India Quarterly, 66, 2 (2010): 133–149
46 Sanjeeb Kumar Mohanty and Jinendra Nath Mahanty46 Michael Lindfield
Catching Fire: A Case Study
Illustration of the Need for an
Interdisciplinary Clinical Case
Partnership and Resulting
Carrie A. Hagan1
Stephanie K. Boys2
There is an increasing pressure calling for legal education’s evolution into building more practical
competencies to better prepare law students for practice upon graduation. Collaborative learning
between law students and social work students in a clinical setting enriches their respective educations
well beyond their respective traditional curricula. By working together, the students learn other methods
on how to handle different clients and their unique situations and how to work with someone of a
different disciplinary expertise with the same client. This article begins with a law student’s mishandling
of an initial client interaction, discusses the advantages of an interdisciplinary education with social
work students and then reimagines the initial encounter after the law student has been taught by an
interdisciplinary partnership between law and social work schools. Law students gain a better and
broader perspective when working alongside social work students to tackle problems that they not
only face in a clinical setting, but also will encounter both in practice and in life.
The economic downturn and its effect on law school enrolment has been the subject of much debate
in recent years. Student debt and perceived lack of a payoff of having a legal education are huge
factors in this shift.3 As a result, there are several indicators not only that legal education will have to
keep student costs down, but also that in order to thrive, schools will need to make their students as
marketable and competitive as possible.4 According to the recommendations from the American Bar
Association (ABA) Task Force on the Future of Legal Education, ‘the balance between doctrinal
1 Clinical Associate Professor, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, USA.
2 Associate Professor, Indiana University School of Social Work, USA.
3 See ABA RepoRt at 2; see David Segal, What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering, N.Y. times (November 19, 2011).
4 ABA RepoRt.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
© 2015 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Carrie A. Hagan, Clinical Associate Professor, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, USA.