Many legal problems require attorneys to navigate issues crossing between law and economics, law and psychology, or law and social work. These intersections represent classic problems presented to lawyers in their “real world” practice with multi-dimensional clients. However, in the 2008 Law School Survey of Student Engagement, 45% of the students surveyed recognized this challenge and maintained “that their legal education does not contribute substantially to their ability to apply legal writing skills in real-world situations.”[1] By including an exercise requiring students to conduct an interview with a domestic violence victim in the 1L curriculum, professors can address this pressing concern by encouraging students to navigate issues ranging from the psychological and physical needs of their client to the client’s safety and monetary concerns.

Although interviewing a witness at first glance does not seem to fit within the traditional legal research and writing pedagogy, the open memorandum problem lends itself to permitting students to gather facts using “client” interviews. Additionally, by fostering the development of practical lawyering skills in addition to oral advocacy and legal research and writing, legal writing professors provide students with an essential tool every lawyer needs to successfully represent a client[2] and assists upper level clinical professors by laying the groundwork for clinical courses.[3] Thus, incorporating the domestic violence client interview into the legal writing curriculum prepares students for real world practice and multi-faceted client problems; incorporates interdisciplinary skills into law school training; and trains students for upper level clinical work.


Law and Society | Legal Education | Legal Profession | Women

Date of this Version

August 2010