The Catholic University of America



Good Clinical Teaching Bridges Language and Culture


Catholic University’s nationally-ranked legal clinic played host to a Russian counterpart on Nov. 12, as eight legal clinicians from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University spent a day at the Columbus School of Law with their American colleagues learning about the structure, mission, and operating procedures of a U.S.-based approach to clinical legal education.
The seven CUA Law professors who teach in Columbus Community Legal Services led their guests through many aspects of establishing and running a teaching legal clinic for students.  They were joined in their discourse by Professor Richard Roe of Georgetown University Law Center, who directs its Streetlaw Clinic.
The group covered such subjects as live-client clinics, externships, and simulation courses, as well as the roles of both students and faculty members. The collegial discussion broadened into other areas, such as making clinics part of the university culture.
Clinical education in Russian law schools tends to be more centralized, with a single legal clinic handling many different kinds of cases. Generally, the Russian model does not rely as heavily on the use of sub-clinics to cover disparate areas of the law.
Despite the differing approaches, the professors from both countries shared many common professional interests, exploring teaching methods, fundraising, and the relationship of clinical work to the rest of the law school’s curriculum.
Later in the day, the Russian legal educators toured the Columbus School of Law and its legal clinic, and capped their visit with a trip to The Supreme Court Historical Society, where they took in a lecture, "The History of Native American Lands and the Supreme Court," delivered by Professor Angela Riley of the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. A reception in the great hall followed the lecture. In this photograph at left, the visitors are gathered around the statute of Justice John Marshall. It is said that touching the toe of his shoe will bring luck.