Document Type

Symposium Article

First Page



Social justice remains relevant in teaching clinical legal education. The clinical legal education model teaches the basics of lawyering not otherwise taught in law school: a practical understanding of the practice of law, how to deal with difficult legal ethics issues, professional skills, and the doctrines that matter. Clinical education also teaches a more personal lesson; it instructs law students to question the machinery of society, instills socially responsible values, and teaches students to address social inequities. These latter lessons all stem from the social justice mission of clinical legal education. While times may have changed since the movement’s beginnings in the 1960s and ’70s, and clinical professors have become further entrenched in academia, the social justice mission continues to drive student learning and instill values not otherwise taught in law schools. As clinics evolve to meet the future demands of law schools and students, they should not eschew their social justice roots, but rather expand the range of educational experiences while continuing to serve under-privileged clients through new and innovative clinics.