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Journal of Legal Education


legal education, clinical method, professional responsibility


This article assists the process of understanding the clinical methodology by analyzing the following premises. 1. The method of instruction termed "clinical" differs from the Langdellian appellate casebook method in only one respect--the clinical method collects directly experienced legal processes involving a third party (the client) as its core of material studied by the law student while the casebook method utilizes collections of vicariously or indirectly experienced two-dimensional material as its core of learning material. 2. Issues of what specific educational goals are selected by the law teacher, and the techniques of instruction (Socratic, lecture, discussion, videotapes, etc.) are not the clinical method but are questions confronted by all teachers in determining the best way to teach from the selected materials, whether clinical or non-clinical. 3. Although the clinical method can be adapted into educational models capable of attaining any of the goals of legal education, it is uniquely suited to facilitating learning in "professional responsibility", and these results cannot be consistently achieved by other methods. 4. For the clinical method to be used effectively in teaching professional responsibility, a much greater understanding must be achieved about program design, resources, and teaching.