News Blog

CLEA news blog: you can use your news aggregator to monitor the latest on the CLEA website.

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  • 17 Apr 2024 2:55 PM | Madalyn Wasilczuk (Administrator)

    A national survey of law schools confirms a significant shift towards allowing students to earn academic credit in paid externship positions. Most surveyed schools reported that they allow pay in at least some of their externship placements. Externship courses allow law students to gain required experiential learning through on-site legal work with a field placement supervisor coupled with an academic component taught at the law school.

    In 2016, the American Bar Association (ABA) lifted restrictions on payment of students in credit-bearing externships at accredited law schools.The decision was controversial at the time and was opposed by many legal educators, including CLEA. At that time, schools feared that pay would diminish the educational value of the placements and reduce student interest in public service placements. This survey finds that these fears have not been borne out. Schools with paid externships report positive learning outcomes and no negative impact on their public service programs.

    “Today’s law students shoulder significant financial burdens and often do not have family support to fall back on. Law schools and field placements are shifting towards pay to ensure that students who would not be able to work for free have access to these valuable learning experiences,” says Neha Lall, who serves on CLEA’s Board of Directors and co-authored the report.

    Key findings:

    • According to CLEA’s survey data, the number of schools allowing compensation has increased from 60 (in 2020) to 81 schools, representing 57% of the 143 schools who responded to the survey. Of the 62 schools that still did not permit compensation at the time of the survey, 19 schools (over 31%) reported that they are considering changing their policy on pay.

    • The disparity in pay policies between higher and lower-ranked schools (under the U.S. News & World Report scale) have narrowed and all but disappeared. Over 56% of law schools in the first, second, and third tiers allow compensation. Schools in tier four are now the least likely to allow pay, with just 52% of responding schools allowing compensation. This is a significant reversal of trends from CLEA’s 2018 survey, when 44% of tier four schools allowed compensation compared to just 13% of their tier one counterparts. 

    • Regional differences in pay policies have grown over the years. Upwards of 71% of law schools on the Pacific West and Northwest coasts allow pay, and upwards of 86% of Southwest and Upper Plains law schools permit compensation. In contrast, 40% or less of schools in the Deep South and South Central regions have adopted pay policies, reflecting little change from 2020. Though the Mid-Atlantic region had the lowest rates of paid externship programs in prior surveys, the number of programs that allow paid externship placements has more than doubled since 2020.

    • Schools are least likely to allow payment from for-profit law firms and for-profit corporations. The growth of paid private sector externships was smaller than for public sector positions. Private sector placements, however, remain the most likely to offer paid positions. Only six schools reported that more than 50% of their externs receive pay, and all of these schools allowed private sector placements. 

    About the Survey:  The CLEA Externship Committee completed two prior national surveys on paid externships in 2018 and 2020. In 2023, 143 schools responded to the survey, compared to 148 schools in 2020 and 151 schools in 2018. The 2023 survey was sent to 195 schools, representing a 73% return rate.

    The full report is available here.

  • 07 Apr 2023 8:32 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    The CLEA Awards Committee is once again soliciting nominations for its student awards.   

    Schools have two student award nomination opportunities through CLEA. First, schools have the option to decide between the CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student or Outstanding Clinic Team Award. Second, schools can honor a student with the CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award. The externship-focused award recognizes the valuable work for justice that law students do through externships and provides schools the opportunity to nominate an outstanding and self-reflective externship student for CLEA’s recognition. 

    Criteria for the CLEA Outstanding Clinical Student or Team Award (One Award Per School) and the CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award (One Award Per School):  

    For the clinic award, each school must select one student OR one team enrolled in a law school clinic course. A team may be recognized if students work together as a team, and it would be impossible or unfair to single out one team member for recognition. Schools may select one student or one team, but may not submit more than one nomination for the clinic award. For the externship award, each school may select one student enrolled in an externship course.  

