Getting the fish to see the water: an investigation into students’ perceptions of learning writing skills in academic modules and in a final year real client legal clinic module

Carol Boothby, Cath Sylvester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In 2010 Tonya Kowalski described the problems faced by students entering clinic for the first time as a one step backward, two step forward phenomenon. Students appeared initially unable to transfer skills and knowledge learned in earlier academic and other settings to clinic but once they were immersed in clinic their skills development improved rapidly. Clinic is often presented as a “bridge to practice” and delivered as the capstone to more traditional elements of an undergraduate degree. However, even with an integrated approach like that at Northumbria Law School, a seamless transition to the skills required for clinic is challenging and gives rise to a constant review of how best to prepare students. Our research focused on legal writing and used focus groups to find out how students participating in the year four clinic at Northumbria University perceived and adapted their previous experiences of writing for use in the clinical context. It identifies strategies which should be considered for integration into nonclinical modules and in the clinical module itself to facilitate this transition from academic orientated writing to practice orientated writing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalThe Law Teacher
Early online date6 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sep 2015

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