Finding Your Mission in this Work

Monday, May 9

The AALS Workshop for New Law School Clinical Teachers welcomes new colleagues into our community. We aim to surface the core values of public interest ​and ethical lawyering that animate our work and provide the backbone for teaching our students the skills and doctrine central to lawyering. The workshop will help you grow your talents and build upon your existing successes — we hope to show you some of the tricks of the trade, help with problem-solving, and commiserate about forces that we face in common. We’ve structured this year’s workshop to give practical insight into experiential teaching, and to set you up for success in this early stage of your teaching career. Come find new colleagues and kindred spirits as we work together to build a better world for our clients, our students, and our communities. 


11 —11:40 am | Welcome and Introduction

Gautam Hans, Vanderbilt University Law School
Margaret E. Reuter, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
Carwina Weng, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Why Do This Work? Why Did You Seek This Work?

Anahid Gharakhanian, Southwestern Law School
Llezlie L. Green, American University, Washington College of Law

Our paths to clinical teaching are as varied as our personal hopes and objectives for our work. Many come to their position with little background and training in teaching. Others have had the chance to begin the development of their skills in prior clinical teaching fellowships or teaching other courses. Some seek to inspire the next generation of justice warriors. Others focus on the developing skills, discipline, and ethical practice among our students. Our opening speakers will set the stage, tell their stories, and inspire us for the next three sessions and our work for the day.  

12 – 1:30 pm | Experiential Course Design and Structure

Danielle R. Cover, University of Wyoming College of Law
Yulanda Curtis, University of Illinois College of Law
Rachel E. Lopez, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Chris Roberts, The University of Texas School of Law

We all bring a set of circumstance to our course planning– our vision and aspirations, the assets of our school and location, and the limitations of our schools and locations. With these parameters in mind, our panel will start you on a path of backward course design. They will introduce you to the methods to design your clinic, seminar, and externship program so that your students can achieve the goals you set for your course and for their learning achievements.  

1:50 – 3:20 pm | Experiential Faculty Roles and Relations in the Institution

Anne Gordon, Duke University School of Law
Jaclyn Kelley-Widmer, Cornell Law School
Karla M. McKanders, Vanderbilt University Law School
Thiadora Pina, Santa Clara University School of Law

Schools vary widely in what status they grant experiential faculty, which affects the resources, opportunities, and limitations of each individual position. This panel will explore how experiential faculty navigate the dynamics of their institutions and legal academia more broadly. Panelists will discuss the varieties of status that experiential faculty may have; how status affects teaching, scholarship, and career goals; and how to approach professional development and growth while balancing a range of responsibilities, academic and otherwise. 

3:40 – 5:10 pm | Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Experiential Programs

Bryan L. Adamson, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Kendra Albert, Harvard Law School
Chipo Nyambuya, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Experiential programs have historically focused on promoting social justice for marginalized communities; the fraught social dynamics nationwide make that work more important than ever. Our panelists will discuss how they incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into all aspects of their experiential programs. Topics will include the nature of “professionalism” in contemporary legal practice; how to promote public interest and social justice goals; and the role of experiential education within a larger academic mission of promoting DEI values. 

5:10 – 5:30 pm | Closing Remarks