Prof. Bainbridge asks, "Does clinical legal education really have to be about left-liberal politics?" In the comments, I offered an idea (edited slightly below) for what I think would be a very useful clinic:
[H]ere's an idea for a "real world" clinic that would immensely help law students prepare for practice. Set up a clinic that assists clients in Mandatory Fee Arbitration matters.
(Lawyers [in California and some other states] are required to offer non-binding MFAA arbitrations to clients if there is a fee dispute. The large majority of the clients are unrepresented in the arbitrations and they are going toe-to-toe with their own former lawyers (who, needless to say, are typically better prepared than the clients). The MFAA matters run the gamut: family law, criminal law, trust & estates, commercial litigation, personal injury, etc. Admittedly, those cases might not be appealing to law schools and some professors because they are so mundane. But they reflect the real world of practice.)
With some help from a clinician and some law students, the clients' performance at the arbitrations could be much improved. And I guarantee that the students would learn a lot about the standard of care, the fiduciary duties lawyers owe clients, the way that lawyers should (and the way they actually do) communicate with clients, fee agreements, time sheets, billing statements, the law governing legal fees, the vagaries of litigation, etc. Students would learn about "problem clients", about "problem lawyers," and about how it sometimes happens that despite the best efforts of lawyers and clients the matter goes poorly. I've been sitting as an MFAA arbitrator for a long time and I still learn something new every time I do one.
The arbitrations are of manageable size, so that a student could prepare one each week, allowing plenty of opportunity for teaching, feedback, and improvement. And each case would be quite similar to the bar exam performance tests, because the students would need to read a fairly short file and figure out what the issues are, etc.