WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21
[All times Eastern]
[All times Eastern]
In the wake of George Floyd's death and the growing national movement for racial justice, externship clinicians have been grappling with how to incorporate racial justice into their courses. This plenary panel discussion and the small group rounds session that follows will help attendees reflect on their personal motivations and preparedness and identify concrete steps they can take in their teaching.Small Group Rounds
Denise Roy, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Mitchell Hamline School of Law pioneered the first accredited blended learning J.D. program in the United States. Students in Mitchell Hamline’s blended learning program study law wherever they live—without leaving the comforts, jobs, and family stability of home. They also do legal externship work wherever they live. Since many live in communities far from any law school, their externship work promotes short-term, and eventual long-term, expansion of legal services in areas with severe lawyer shortages. Wherever they live, Mitchell Hamline students benefit from the real-world learning and networking opportunities that externships provide. Developing an externship program for far-flung students has been an interesting challenge and rewarding opportunity. Technology and teamwork play critical roles at all stages. This interactive session will explore the challenges and benefits of creating and operating an externship program for students living all over the country and even in some foreign countries. The session will allow participants to gather ideas for strengthening local externship programs as well as to gain inspiration and support for expanding externship placement sites to locations far from the law school.
Elizabeth Grant, University of Georgia School of Law
Kendall Kerew, Georgia State University College of Law
Alex Scherr, University of Georgia School of Law
Kelly Terry, University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law
This is not a typo. This session will start with the business concept of “smarketing” (a blend of sales and marketing) to explore the opportunities and challenges of explaining the impact of externship teaching. We will discuss how to gather data, identify audiences, and collaborate with students and site supervisors to create materials that convey the power and potential of our work.
This panel will discuss how externship faculty can measure the impact of externships and how to frame that data for different potential audiences. The panel will consider sources of data that include hours worked, tasks completed, student assessments, supervisor evaluations, and cases or projects handled. The panel will address more formal assessment tools, as well as the value of reflective writing and other evidence of student development that is often gathered informally. For all these sources, the panel will assess the scope of the task involved in gathering and assessing this data, including the challenge of collaborating with outside law practices.
The panel also will identify the various audiences that could be addressed. These include audiences within the law school such as students, other faculty, administration, development, public relations, and alumni affairs. The audiences also include those outside the law school, such as prospective students, donors, new site supervisors, employers, accreditors, and the like. The panel will develop the argument that different audiences will benefit from different data and thus different stories about an externship course, a fact which in turn influences the nature and kind of data an externship teacher might collect.
Presenters include new, mid-career, and long-standing externship teachers, as well as an experiential dean. The discussion is suited for externship teachers at any career point in any size program.
Beth Locker, Vermont Law School
Jeannette Eicks, Vermont Law School
Thanks to COVID-19, nearly all schools took their externship program virtual starting in the spring of 2020. When the pandemic ends, will be go back to normal?
Should we? At Vermont Law School (VLS) we know the future is already here…or anywhere our students want to be. VLS faculty will share the ways we combine online learning with the externship and practicum programs to reinvent the law school learning experience. The VLS online program was originally developed to offer a master’s degree in environmental law and policy, but has since evolved to meet the needs of modern JD students by enabling students to tailor their entire third year to their preferred learning location and experience. Vermont Law School offers bar courses, electives, and experiential learning in an online format to provide a Third Year Launch Into Practice. We will discuss VLS’s evolution through experiential and online learning. What began as an effort to meet student demand for flexibility has created opportunities for improved learning in both residential and online settings. One presenter directs the VLS JD Externship Program. The other teaches evidence online and runs the Vermont Law School Entrepreneurship and Legal Lab (VSELL) – a program that focuses on start-up law and innovative practice concepts through the perspective that legal services and triple bottom line companies are vehicles of environmental and social change. We’ll discuss the multifaceted approach needed to meet the goals of student flexibility and strong educational outcomes. We will cover the technology used to teach our courses effectively and address the administrative, learning, and community implications for the campus when students are spread across the country. The audience will participate through instant interactive surveys and a question and answer session at the end of the panel presentation.
Alexi Freeman, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Kelli Neptune, Howard University School of Law
Legal education and the legal profession overall continue to be far less diverse and inclusive than they should be. We know that intentional, proactive measures are needed to ensure access and opportunity to students who identify as members of historically marginalized groups. As externship professors, and as professors of color, we, alongside our students, appreciate that many legal organizations seek to recruit such students to diversify their staff and include such valuable perspectives and expertise in their organizations. We know such outreach brings important opportunities. However, we also know that there is a risk of actual and/or perceived tokenism and that research demonstrates that increasing access is but one step; ensuring that the office is inclusive – that such students feel welcomed and valued in the office once recruited – is as important to avoid increased marginalization and to improve retention. Thus, this session will provide externship professors with insights and best practices for supporting historically marginalized students who complete externships. We will provide strategies to support the students as they navigate externship sites as well as guidance on teaching and advising site supervisors who recruit and/or work with historically marginalized students. We will do this by showing video testimonials from students, engaging the group in active reflection, and participating in role-plays. At the end, participants will depart with a handout of suggested strategies so they leave with tangible ideas and potential tools to share with students and supervisors alike.