    The criteria for the Clinic Student/Team and Externship Awards are: 

    1. Excellence in the field work component of the clinical/externship course determined by the quality of the student’s or team’s performance in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients or in undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects; 
    2. Excellence in the seminar component of the clinic course or externship determined by the quality of the student’s or team’s thoughtfulness and self-reflection in exploring the legal, ethical, strategic, and other pertinent issues raised in the particular clinic or externship; 
    3. For the team award, the ability of the students to engage in effective collaboration; and 
    4. The nature and extent of the student’s or team’s contribution to the clinical community at the law school, legal community, or broader community, if relevant. 

      Nomination & Selection Process:
      Each law school may nominate one clinic award recipient and one externship award recipient. The full-time clinical faculty at each law school with faculty who are members of CLEA are asked to nominate a single student or a team of students from their law school for the clinic award and a single student for the externship award. Recipient students must graduate during or after the academic year in which the award is given. Each school then submits the nominations to the CLEA Awards Committee.  

      The nomination deadline is April 28, 2023. Please send nominations to the CLEA Awards Committee via the Google form located at

      In the form, the clinical faculty of each school will be asked to:  
    • Indicate whether you are completing the form for the clinic student award or the clinic team award or for the externship student award.  
    • For the clinic student award and the externship student award, indicate the name of the student as you would like it to appear on the certificate. For the clinic team award, indicate the names of the students as you would like them to appear on the certificate (separated by commas) or indicate the name of the team as you would like it to appear on the certificate. We appreciate formatting your response to this question in a manner that can easily be copied and pasted into the certificate.  
    • Indicate the name of the law school as you would like it to appear on the certificate.    
    • Provide a brief statement (no more than 250 words) of the reasons why each student or team meets the criteria for the award.  


    The CLEA Awards Committee will issue an electronic certificate, and the clinical faculty can print and present the award at the law school’s graduation ceremony or at some other appropriate time, including remotely, as determined by the clinical faculty. Note that, even for the clinic team award, each school will receive one electronic certificate (of which multiple copies can be printed for presentation to the students). Certificates will be issued on a rolling basis (please allow up to one week to receive the electronic certificate).
    If you have photographs of the award recipients receiving the certificates, you can send pictures for posting to social media or the CLEA website to the CLEA Communications Committee at


    The CLEA Awards Committee  

  • 22 Feb 2023 4:33 PM | Mike Murphy (Administrator)

    Check out the full story on Clinical Law Prof Blog.

    The CLEA Awards Committee is once again soliciting nominations for two awards that are given annually. This year’s awards will be presented during the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education in San Francisco, and we look forward to this opportunity to recognize and celebrate our clinical community’s valuable and inspiring work. Please read this email carefully, as the CLEA Board recently adopted new criteria for the Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers.

    The awards are:

    1. Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers; and
    2. Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project.

    Nominations should be in the form of a letter of no more than three single-spaced pages. Each nomination should be endorsed by at least three individuals. At least one of those individuals must be a full-time clinical faculty member at a law school and a member of CLEA. The other two individuals need not be CLEA members, nor clinical law professors. The nominating letter should clearly indicate which of the nominators are CLEA members. Letters of support in addition to the nomination letter are also welcome, and the letters of support may come from CLEA members or non-members. The letters of support must be submitted in the same email and pdf as the nominating letter (but need not fit within the three-page limit). Please find below the criteria for each award.

    The nomination deadline for both awards is Friday, March 31. Please send nominations via email to with the subject line: CLEA Awards. All materials should be submitted as a single PDF.

  • 10 Feb 2023 10:03 AM | Nickole Miller (Administrator)

    We are thrilled to hold the CLEA New Clinicians Conference in person this year immediately preceding the AALS Clinical Conference in San Francisco, California. 

    • When: Thursday, April 27, 2023 from 8:00am - 4:30pm
    • Where: Golden Gate University School of Law, 536 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
    • How?: Click here to register
    • Cost: $75*
  • 03 Jan 2023 5:58 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    Here is the fresh CLEA Newsletter, Winter 2022-2023, with a message from new co-presidents, Lynnise Pantin and Gautam Hans; CLEA's statement on US News rankings; updates from the CLEA committees; articles on clinical legal education; notes on CLEA events; and news and celebration from clinical law profs and this community. 

