Wisconsin Law Review, University of Wisconsin
May 24, 2013
More research on the delivery of legal services to low-income individuals should be done by reestablishing the connection between law school clinics and legal services that existed in the early development of the modern law school clinic. Law school clinics can conduct empirical research on legal aid delivery.
Wisconsin Law Review, Volume 2013, No. 1
Charn and Selbin advocate for more research on the delivery of legal services to low-income individuals by reestablishing the connection between law school clinics and legal services that existed in the early development of the modern law school clinic. This report shows how law school clinics are capable of conducting empirical research on legal aid delivery that will help to improve the aid provided and also encourage a deeper understanding of legal aid for the students involved in the clinics.
This article discusses the rise of the modern law school clinic in the 1960’s during President Johnson’s war on poverty, when hundreds of new lawyers were committing to providing legal aid to the needy and law students wanted a more in depth education that included hands on legal work.
However, since that time, clinics have shifted to other career interests and the connection to legal aid has diminished significantly. Since its peak in the early 1980s, the empirical research on legal aid delivery has declined sharply. There is currently a lack of research on the effectiveness of legal aid delivery, and the authors of this article call for a renewed effort to research the effectiveness of legal aid practices. This article discusses various smaller studies that have compared the relative effectiveness of legal aid in varying situations, such as foreclosures and criminal record remedies.
Currently, most clinics have two main focuses: legal services and education. The authors recommend committing to adding research to clinics. Clinics are in a unique position to be successful in research because of their expert educator, access to data and institutional independence. The benefits of such research would not be limited to contributing to scholarship but also to improving the services provided to clients and improving the quality of education offered to students.
A small study conducted by the authors already shows the enhanced quality offered by law school clinics, and encourages further study of legal aid delivery. There may be some challenges to increasing the research role played by law school clinics but the clinics are in the perfect position to identify the needs of the community and conduct the research on how to improve the legal aid available to those who need it.
Keywords: economic benefits, Social Return on Investment (SROI)
PUBLICATION DETAILSFormat: Research
Publication Type: Journal Article
Geographic coverage, US: NATIONAL
Topics: Legal Needs | Benefits of Legal Aid: Economic & Social Return on Investment | Research Agenda
How Provided: Law School Clinics, Self-Help
Permalink URL of this page: http://legalaidresearch.org/?p=1704
LINKS TO RESOURCESThe Clinic Lab Office, PDF
Collections: Legacy (was on old site)
Site Editing Notes:
Used date from old site. NLADA may wish to verify.