Clinical Legal Education: Is Taking Rites Seriously a Fantasy, Folly, or Failure?

This article assesses the primary product of law schools-the practicing lawyer-and reviews the criticisms of the adequacy of the initial training for attorneys that law schools provide. After a brief. review of goals of legal education and goals of clinical teaching methods, the article argues that properly structured clinical programs are not based on flawed premises and that the nation’s law schools, particularly the leading schools, should not abandon their clinical experiments without further efforts to help clinical legal education achieve its unfulfilled promises. The premises and assertions of this article are not new. Indeed, they are reiterations of a controversy that has been ongoing, with varying degrees of intensity, for over a half century.