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Midwest Clinical Legal Education Conference

Rethinking Competency in the Practice of Law (placeholder)

November 5-7, 2021
Drake Law School

Welcome to the 2021 Midwest Conference on Clinical Legal Education. 
Describe program theme and structure - "This conference will bring together experiential educators from across the spectrum and employ different formats ..." Panels? Spotlight on Teaching sessions? etc.

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Submit a proposal here. (Link to form)


FRIDAY, November 5
Atrium, Neal and Bea Smith Law Center, unless otherwise noted.

1:00-5:00 PM

1:00-5:00 PM 
New Clinicians and Fellows Conference

1:00-2:00 PM Mini Sessions
1:00-1:30 PM What the New Clinician Needs to Know: A Tool Kit for Success
     Shanta Trivedi, Clinical Fellow, University of Baltimore School of Law

Whether you are a seasoned academic entering the clinical teaching field for the first time or a young clinician making your first foray into academia, being a “new” clinician is a challenging experience. This is true under any circumstances, but particularly so in our current climate. Trying to figure out not only how to navigate this new and scary world ourselves, but also how to train our students to do so while under our supervision–and ultimately when they are free to fly–is a constant weight on our minds and a huge responsibility.

The first part of our session will be a basic new clinician’s toolkit for both those who are completely new to teaching and those who are moving away from podium teaching and into a clinical setting for the first time. This presentation was first unveiled at the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education as a poster presentation. However, it is well suited to a concurrent session so that the participants can get into the nuts and bolts of the toolkit (pun intended), instead of a general overview. We hope to answer questions about how to structure seminars, manage your time, handle supervision challenges, how to get scholarship off the ground, and how to respond when students question your authority due to youth or a perceived lack of clinical experience (we have all been there!).

The second part of our session will focus on bridging the gap between theory and practice. Many of us were in practice not long ago and often have perspectives that differ from those of our more experienced colleagues who have been in academia for decades. This diversity of perspectives is useful to our students, but we must learn how to deploy it effectively. We will call upon the participants to identify skills that they developed in their practices as public defenders, trial attorneys, transactional lawyers, or whatever else they were doing before starting their teaching careers. Once we identify those skills, we will workshop strategies to (1) identify learning goals to help our students gain those same skills while in clinic, and (2) deploy those same skills to be better, more effective teachers. For example, we might discuss the concept of building a theory-driven trial plan, and how that same set of skills can be of use in structuring a lesson plan.

1:30-2:00 PM You’ve Got the Job. Now What? Navigating Internal Politics and Hurdles for In-House Clinicians and Externship Faculty
     Tiffany Murphy, Associate Professor of Law & Director of the Criminal Practice Clinic, University of Arkansas School of Law
     D’lorah L. Hughes, Director of Externships and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

There is a significant amount of information available to new in-house and externship clinicians on navigating the clinical job market. However, once you obtain a clinical teaching position there is significantly less guidance on navigating the sometimes-murky waters of departmental and institutional politics. The goal of this presentation is to foster discussion and provide guidance on the realities of internal faculty and administrative hurdles in law schools. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions of the panelists and audience members and to share fears about the process. We hope that the intimacy of a smaller clinical conference will allow for a frank and open conversation about issues and concerns that new clinicians may have. We endeavor that participants will take away at least one concrete strategy that they can employ upon returning to their respective institutions.

Topics may include:
• Discussing concerns and fears about internal politics across campuses;
• Using experiential learning community to advise and support you;
• Finding mentorship both internally and externally of your law school;
• Interpreting and meeting various tenure standards and annual review metrics;
• What to do when doctrinal faculty just don’t understand; and
• What do I do after receiving tenure or a long-term contract?

2:15-3:15 PM Rounds

Join us for clinical case rounds in which one person will present a specific challenge related to clinical teaching, and then all of the participants will engage in a facilitated problem-solving approach to better understand the problem and think broadly about solutions.

3:15 PM Refreshment Break

3:30-5:00 PM Mini Sessions

3:30-4:00 PM Wondering How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students? 5 Tips on Where to Start
     Michael Murphy, Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania Law School
     Paige Wilson, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Giving effective feedback is essential to helping students improve their lawyering skills, become positively self-critical, and prepare for their professional careers. Much has been written and said about the pedagogy and theory of giving feedback in a clinical setting, but the overwhelming volume of resources can make it hard for a new clinician to know where to start. This session will present “bite-sized” feedback techniques that new clinicians can implement immediately, including: (1) how to prepare students to receive positive and negative feedback, (2) how to say more by talking less and eliciting self-critiques in supervision meetings, (3) how to use “comment bubbles” in providing feedback on written work, (4) how to avoid the “feedback sandwich,” and (5) how to increase student engagement by encouraging two-way feedback. Attendees will have the opportunity to practice these techniques through interactive exercises, and of course, by providing feedback on the session itself.

4:00-4:30 PM The First and Last Days of Clinic
     Colleen Boraca, Clinical Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University College of Law
     Brad Colbert, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
     Janet Thompson Jackson, Professor of Law, Washburn University School of Law

Some of us have learned through experience that the more thoughtful and prepared we are before the clinic semester begins, the more adept we are at handling the inevitable unexpected bumps and turns. Even more, being ready for that first day enables the instructor to more fully deliver what the clinic experience is meant to be. This presentation, based on our forthcoming article, is designed to promote thoughtful discussion among new clinicians and fellows of how to approach the structure, design, and implementation of the first and last days of clinic class. Why place such a focus on just these two particular days? Because, generally speaking, the first day of clinic class (or any class) can set the tone for the entire semester, and the last day is often a wasted opportunity due to lack of planning and imagination. But, if the first and last days are planned with specific goals in mind, they become what they are intended to be – bookends that buttress and support all the days in between.

