Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2017

Abstract

The economic, political, and social volatility of the sixties and seventies, out of which clinical legal education was born, has certain mythical qualities for most law students, and perhaps some law professors. America still bears the scars of the economic policies of those previous eras, such as redlining, blockbusting, poverty and urban decay. While the realities of the era may seem out of reach for many of our students, those policies arising out of that era have contributed to the wealth gap in this country, which has worsened over the last twenty years. Now more than ever, society needs social justice lawyers, not just practice-ready lawyers, and, in particular, not just litigators. Despite this need, transactional clinical pedagogy prioritizes the practice-readiness of students. While an important concern, prioritizing student practice-readiness seems misguided at best and fails our students at worst.

This Article challenges the dichotomy between practice-readiness and client service in a business law clinic and expands transactional clinical pedagogy by reinforcing the public interest and social justice functions served by such clinics. Further, this Article highlights the socio-historic contexts of transactional lawyering and argues that transactional lawyering and, specifically, the uniqueness of a transactional clinic, can offer a public service model to students. The primary contribution of this Article is a perspective on transactional clinical pedagogy that is inclusive of the civil rights movement and the fight for economic rights.