    Read the newsletter here. 

  • 17 Dec 2022 5:56 PM | Mike Murphy (Administrator)

    This is the call for proposals for the ninth biennial conference on Applied Legal Storytelling. The deadline for submitting proposals is February 3, 2023.

    About the Conference 

    The Applied Legal Storytelling Conference brings together academics, judges, other law-makers, practitioners, and any other type of legal storyteller. The conference has previously convened in 2007 (London), 2009 (Portland), 2011 (Denver), 2013 (London), 2015 (Seattle), 2017 (Washington D.C.), 2019 (Boulder), and 2021 (Virtual/Mercer).

    Applied Legal Storytelling (AppLS) examines the use of stories, storytelling, or narrative elements in law practice, legal education, and the law. This definition is intentionally broad to allow people creativity in the way they think and present on the topic. Examples may include: the ways in which fiction-writing techniques or narrative theory can inform legal storytelling; stories in the law, or law as stories; legal storytelling and metaphor; client story advocacy; legal storytelling and cognitive science; and ethical considerations in legal storytelling. Undoubtedly there are many other avenues to explore.

    In an effort to continue the storytelling conversation for this ninth conference, and to welcome new attendees, we are providing resources for those interested in submitting a proposal and who wish to generate ideas or respond to others’. The first is a list of topics from past conferences . The second is a link to the second Applied Legal Storytelling bibliography, including articles that have emerged from previous storytelling conferences.Finally, there are also articles included in this Monograph double volume, dedicated to the topic (scroll down to Volumes         10 and 11). We are also happy to answer questions and offer you suggestions—if you are a newcomer and interested in becoming involved, please reach out.  

    Presentation Formats

    The conference will include 45-minute and 30-minute time slots. For the 45-minute time slots, we welcome interactive, panel or roundtable presentation proposals, as well as other format types. For the 30-minute time slots, we envision presenters adopting something like the 14 to 18-minute TED-style format of rehearsed presentations that center on one idea conveyed through narrative, with reserved time for audience questions. On the proposal form, please indicate either a preference for a particular format or your willingness that we accept your proposal in any of the formats and time constraints. 

    Submitting a Proposal/Format

    We welcome and encourage presentation proposals from faculty, lawmakers, and practitioners engaged in a variety of disciplines and from schools and organizations around the world. Complete the Proposal Form found here:  

    We ask for a short summary of fewer than 60 words for use in the conference program, as well as a narrative description of your proposal for selection purposes (500 words maximum). 

    Deadlines and Selection Process

    The Committee will consider proposals submitted by the Extended Deadline, February 3, 2023 by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, and will review these proposals by the first week of March.  

    The Program Committee will review the proposals and respond according to the submission date. Those who submitted proposals by the Priority Deadline (Dec. 2) will be notified by mid-January if their proposal has been accepted. Those who submitted their proposal by the Extended Deadline (Feb. 3), will be notified by mid-March.

    Conference Structure and Registration

    All selected presenters will be expected to present in person. Additionally, presenters will be required to pay the conference registration fee and cover their own costs for travel and accommodations. We encourage creativity in presentation formats! Like previous AppLS conferences, this conference will be collegial, inclusive, and supportive of your work. 

    Dates: The 2023 conference will begin with a reception in the late afternoon of July 26, 2023 and there may be one or two sets of presentations beforehand. The next two days, July 27–28, 2023 will be devoted to a plenary session and presentations given in concurrent sessions. 

    Hotels: The new normal of hotel reservations prevent us from reserving blocks of rooms unless we pay the entire cost of the rooms up front. We will provide a list of nearby hotels with reasonable (for London) rates.

