To many people, the relationship between clinical programs and the justice mission of American law schools is so clear as to be self-evident. These programs may pursue justice on behalf of individual clients or for groups of clients through class-action or other impact litigation. Moreover, clinical teachers frequently discuss with their students the need for the latter to serve justice in their legal careers, whether as the principal focus of their legal work or through pro bono publico activities. Indeed, for many law students, the law clinic may be the only place in which concerns about justice are discussed and, at least sometimes, acted upon. In this brief essay, I want to suggest that clinical scholarship is not an oxymoron. Such scholarship already has contributed to nascent understandings of the different meanings of justice within the academy. If it develops to its full potential, it can broaden still further our understanding of the various visions of justice that exist within both the academy and society at large.


The Justice Mission of American Law Schools