Iss. 2 (2017)
The Untold Story of the Justice Gap: Integrating Poverty Law into the Law School Curriculum
Vanita S. Snow, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
In light of the American Bar Association’s MacCrate Report, Clinical Legal Education Association’s Best Practices for Legal Education, the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law, and Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World law schools are increasingly reassessing not only students’ pro bono commitment, but other competency based measures to determine whether the curriculum prepares students for practice. Another impetus for curriculum reform includes the American Bar Association (ABA) Standard 303, which mandates that schools offer students experiential course(s) and pro bono opportunities. Likewise, the ABA Standard 302 requires that schools establish learning outcomes that include not only substantive legal knowledge, but also professional skills. Shifts in the legal environment continue to pressure law schools to produce “practice-ready” graduates. This combination of circumstances has roused law schools to examine their curricula.
Various articles, symposiums, and conferences have appropriately addressed the need for law school curriculum reform. Scholars have also addressed the role and development of poverty law in eradicating inequality in the judicial system, with some of the literature emphasizing the importance of poverty law courses. However, the linkages between poverty law, curriculum reform, professional values, and cognitive skills has not been fully explored. This Article seeks to fill that gap.
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