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'Education, Education, Education': Legal, Moral and Clinical

Submitted by Nigel Duncan on Wed, 09-05-2012
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'Education, Education, Education': Legal, Moral and Clinical
Nicolson, Donald
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The Law Teacher
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United Kingdom
DONALD NICOLSON introduces a challenge to most law schools in respect of two related issues. One is the extent to which lawyers' ethics are addressed in undergraduate law degrees. The other is the way in which clinical approaches may be most effectively used to address lawyers' ethics. His first challenge is in line with much of the recent writing in this field, but adds to that literature through a deep analysis of competing theories of moral development used to inform a set of proposals as to the most effective proposals for promoting moral development. His second challenge cuts against much of the recent development in clinical legal education to bring clinical work into the curriculum from its voluntary extra-curricular base. He proposes, controversially, that this might best be done through extracurricular clinics, and uses the example of the Strathclyde Law Clinic to support his arguments and to demonstrate how this can avoid some of the cost problems of curricular clinics. Particularly striking is his observation that in clinics designed as part of a degree programme, where cases are only taken on if they provide educational value, students are immediately being given the unspoken message that their interests are more important than the client's. This is an issue that all clinicians need to consider and address.
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