Goals and Pedagogy
SPECIAL NOTE: The Clinical Education Program will be on hiatus for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. For more information contact the Dean's Office at 701-777-2104.
In the University of North Dakota School of Law Clinical Legal Education Program, students study law and lawyering in the context of real litigation, gaining critical skills in communication, problem-solving, strategy, and persuasion that prepare them to address the multidimensional needs of clients. Important values informing these skills are fostered through an ongoing dialogue about lawyers' ethical and professional responsibilities and a continuous critique of the justice system.
In addition, the Clinic focuses on enabling students to achieve the following goals:
Establish and maintain an effective attorney-client relationship with each client assigned to the student;
Recognize situational conflicts with other ethical, ideological, or personal considerations potentially affecting a case or an attorney-client relationship;
Internalize the values of providing competent representation; working toward justice, fairness, and morality; striving to improve the profession; and continuous professional self-development;
Initiate a lifelong process of critical self-reflection and assessment; and
Demonstrate basic competence in representing clients in a litigation context.
The methods used by the UND Law Clinic to achieve these goals include case supervision sessions, classroom seminars, reading assignments, writing assignments, oral presentations, simulations, self-evaluation exercises, and regular feedback. These methods encourage Clinic students to learn lawyering skills at both practical and theoretical levels. Clinic students are expected to learn from experience, from synthesis, from critique, and from responsibility.
Clinic faculty meet frequently with students to discuss the issues arising in each case and to assist each student in discovering through his or her own efforts what needs to be done. Clinic students are therefore expected to grapple with each lawyering skill and value that they must develop and to struggle, often very inefficiently, with issues ranging from lawyering identity to effective performance.