« what's going on (March 26, 2010) |
| Ordinary Injustice, Checklists, and the Court's Focus on Bad Lawyering »
Posted by John Steele at 11:19 AM | Permalink
The article implies that the state legislature is trying to intimidate the clinic program for doing legal work adverse to a large polluter. That of course is inappropriate, but in a larger scale, the state legislature does have some legitimate interest in knowing how state funds are being spent. It is there business - and duty - to ensure that such funds are spent in ways that best promote the public welfare.
A taxpayer-supported legal clinic has finite limits on its monetary and human resources. It cannot take on every possible client or cause that may merit legal help. It also can't represent conflicting interests. In matters involving issues of public importance, there will be many conflicting positions, even among environmentalists or industry interests.
Towards that end, the legislatures has an interest in knowing how the clinic selects clients and how they choose which side of an issue to be on. Do clinics take on issues pertaining to only certain ideological interests, or do they make an effort to be balanced? How do they decide who is underrepresented or how much representation each party is entitled to get? Would, for example, the clinic represent an unemployed factory worker who lost his job because environmental regulators shut down his employer?
Law school grad |
March 26, 2010 at 06:47 PM
Law School Grad,
I agree that the larger issue touches on at least three valid routes to critique law school clinics: (1) the "who's paying for all this?" question, (2) the "who decides what suits to bring?" question, and (3) the "is this good educational technique?" question. Clinics have pretty good answers for those and there is a whole raft of law review articles on the topic.
There is a larger issue we've touched on several times recently: the interplay of politics and client identity.
John Steele |
March 27, 2010 at 10:21 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.