Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Legal Education (forthcoming 2023)


This article provides the first comprehensive empirical analysis of clinical legal education’s development and growth over the past fifty years. By analyzing dozens of surveys and reports on aspects of clinical legal education, including unique data developed by the authors, and comparing the results over time, this article presents a factual picture of clinical legal education’s progression from early adulthood to today’s middle age.

This article seeks to inform the present and help legal educators shape the future role of law clinic and field placement courses in the preparation of law students for the practice of law. It provides an empirical history of clinical programs from the early 1970s to today and examines in detail those teaching law clinic and field placement courses, providing data on the nature of their jobs, demographics, and differences from others in the legal academy. The article then takes a close empirical look at clinic and field placement courses, their growth, size, structure, and content.

This comprehensive, longitudinal empirical study will help legal educators make more informed choices about the role of law clinic and field placement courses within their own institutions and, more broadly, about the role of clinical courses in educating tomorrow’s lawyers and aiding underserved clients.


Legal Education, Law School, Law Clinic, Field Placement, Clinical Legal Education

Publication Citation

70 J. Legal Educ. _ (forthcoming 2023)