Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: Using Clinic To Inform Curriculum Design: What Can Real Life Client Problems Teach Us About Designing Problems For Use In The Non Clinical Curriculum

Lead Presenter: Cath Sylvester


  1. Jonny Hall

Session Abstract: The clinical experience is frequently presented as a capstone experience in the law curriculum, drawing together a range of legal knowledge, legal skills and thinking skills in the unstructured and often unpredictable context of the real client case. Nevertheless the distinctive nature of Clinic often ensures that it is taught in isolation from the wider curriculum with a compartmentalised approach to pedagogy. All law students will be familiar with the use of the hypothetical ‘problem question’ to deliver legal knowledge and critical thinking skills and much has been said about the limitations of the device in terms of its authenticity and complexity. Millemann and Schwin refer to these ‘canned’ problems as ‘a product of a kind of reverse engineering’ which ‘encourages students to find rather than construct knowledge’. At the other end of the spectrum the real life clinic client problem, with its unpredictability, may present difficulties in the incremental development of knowledge and skills at the lower and transitional levels of legal education. This workshop will explore the strengths and limitations of the use of the real client problem for learning and identify a range of options for content and delivery to maximise the impact of the problems in the wider law curriculum. It will consider what makes the clinical problem an effective learning tool and whether these techniques can be harnessed effectively in the absence of the real client without resulting in what Milleman and Schwin refer to as a ‘pedagogical version of ‘chaos’ theory’ .

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See full list of abstracts here.