Message from Co-Chairs
Anahid Gharakanian and Meg Reuter
We are delighted to serve as co-chairs of the AALS Clinical Section’s Externship Committee (through spring/summer 2021!) We have been involved with externship teaching/directing for a combined 25 years. We LOVE externships! And what is most endearing to us about our externship work can be summed up into two categories.
First, externship courses are critical to law students’ preparation for practice. We know this based on our years of teaching and hearing from our students and supervisors, but also through empirical studies including the recent major national study and report Foundations for Practice: Hiring the Whole Lawyer: Experience Matters. What we do as externship teachers REALLY matters.
Second, we love our externship work because of the remarkable community of legal educators and innovators that we’re part of. Our externship colleagues are super caring, committed, and energetic. We care about professional development and we care about helping each other out. And we’re committed to having everyone heard and everyone involved.
We hope to expand our national externship circle even farther and reach more of our community through this quarterly newsletter. We invite EVERYONE to get involved in whatever capacity works for you at this time. Check out the information about our five subcommittees; they’re all looking for members. And we hope to connect with each of you at the Externships 10 as well as AALS Clinical Conferences in 2020!
Please email us with your feedback and thoughts about the work of our AALS Externship group.
1) Communication and Content Subcommittee
Our Subcommittee is responsible for promoting information sharing for the externship community, particularly by updating www.lexternweb.org. We are always looking for new committee members to help us maintain Lextern Web, solicit additional resources, and gather the information that would be helpful to our community.
If you are looking for various sample forms, agreements, syllabi, etc., please be sure to check Lextern Web. And if you are willing for us to post materials to Lextern Web, please upload them here. As always, if you find gaps, broken links, or missing information, please let us know!
2) International and Semester Away Subcommittee
The Subcommittee on International and Semester Away Externships aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas among externship faculty and staff working with semester in practice and international externships. The Committee organizes monthly zoom calls on topics relevant to faculty and staff running programs where students are away from their law school campuses for the semester. The calls are led by group members, with frequent guest speakers. A list of prior topics and materials are available on LEXTERN. In addition, we aim to coordinate programming at relevant conferences and to keep raising questions and trying to provide answers about how to run meaningful and responsive semester away externship programs for our students. All Externship faculty and staff are invited to join for the learning and the sharing. This year, the Committee is moving forward on a placement database and in building our relationships with international colleagues.
3) Membership Subcommittee
The AALS Externship Membership Committee focuses on producing and updating the membership directory available through LEXTERN, welcoming new members to the externships community, and connecting new members with resources in the experiential education community. Members of all experience levels are invited to join. If you enjoy meeting and collaborating with externship colleagues, sharing resources, and being a resource, this is a great subcommittee for you! Please contact Lauren or Sue - we welcome help and ideas!
4) Scholarship Subcommittee
The scholarship subcommittee is proud to say we have launched a writing initiative to help support the scholarship goals within our community. In the summer, we put out a call for those interested in a writing group. We now have three writing groups with eleven members total working toward monthly progress on individual goals. The committee's role is to enthusiastically prompt the writing group to meet the next set writing deadline in hopes to reach the spring publication market. Another project the committee is working on in conjunction with the committee on Information and Resources is a comprehensive externship scholarship bibliography divided into to subtopics so the end-user is able to readily find relevant readings based on an area of interest. As always, we are interested in recruiting new members interested in either project!
5) Teaching Methodologies Subcommittee
We are pleased to co-chair your subcommittee on Teaching Methodologies. We have an exciting year ahead and we’re looking forward to working with the externship community!
Our first project is to help the community identify effective teaching techniques related to some of the specific skills identified by the legal community as necessary to the practice of law. Thus, you will soon receive a quick survey where we will ask for your help in selecting the initial lawyering skills on which we will focus.
We invite anyone interested in learning more, or in helping, to please contact us at any time. Talk to you soon!
Get to Know the AALS Clinical Section
The AALS Clinical Section is coordinated by an elected executive committee that works on sponsoring/co-sponsoring a program at the annual AALS Conference in January; providing assistance and sponsoring a lunch at the Clinical Conference in May; coordinating with CLEA (the Clinical Legal Education Association) on timely topics; funding for regional clinical conferences and other things; and generally serving as a representative and advocate on clinical issues within the AALS leadership.
Much of the work happens through the following committees, currently chaired by:
- Communications - Gail Silverstein
- Teaching Methodologies - Benjie Louis and Jean Phillips
- Externships - Anahid Gharakhanian and Meg Reuter
- Membership, Training, and Outreach - Jodi Balsam and Katy Ramsey
- Policy - Kim Connolly
- Clinicians of Color - Tameka Lester and Renee Hatcher
- International Clinical Education - Deborah Eisenberg and Lydia Nussbaum
- Technology Committee - Michele Pistone
- ADR - Deborah Eisenberg and Lydia Nussbaum
- Interdisciplinary Committee - Colleen Boraca, Lucy Johnston-Walsh, and Jennifer Oliva
The committees meet throughout the year and in-person at the Clinical Conference.
Currently, the Clinical Section Executive Committee is comprised of:
- Patience Crowder, Chair
- Wendy Bach, Chair-Elect
- Kimberly Ambrose, Secretary
- Fatma Marouf, Treasurer
- Allison Bethel, former Co-Chair
- Scott Cummings, former Co-Chair
- Chloe Georas
- Elizabeth Keyes
- Leah Hill
- Shawn Watts
- Sue Schechter
The executive committee members serve as liaisons to the AALS Clinical Section committees. If you are interested in learning more about the AALS Clinical Section or the Executive Committee, please reach out to: Sue Schechter, firstname.lastname@example.org, who is happy to connect you with committee chairs, members, and more.