Writing on a Blank Slate: Drafting a Blueprint for Experiential Learning at the University of California, Irvine School of Law
Fulfilling the UC Irvine mission to prepare students for the practice of law at the highest levels requires providing every UCI Law student opportunities to learn, as part of their formal legal training, what it means to be a lawyer by actually practicing law. The most important of these opportunities is a student's participation in a substantial clinical course, in which the student, under the close supervision of a member of the UCI Law faculty and, as appropriate, another supervising attorney, represents real clients, addressing their legal problems in an environment that includes continual feedback, skills practice, and time for learning and reflection. This essay describes the UCI Law School blueprint for the development of a well-coordinated experiential learning program that begins in the first year and continues through all three years of the Law School's curriculum. The essay describes how experiential learning is a central goal of the UCI Law School mission and explains how it is implemented through real-world, live client work in each of the three years of law school.