Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Even though the Code of Professional Responsibility sets only general standards for competency, the competence of individual lawyers is now an area of active inquiry by the courts. Likewise, Legal Services are subject to regular evaluations. While these evaluations have had poor track records, the fault lies with their administration rather than their concept. If the practice of law is subject to scrutiny, it follows that schools for training the lawyers, and certainly parts of their curricula, such as clinical programs, can be evaluated." Legal education on its most basic level is preparation for a profession, the 'public profession of law."' There is probably no description of the legal profession that is acceptable to everyone, but as Professors Packer and Ehrlich suggest, "a listing of characteristics that legal education seeks to imprint on its students will give us a more concrete framework from which to begin ... A list of these attributes was suggested by Dean Bayless Manning: analytic skills, substantial legal knowledge, basic working skills, good judgment, and an awareness of the total non-legal environment. It seems obvious that by its nature the clinical method is a uniquely suitable way to provide this legal education. The implementation of a reliable technique for evaluating clinical programs will add a measure of objectivity to the traditional subjective appraisal made in a conference room, and we will be in a better position to at least approach the educational goal of producing law graduates with these attributes.