    Registration: We will send out registration information early in 2023. We expect the conference registration fee to come in around $425 (this cost covers lunches, a dinner, and administrative costs associated with hosting a conference). Updates will appear on the conference website, here:


    If you have questions, please feel free to contact any member of the conference planning committee:

    Hosts & Sponsors

    This conference is sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and CLEA; and hosted by The City Law School, City, University of London.

  • 12 Dec 2022 1:06 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) continues to oppose the ranking system used by U.S. News and World Reports (USNWR). CLEA exists to advocate for clinical legal education as fundamental to the education of lawyers, and one of our core points of advocacy is to pursue and promote justice and diversity as core values of the legal profession. CLEA has long recognized that the USNWR ranking system is at odds with our central mission, as it rewards schools who rely on high standardized test scores in admissions decisions and punishes schools who offer public interest fellowship programs to their graduates. CLEA’s recent restatement of our opposition to the standardized testing requirement in law school admissions before the ABA Council reiterated our position that the use of standardized tests to assess students and schools negatively impacts legal education and is racially discriminatory.

    With regard to clinical rankings, the current USNWR ranking system places us in competition with each other, when we as a group see ourselves in a shared struggle for social justice and equity in legal education. Second, there are no articulated factors for ranking clinical programs, including whether to recognize the work of externship programs, so the voting can be arbitrary and inconsistent. Third, some schools may unfairly suffer because they do not have the budget or the support of their administration to market their program or send their clinical faculty to annual conferences.

    For clinic faculty who are in a position to take action against the use of USNWR rankings, possible alternatives to participating in the ranking of clinical programs could include: (1) declining to submit a ballot at all and sending a letter to USNWR explaining why; (2) requesting that USNWR remove the school from the clinical ranking survey; (3) submitting a ballot in which the response for every school is "no answer;” and/or (4) making a public statement against the use of USNWR rankings requesting that others do not rank the school in the survey.

    We understand that each law school has a unique set of needs and priorities. Some clinical programs outside the top-tier rankings have achieved recognition of their respective programs through the USNWR; and this, in turn, has allowed them to further advance the goals of their clinical education programs. Individual faculty may choose to continue to participate, or may not be in a position to refuse to submit a rankings ballot or ask that their program not be ranked. If faculty do vote, CLEA urges those ranking clinical programs to focus on factors that promote the principles for which CLEA advocates, namely the increased presence of clinical education (law clinics and externships) in law school curricula, security of position for clinical faculty, and diversity and equity. In evaluating clinical programs, CLEA urges voters to consider: 1) the number of law clinic and externship slots available relative to the student population at a school; 2) the breadth and quality of clinical curricular offerings available to students; 3) the school's security of position, academic freedom, and governance rights for faculty who teach clinics or externships; and 4) the extent to which the school has committed to pursuing racial justice in its clinical program through its course offerings, impact on the community, and demonstrated commitment to diversity and equity in hiring and promotion of clinical faculty.

    CLEA urges voters to score only those programs for which they have sufficient information to make informed decisions. It urges voters to choose the “No Answer” option when they have insufficient information to assess a particular clinical program. Last, CLEA also urges those who receive ballots to consult their clinical colleagues for their views to increase the range of informed opinions reflected in the balloting.

    We are grateful to the growing list of law schools who have removed themselves from the rankings system for their advocacy and for raising awareness about the destructive consequences of the current system. We hope that our collective efforts move legal education towards greater equity and accessibility for future students and the legal profession.

  • 07 Oct 2022 12:47 PM | Mike Murphy (Administrator)

    The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) invites new clinicians to save the date for the New Clinicians Conference to be held on Thursday, April 27 at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco.

    The all-day conference will take place prior to the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education.

    Additional details forthcoming! Please watch this space. 

