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Best Practices in Supervising Law Students in Field Placements. Albany Law School September 17, 2010 Prof. Nancy Maurer. What’s New in Legal Education. Carnegie Foundation Report on Educating Lawyers Best Practices for Legal Education ABA standards - Outcomes Albany Law School Mission

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best practices in supervising law students in field placements

Best Practices in Supervising Law Students in Field Placements

Albany Law School

September 17, 2010

Prof. Nancy Maurer

what s new in legal education
What’s New in Legal Education
  • Carnegie Foundation Report on Educating Lawyers
  • Best Practices for Legal Education
  • ABA standards - Outcomes
  • Albany Law School Mission
  • Role of Field Placements
  • Bar Exam
  • NYSBA Task Force
cle objectives
CLE Objectives
  • Understand Field Placement program
    • How FP fits into the academic mission of educating excellent and ethical lawyers
    • Law student responsibilities
    • Your role in assisting student learning
  • Share information to assist you as supervisor
    • Assignments
    • Feedback
goals of field placements
Goals of Field Placements
  • Skills Development
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Substantive Law
  • Self-Evaluation
  • Institutional Evaluation
    • develop professional identity
    • learn how to learn from experience
resources
Resources
  • Field Placement Handbook
  • Law Clinic & Justice Center
    • Faculty
    • Staff
  • Legal Community
students
Students
  • Generation X,Y, millennials?
  • Technology
  • Multi-tasking
  • Social Networking
  • Diversity
    • Age
    • Experience
    • Background
    • Attitude
law student responsibility
Law Student Responsibility
  • Orientation
  • Ethics & Professionalism
  • Responsibility for

learning

fp course requirements
FP Course Requirements

1. The West Educational Network (TWEN) – electronic classroom

2. Mandatory Field Placement Orientation

3. Certification Designating Compliance with Professional Ethics and Responsibilities

4. Educational Planning Form – review with supervising attorney.

5. Weekly time records. (approx 12 hrs/wk, minimum of168 hours for semester)

6. Mid-Semester Report

7. Mid-Semester Meeting with Prof. Maurer

8. End of Semester Evaluation of Placement and Program

9. End-of-Semester Reflective Paper

10. Supervising Attorney to complete a Placement Evaluation of Student

11. Attend weekly (or bi-weekly) field placement classes and complete all class assignments.

12. Review Field Placement Handbook and review and sign acknowledgement of course requirements.

tips from supervisors preparing students for placements
Tips From Supervisors:Preparing Students for Placements
  • Technology and communication etiquette
  • Appropriate use of email and computer
  • Writing – do not submit rough drafts
  • Importance of reputation
  • Other……
supervising attorney responsibilities
Supervising Attorney Responsibilities
  • Field Placement is an Academic Experience
  • Student Educational Goal Planning and Review
  • Assignments
  • Feedback
  • Model Good Lawyering
  • Encourage Reflection
  • Reports
    • Interim progress report at mid-semester
    • End of semester report
  • Contact Clinic & Justice Center with concerns
slide11

ALBANY LAW CLINIC & JUSTICE CENTERFIELD PLACEMENT CLINICSTUDENT EDUCATIONAL PLANNING FORM[To be signed by Student and Supervising Attorney ]

Student Name: ________________________________________________________________________________

Placement / Semester: __________________________________________________________________________

1. Please state your primary goals to be derived from this clinic placement.

Goal 1.

Goal 2.

Goal 3.

2. Possible mechanisms to achieve each of these goals.

Goal 1.

Goal 2.

Goal 3.

3. Please state your present areas of strength (e.g., research skills, writing, issue identification, reasoning, oral advocacy, interpersonal skills, etc.) 

  • Please indicate your areas of weakness.

Supervising Attorney Signature: ___________________________________________________________________

Student Signature: _____________________________________________________________________________

Complete this Educational Planning Form. This is to assist you in formulating goals for the semester. Review it with your

Supervising On-Site Attorney at the outset of your placement and have the Attorney sign to acknowledge this discussion.

rules of professional conduct rule 5 3 lawyers responsibility for conduct of nonlawyers
RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCTRULE 5.3 LAWYERS RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONDUCT OF NONLAWYERS
  • A law firm shall ensure that the work of nonlawyers who work for the firm is adequately supervised, as appropriate.
  • A lawyer with direct supervisory authority over a nonlawyer shall adequately supervise the work of the nonlawyer, as appropriate…
rule 5 3 cont
RULE 5.3 (cont.)
  • the degree of supervision required is that which is reasonable under the circumstances, taking into account factors such as the experience of the person whose work is being supervised….
rule 5 1 responsibilities of law firms partners managers and supervisory lawyer s
RULE 5.1 RESPONSIBILITIES OF LAW FIRMS, PARTNERS, MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORY LAWYERS
  • ensure that all lawyers in the firm conform to these Rules…
  • the degree of supervision required is that which is reasonable under the circumstances, taking into account factors such as the experience of the person whose work is being supervised….
rule 5 5 unauthorized practice of law
RULE 5.5 UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW
  • A lawyer shall not aid a non-lawyer in the unauthorized practice of law.
  • Student Practice Authorization
case of interest
Case of Interest

In re Jaffe, No. 06-9009 (2d Cir. 2009)

The US Court of Appeals disbarred an attorney for, among other things, aiding the unauthorized practice of law, and improperly ratifying and filing briefs drafted by unsupervised law students.

case of interest17
Case of interest

Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Kimmel, 405 Md 647, 955 A2d 269 (Md. 2008)

Partners of law firm suspended from practice for failing to provide adequate supervision over new associate.

rules of professional conduct
Rules of Professional Conduct

RULE 5.2: RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SUBORDINATE LAWYER

(a) A lawyer is bound by these Rules notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person.

