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Taking Lawyering Skills Training Seriously


The lawyering skills so thoroughly explored in Gary Bellow and Bea Moulton's The Lawyering Process continue to be a major focus of clinical legal education. Distinguishing between case-centered and skill-centered clinical programs, this essay explores whether clinical courses provide a sufficient foundation for students to "transfer" the lawyering skills they are exposed to in law school to the practice of law. Drawing on the recent work of educational researchers and medical school educators, the essay identifies structural attributes that enhance the likelihood of promoting lawyering skills "transfer." The essay argues that case-centered clinical programs tend to lack these attributes and identifies possible structural changes that can increase the likelihood that students will transfer lawyering skills learning from law school to practice.

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