  • 26 Aug 2022 6:11 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    The CLEA Elections Committee -Crystal Grant (Duke), Lauren Bartlett (SLU), Shobha Lakshmi Mahadev (Northwestern), and June Tai (Iowa)) is soliciting nominations through October 1, 2022, of individuals to serve on the CLEA Board starting in January 2023. This year, there are several Board positions open. All positions require a three-year commitment. I am attaching a memo which sets forth the activities and responsibilities of CLEA Board members in more detail. Current CLEA members are invited to nominate themselves or other CLEA members as candidates for one of these open positions. The committee also encourages "new clinicians" (defined as clinicians with fewer than 6 years of experience) to self-identify as such as they run for the CLEA Board. Our Bylaws create a process for candidates identified as "new clinicians," to ensure that, if the existing Board lacks new clinician representation, the identified "new clinician" candidate who receives the greatest number of votes will be assured a place on the Board. 

    Read more about the board and its responsibilities here.

    The Committee strongly encourages CLEA members to nominate individuals from groups that are currently underrepresented within the leadership of various clinical institutions, including CLEA, the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education, and the Clinical Law Review. The nomination process is simple. Nominate yourself or someone else by contacting the chair of the CLEA Elections Committee, Crystal Grant at If you are nominating yourself, please include a paragraph or two about why you are running and a link to your faculty profile, which will be included with the election materials to be sent later in the fall. If you are nominating another CLEA member, there is no need to include such a paragraph; the name alone will suffice, and the Elections Committee will contact the nominee for further information. If you have less than six years of clinical teaching experience and wish to be identified as a "new clinician" candidate, or if you want to nominate a candidate for the "new clinician" category, please indicate that as well. 


    Now that school is back in session, it’s a great time to check whether your school has renewed your CLEA school bundle membership for the 2022-23 school year (or, if you don’t have a school membership, if you have renewed your individual membership), especially because you must be a current CLEA member in order to vote, as well as to run for the board. You can check your membership status at Those who have not renewed by Sept. 30 will be considered lapsed and ineligible to vote or serve. 


    Although the process of nomination is easy, our Bylaws set a strict deadline for receiving nominations. All nominations must be received by October 1, 2022. If you have questions about the CLEA Elections process, please feel free to contact committee chair Crystal Grant at


  • 05 Aug 2022 2:20 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    The Externships 11 Organizing Committee shares this important update about the conference on October 7-8, 2022, in Los Angeles. Pepperdine and UCLA had been planning to host the conference together, but because of some leadership and staff departures, UCLA has decided that it will not co-host the conference. Pepperdine will continue, and we are shifting our plans now.

    Externships 11 now will be two full days, Friday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, on campus at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Malibu. The organizing committee will reach out to all the speakers to confirm the schedule. Registration continues through this Pepperdine site. (We're updating it as quickly as possible.) To accommodate this change, if necessary, speakers may appear by video, although we earnestly hope everyone will still attend in person. We will continue to offer online video access for people to attend sessions if they cannot attend in person, and remote attendees still need to register for the conference. 

    We are working on lodging and transportation options and guidance. This may be our biggest challenge. We currently have blocks of rooms available at the Villa Graziadio hotel on Pepperdine's campus and a block of rooms at the Hilton in Woodland Hills (about 16 miles away). We are working on providing shuttle service from the Woodland Hills Hilton and campus for both days of the conference. These are a total of about 60 rooms, so please register and book them soon! If we exhaust those blocks, later folks will need to secure their own lodging and provide their own transportation, and we will provide suggestions in Malibu, Santa Monica, and the Conejo Valley.  (Please do not book rooms at the Luxe; those plans have changed. It's not close enough or accessible for shuttles to Pepperdine. If you have booked there, you'll likely need to change plans.)

    We're grateful for everyone's patience, understanding, and participation, in the spirit of scrappy, creative, resilient, and adaptive clinicians in this vibrant community. We are eager and excited to host the conference at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law in Malibu, and we are confident that it will be an excellent conference. It may be a little harder to get here, but it will be worth it. In addition to excellent, timely content, we're working on building community through food, sunsets, beaches, mountains, and friendship.

    The organizing committee has been responsive, creative, and committed to the conference. We are grateful to and for them. Please reach out to any of them or me with questions or ideas.

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