4:30-5:00 PM Habit, Story, Delight: An End-of-Term Reflection Exercise
     Sabrina Balgamwalla, Assistant Clinical Professor & Director of the Asylum & Immigration Clinic, Wayne State University Law School
     Lauren E. Bartlett, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law

This session will focus on a quick explanation and demonstration of an end-of-term reflection and debrief exercise that both presenters have used with clinic students. The exercise stems from the Jean Koh Peters article Habit, Story, Delight: Essential Tools for the Public Interest Advocate (2001), which is assigned as reading beforehand. This exercise asks students to play a game that requires them to reflect on the past semester and helps them appreciate how well they have come to know each other. Students and faculty are asked to write down a habit they have learned at clinic that they hope to carry into practice; clinic client’s story in the client’s own voice; perspective that’s changed since the start of clinic; and insight gained on how to cultivate delight and hope. The questions and responses are written on separate pieces of paper and the pieces of paper are folded up and put in a bowl. The bowl is then passed around the room and the person who gets the bowl takes out a random piece of paper and reads the question/answer out loud and everyone tries to guess who wrote the response. Everyone can guess and keep guessing until someone gets it right. Then the bowl is passed to the next person. We do this until all of the pieces of paper have been read. The presenters will share this exercise, copies of their instructions, prompts and other materials used for the exercises, as well as a few of the responses their students have given in past semesters.

6:30-7:15 PM
Pre-Dinner Reception
Michigan League Hussey Room
911 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor

7:15 PM
Michigan League Hussey Room
911 North University Avenue, Ann Arbor

McDowell Room, Jeffries Hall 1225, unless otherwise noted.

8:30-9:30 AM  Continental Breakfast

9:30-10:30 AM  Opening Plenary Session
Collaborations for Social Change
     Judy Fox, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School
     Ann Juergens, Professor of Law, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Two seasoned clinicians will lead a discussion of collaborations for change—local, statewide, regional, national, international–in clinical settings. After a brief overview of their own experiences with alliances, the discussion will turn to the benefits and costs of collaborations, and how to develop effective ones. We will include all in that discussion. In closing, we plan to brainstorm some essential elements and ideas for successful teamwork across the usual boundaries, using the example of the national affordable housing and eviction crisis.

10:45-11:45 AM  Concurrent Sessions
Collaborating for Innovation: Cooperative Approaches to Supporting the IP and Business-Law Needs of Entrepreneurs. – Jeffries Hall 1225
     Tore Gianino, Assistant Professor of Practice & Director of the Intellectual Property Clinic, Washington University School of Law
     Jonathan W. Smith, Assistant Professor of Practice & Director of the Entrepreneurship Clinic, Washington University School of Law
     Dana Thompson, Clinical Professor of Law & Director of the Entrepreneurship Clinic, University of Michigan Law School

This session will explore approaches to collaboration between intellectual property clinics and entrepreneurship clinics and how clinics representing startup ventures handle both business-law and intellectual property law matters. IP clinics and entrepreneurship clinics provide especially fertile ground for cross-disciplinary collaboration in clinical education. The legal needs of entrepreneurs and inventors are frequently symbiotic: founders need to protect the inventions, content, and branding that are their most valuable asset; and creators developing a patentable idea or copyrightable code will often benefit from entity-formation counseling and other business-law representation. Law school clinics have adopted various approaches to meeting these interrelated needs, ranging from separate IP and entrepreneurship clinics that serve separate clients to integrated clinics that offer clients a range of IP and business-law services.

Panelists for this session will discuss their experience leading a separate IP and entrepreneurship clinic and an integrated entrepreneurship and IP clinic at their respective institutions. We will discuss the pedagogical benefits and challenges associated with providing interrelated IP and business-law services in a clinical setting, and we will ask how business and IP clinicians can work more closely to increase access to justice, design better legal service products, and provide more effective representation to innovators. Mindful that universities are increasingly focused on fostering innovation, we will also explore the relationship of interrelated IP and entrepreneurship clinics to the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus.

Externships United- Introducing the Ohio Legal Externships Alliance – Jeffries Hall 1025
     Lauren E. Bartlett, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law
     Denise Platfoot Lacey, Professor of Externships, University of Dayton School of Law
     Christine H. Szydlowski, Director of Externships, University of Cincinnati College of Law

In 2019, all nine law schools in Ohio (Univ. of Akron, Capital, Case Western, Cleveland Marshall, Univ. of Cincinnati, Univ. of Dayton, Ohio Northern, Ohio State, and Univ. of Toledo), as well as the Northern Kentucky University College of Law, united to create the first Midwest externships collaborative – the Ohio Legal Externships Alliance (OLEA). The presenters, all co-founders of OLEA, will describe recent successes and lessons learned, and will seek input from the audience on future plans for OLEA.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? Collaborating with Non-Clinical Faculty (Jeffries Hall room 1020)
     Allison K. Bethel, Clinical Professor of Law, UIC John Marshall Law School
     Colleen Boraca, Clinical Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University College of Law
     L. Kate Mitchell, Clinical Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
     Wendy Vaughn, Clinical Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University College of Law


[List presenters and link to their univeristy website profile.]


Getting to Des Moines
The Des Moines International Airport (DSM) is only a 20-minute drive from campus.

Get more information about attractions and events in Des Moines here. 

Hotel Accommodations
A block of rooms has been reserved for conference attendees at the XXXXX. To make a reservation, XXXXX, and mention the Midwest Clinic Conference.

Other nearby hotels include the following (though these require a quick bus or RideShare to get to the Law School):

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