Clients As Teachers


If there ever were a time in which we need lawyers who are wise and offer a healthy dose of reflective skepticism, it is now. Everyday we are invited to engage in cognitive shortcuts to reinforce bias and pump up fear. As law professors, we have a choice: we are either complicit in ensuring that our students are good soldiers for the status quo or we develop teaching strategies to ensure that the future lawyers we are training have an appreciation of their roles in the preservation of justice. As teachers we can work to inspire students to use their legal skills to bring about a more just society.

It is very tempting for us, as law professors, to resist taking responsibility for what our students take from our classes and do with their lives. Do teachers have any obligation to teach students to do good? I think we are obliged to take responsibility for what we produce. Too often the products of our classrooms do little to improve the world. If our teaching methods merely reproduce the status quo, we cannot sit back in our ivory towers and bemoan the state of the world. As educators we can make a significant difference in the ways in which our students engage in the critical value decisions that confront them as actors in the community.


Clinical legal education, Access to justice



Jane Harris Aiken (Washington University School of Law)



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