Translating the Values of Clinical Pedagogy Across Generations

34 Pages Posted: 18 May 2014 Last revised: 19 Jun 2014

See all articles by Alistair E Newbern

Alistair E Newbern

Vanderbilt University Law School

Emily Suski

University of South Carolina School of Law

Date Written: 2013


Clinical teaching is a Baby Boomer. After an extended infancy, it came of age in the 1960s. It challenged the entrenched isolation and aloofness of law school by questioning the very methods by which law is taught. Channeling the Boomers' cultural tenets of dismantling hierarchy, fostering collaboration, and advocating for social change, it shook off legal academia's suit and tie and rolled up its sleeves, bringing the community into the classroom and putting the university to work. These Boomer-era values are reflected in clinical teaching's enduring core principles of non-directive teaching, reflective practice, close and immediate supervision, learning from experience, and a commitment to social justice.

In clinical education's formative years, teachers, students, and pedagogy were sympathetically aligned. All came from the same generational neighborhood and brought similar perspectives on the purposes of education, work, and advocacy to the clinic. Today, generational diversity is the norm. Baby Boomers mentor Generation X colleagues in the teaching of Millennial students. Generational variety brings a multitude of different approaches to clinical pedagogy. There is no longer a presumptive unity between social and pedagogical perspectives. Clinical teachers and students must now mind the generational gap.

Keywords: clinical education, clinical legal education, law teaching, legal education, generational differences, legal pedagogy, clinical pedagogy, law teachers, law professors, law students

JEL Classification: K00, Z00

Suggested Citation

Newbern, Alistair E and Suski, Emily, Translating the Values of Clinical Pedagogy Across Generations (2013). Clinical Law Review, Vol. 20, Fall 2013, Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-21, Available at SSRN:

Alistair E Newbern

Vanderbilt University Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Emily Suski (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina School of Law ( email )

1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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