Guidelines for Journals
Journals are designed to assist students to reflect upon their clinical experience; broad topics are identified below.
1. Attorney-Client Interactions
Consider whether you fostered an effective attorney-client relationship with your clients; whether you instilled confidence in your clients; whether you kept your clients abreast of significant dates and developments; whether you assisted your clients in making all significant decisions in their cases by providing relevant information and structuring the decision-making process; and whether you educated your clients so that they might be better able to protect their own interests in the future.
2. Case Development
Consider how creative you were in developing theories of the case to accomplish your client’s goals; whether you conducted sufficient legal research to identify all possible theories; whether your legal research was comprehensive and reliable; whether you utilized the full range of legal authorities available; whether you developed sufficient facts to identify all appropriate theories; whether you acquired sufficient substantive knowledge to develop all appropriate legal theories; whether you developed sufficient legal precedents to establish legally persuasive theories; whether you effectively implemented the theories of the case; whether you anticipated legal and factual arguments from adversaries and others; whether you identified all applicable rules of procedure; and whether you were able to use procedural and evidentiary rules to your clients’ advantage.
3. Oral and Written Advocacy
Consider whether you expressed your thoughts with precision, clarity and economy; whether you presented your thoughts in an organized and intelligible manner; whether you expressed your thoughts in a format targeted to your intended audience; whether you identified and used appropriate non-verbal aspects of oral communication; whether you identified and responded to verbal and non-verbal cues from others; whether your oral advocacy advanced your clients’ immediate and long-term objectives; whether you used proper grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation; whether you articulated and enunciated clearly; whether you identified and used appropriate non-verbal aspects of written communication; whether you responded effectively to positions expressed by others; whether your written advocacy advanced your clients’ immediate and long-term objectives; and whether you used proper grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure.
4. Practice Management
Consider whether you coordinated your efforts with others; whether you consistently followed office procedures; whether you properly maintained case files and documented case activities; whether you committed the time required to effectively manage your caseload; whether you maintained an acceptable level of productivity; whether you met all deadlines; whether you attended to casework in a timely manner or waited until the last minute; and whether you allocated all of the time, effort and other resources necessary to meet your obligations to your clients.
5. Professional Relationships
Consider whether you interacted effectively with adversaries, court personnel, and witnesses; whether you responded courteously and with due consideration; whether you responded from positions of strength rather than from positions of weakness; whether you interacted in a considerate and respectful manner with office staff; and whether you interacted effectively with co-counsel (i.e., did you simply divide all tasks or did real collaboration take place).
6. Professional Responsibility
Consider whether you identified and addressed all possible conflicts, including ethical, ideological, or personal conflicts that might have had a bearing on your cases or the attorney-client relationship; whether you consulted with your clinical supervisor appropriately; whether you advised your clinical supervisor of all sensitive and significant matters; and whether you advised your clinical supervisor of all delays and schedule changes.
7. Reflective Skills Development
Consider whether you are able to effectively criticize your own performance; whether you are able to identify your strengths and weaknesses in the various areas of your legal work; whether you gained insights about your future role as an attorney; whether you identified the aspects of lawyering that are important to you and the aspects of lawyering that you find distasteful; whether you learned about the kinds of legal work that you would like to do; whether you learned about the ways in which the legal system enforces norms; whether you learned about the value and limitations of lawyers in our legal system; whether you learned about the political and social contexts in which effective individual case analysis must take place; and whether you gained any insights about your future identity as an attorney.
8. Class Participation
Consider whether you regularly attended class; whether you regularly read class assignments; whether you analyzed the issues raised in the readings prior to class; whether you participated regularly in class discussions; and whether you were prepared to discuss developments in your cases in an effective manner during case conferences.
9. Personal Development
Consider whether you grew as an advocate during the course of the semester; whether you learned as much as you could have about yourself as an attorney; and whether you did all you could have done to maximize the benefits you obtained from your clinical experience.
10. Special Recognition
Consider whether there are any aspects of your work in the clinic that are not otherwise described above that deserve special recognition.