Law school clinics sound great in concept, but they are only as good as the professors and students who comprise them.
They also require funding and active support from the school administration, as well as a meaningful mission.
I have to assume the kids at the University of Maryland are doing something right:
I suppose big corporate and institutional interests would prefer the toddling lawyers-in-training handle small individual cases one by one, and forget systemic attacks on unlawful business practices that affect large numbers of people and/or impact a big donor or trustee's bottom line.
On Friday, lawmakers here debated a measure to cut money for the University of Maryland’s law clinic if it does not provide details to the legislature about its clients, finances and cases.
The measure, which is likely to be sent to the governor this week, comes in response to a suit filed in March by students accusing one of the state’s largest employers, Perdue, of environmental violations — the first effort in the state to hold a poultry company accountable for the environmental impact of its chicken suppliers.
Law clinics at other universities — from New Jersey to Michigan to Louisiana — are facing similar challenges. And legal experts say the attacks jeopardize the work of the clinics, which not only train students with hands-on courtroom experience at more than 200 law schools but also have taken on more cases against companies and government agencies in recent years.
“We’re seeing a very strong pushback from deep-pocket interests, and that pushback is creating a chilling effect on many clinics,” said Robert R. Kuehn, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, citing a recent survey he conducted that found that more than a third of faculty members at legal clinics expressed fears about university or state reaction to their casework and that a sixth said they had turned down unpopular clients because of these concerns.
"In Mr. Melon's defense, it was a really big check."
Welcome to the real world, kids!