(b) A subordinate lawyer does not violate these Rules if that lawyer acts in accordance with a supervisory lawyer’s reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty

case of interest20
Case of Interest
  • Beverly Hills Concepts v. Schatz, 246 Conn. 48, 717 A.2d 724 (1998) trial court “reasonably could have found that [associate] engaged in legal malpractice because, in her position as a junior associate, she failed to seek appropriate supervision.”
setting the stage for a successful field placement experience
Setting the stage for a successful field placement experience
  • Initial meeting
  • Goal setting – expectations
  • Plan for communication
  • Background information about office
  • Logistics
  • Office policies- especially confidentiality
  • Work schedule
  • Set process for meeting with student and assessing progress
  • First assignment
assignments
Assignments
  • Almost anything you do as attorney may be appropriate as an assignment
  • Include observation and discussion
  • Long and short term projects
  • Assignments from more than one attorney
  • Process for giving assignments
assignment clarification
Assignment Clarification

Supervising Attorney: I need some research on whether public sidewalks are “facilities” under under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Student: uhhh, sure, interesting question….

What the student is thinking……

slide25

What???!!!

I don’t know where to start!

What is the ADA?

What is this for?

HELP!!

student suggestions questions to ask supervising attorney
Student Suggestions: Questions to ask Supervising Attorney:
  • 1. Is there a deadline for this assignment?
  • 2. Do you have suggestions for starting point?
  • 3. Is there a format you would like?
  • 4. Do you have any examples I may review?
  • 5. What is the scope of the project?
  • 6. Is there an existing file?
  • 7. What is this assignment to be used for?
slide28

8. How much time should I spend on this?

  • 9. What jurisdictions should I cover?
  • 10. Is there information that has already been covered?
  • 11. Are other attorneys in the office familiar with this project?
  • 12. Would you like to see an outline or rough draft? When?
  • 13. Is there another time we can meet to discuss this assignment?
  • 14. When can we meet for feedback?
other student strategies
Other Student Strategies
  • Take notes when receiving assignments
  • Repeat back to your supervisor your understanding of what the assignment is in order to clarify.
  • E-mail your understanding of the assignment so that it is clarified in writing.
supervising attorney assignment checklist
Supervising AttorneyAssignment Checklist
  • Discuss objectives and expectations
  • Context
  • Deadlines
  • Time
  • Format
  • Examples 
  • Guidance on starting points
  • Opportunity to ask questions? 
  • Follow up
slide32
Fear….
  • Student: I’m not sure what to do, but if I ask too many questions, my Supervising Attorney will think I’m stupid.
  • Student: My supervisor is so busy… how can I interrupt?

How can you help

student overcome

this fear?

i don t have enough to do
I don’t have enough to do

My Supervisor was out sick (at court, at a meeting, out of town….) so I just sat around and did my homework.

i have too much to do
I have too much to do
  • I am already working on two projects for my supervising attorney and another attorney gave me a big project to do immediately. I couldn’t say no.
  • I don’t know what to do first. I am overwhelmed.
limited practice experience what do lawyers do
Limited Practice Experience…what do lawyers do?

A student at a public interest placement is assigned to work with attorney on a SSI case. Student is asked to contact medical providers to obtain and review records. Student is upset. “This is not legal work!”

How does supervisor

avoid this situation?

feedback
Feedback?
  • Most student complaints are about feedback
  • What is “good” or meaningful feedback?
  • Best Practices for giving feedback
slide37

Feedback is critical information, based on performance, that motivates action or change to improve performance.

  • Feedback should be specific
good or bad v effective feedback
“Good” (or bad) v. Effective Feedback
  • Praise
    • Great job.
    • Great job on the memo. I hardly made any changes in your writing.” (students’ favorite)
  • Effective Feedback
    • Your research on the memo was thorough because….
    • You succinctly identified the standard in the second paragraph by….
slide39

Criticism

    • That memo was a mess. I’ll have to redo it myself.
  • Constructive Criticism
    • The memo contained much useful information, but it could have been better organized. It would help if you succinctly identify the issue in the first paragraph. It helps me to do an outline before I start to write. Why don’t you try that. We can review your outline tomorrow before you redraft.
feedback checklist
Feedback Checklist
  • Be prepared to critique.
  • Be selective.
  • Start with a positive comment.
  • Be specific.
  • Be constructive -- suggest alternatives
  • Be succinct
  • Be honest.
  • Take responsibility for your critique. “I think…”
  • Critique the performance, not the person.
  • Make the student a partner in the critique. Ask questions.
  • Teach by example.
feedback41
Feedback
  • Encourage student self reflection
  • Communicate high expectations… and that student can do it.
  • Provide feedback on both oral and written work
  • Ask student for his/her feedback on assignment
    • What did you think of the project?
    • What did you learn?
absentee student
Absentee Student
  • Supervisor: I haven’t seen my intern all week. I hear he has job interviews.
appropriate dress
Appropriate Dress
  • Supervisor: I can’t take my intern anywhere…
    • She showed up for court in mini skirt and low cut top. I think the Judge was offended.
    • It’s causal Friday, but he came to the office in cut-offs and baseball cap.
attachment to technology
Attachment to technology
  • Supervisor – my intern does not seem “engaged” with the work of the office…
successes
Successes
  • Best experiences working with students
don t forget
Don’t Forget
  • CLE Forms
  • Evaluations
  • Future Training – Ethical Issues in Supervising Law Students – March 4th
  • Field Placement Information Fair – March 9, 12-1, law school gym