Yesterday, I attended an information session hosted by Professor Baker that introduced students to the clinical, externship, and practicum opportunities available at the Pepperdine University School of Law. The room was packed with students — mostly 1Ls, which was very encouraging — and several deans and faculty members were also in attendance to answer questions and lend support to this very important component of our program of legal education. The picture above is a parting snapshot of students visiting with administrators and faculty members after the session.
Professor Baker talks about “The Shift” when explaining the purpose and value of clinical education:
Law students spend their lives performing for their own advancement. They are working for a grade, working for a class rank, working for a job, working for resume enhancement, working for a professor’s praise and recommendation. They are self-centered, because we make them be self-centered. This is endemic to legal education. In clinics, though, they face something new. They are no longer working for themselves, but they are working for a client who is depending on them. They feel the burden of a client’s life, family, and fortunes, and they grow anxious when they realize the stakes. The Shift is that profound moment when a student feels the weight of professional obligations to a real client, and this moment imparts lessons that students cannot learn vicariously, through experiences we cannot simulate. This is the purpose and great value of clinical education. — Jeffrey, R. Baker, Going to Sea, Pepperdine Law, Fall 2013, at 18.
Assistant Dean for Student Life