Learning Goals


The ten law clinics at the Washington College of Law give student attorneys the opportunity to represent real clients with real legal problems, to handle litigation from beginning to end, to carry out transactional work for client groups, to take full responsibility for clients’ cases, and to learn lawyering skills at both a practical and theoretical level. Each clinic offers student attorneys individualized instruction in the lawyering process, and helpful and constructive feedback enables them to learn and practice law by taking significant responsibility under the guidance of clinical faculty. Student attorneys begin to understand the parameters and demands of being a lawyer. They must often struggle with ethical problems presented by their cases and confront the institutional frameworks within which client problems arise. Through their own actions, they see the way law operates in society.

The learning environment is often intense because of significant demands on students' commitment, creativity, intelligence, reflectiveness, and time. Student attorneys often collaborate on cases and help each other with common problems that arise in their representation of clients. Within each clinic, student attorneys and faculty supervisors work together toward shared goals. Student attorneys encounter, together with their peers, the frustration, excitement, fear and courage that are all part of being a lawyer. The program provides a supportive yet challenging environment for evaluating these experiences. This combination of intense involvement and detached reflection helps student attorneys clarify their views of their emerging careers.

The goal of the Clinical Program is to help student attorneys develop the ability to learn from experience now and throughout their professional careers. By acquiring an understanding of the criteria by which a lawyering task can be judged and by learning the process of self-evaluation, student attorneys develop reflective habits that encourage continuous professional growth. The program aspires to introduce student attorneys to this process and guides them through it.