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Robert Greenwald, The Role of Community-Based Clinical Legal Education in Supporting Public Interest Lawyering, 42 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev.569 (2007).

Abstract: At a time when law schools increasingly promote high-profile, "cutting edge" clinical programs to attract potential law students, it may seem odd to celebrate the place of community-based legal service programs in clinical legal education. However, it is my belief that such programs serve an important role in legal education and support ongoing participation in public interest-oriented legal service. Community-based clinical programs provide law students with an opportunity to build practical lawyering skills while exposing students to the significant opportunities that exist to use their newly acquired legal skills to promote social justice. In addition to imparting experiential learning through working with clients, law clinics anchored around community-based legal services provide the next generation of attorneys with the opportunity to better understand and help bridge the access-to-justice gap of poor and low-income clients in their own communities. They offer law students firsthand exposure to the dramatic consequences of increasingly insufficient funding of traditional legal service programs and demonstrate that public interest lawyering plays a significant role in advancing social justice by addressing the day-to-day legal service needs of individuals who otherwise would largely go unrepresented. The sponsorship and endorsement of community-oriented legal services by law schools helps to seed in law students a professional commitment to public service. It is this commitment, which I have seen nurtured in law students and fully realized in law school graduates, that leads me to conclude confidently that with the ongoing support of community-based clinical programs, the next generation will continue the tradition of lawyers serving at the forefront of the social justice movement.