This session will offer the current state of the law, best practices for reasonable accommodations in placements and courses, tips for engaging relevant university administrators, and the opportunity to discuss experiences on these complexities. Participants will be invited to help us all spot the deeper issues and share what you are doing to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are being met.
Suzanne Harrington-Steppen, Roger Williams University School of Law
Patricia Gould, Boston College Law School
Christina Miller, Suffolk University Law School
This highly interactive session will explore new ways externship directors and faculty can work with students and field supervisors to prevent, diagnose, and treat common challenges in getting and giving high-quality supervision. Field supervision is an essential component to clinical externships. In an ideal world, law students would only be placed with field supervisors who understand and appreciate their roles as teachers and who are trained in supervision best practices. However, the reality is that field placement supervision varies greatly from placement to placement and oftentimes externship faculty feel unsure how to monitor and intervene in this aspect of the fieldwork experience. Presenters will use video clips of externship students describing common supervision challenges. Participants will then generate new ideas and share best practices based on the scenarios. Workshop participants will leave this session with a list of new ideas and access to video clips that they can use with their students.