Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016

First Page






Source Publication Abbreviation

Clinical L. Rev.


In this essay, I suggest that we create a distinct field of academic inquiry: clients, in particular subordinated clients. Rising to Professor L ´ opez’s challenge, I propose that we organize the disparate strands of practice and scholarship in this area and develop a theoretical framework by which to study them.4 I attempt a modest step in that direction here. After summarizing the current conception and treatment of clients in the legal curriculum, I harness and reconceive various strands of literature and weave them into one curricular model for client studies. We are well-familiar with the ways in which most people are denied access to the legal system, less so with the ways in which that marginalization begins in law school. Outside of clinical instruction, law students deal rarely, if at all, with actual clients. The study of law is dehumanized—literally. I argue that we ought to align legal education with human need and teach law and lawyering not from the surreptitious, purportedly objective, perspective of legal doctrine nor simply from the professional perspective of the lawyer, but from the basic interests of actual, subordinated human beings. Instead of deforming human reality to suit the requirements of a legal status quo or conceiving of clients purely as professionals, we ought to humanize legal study and practice by starting with our clients’ needs, sensitizing our students to them, and insisting that the legal system comply.