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14 Clinical Law Review 415 (2008)


This article uses the question of whether or not supervisors attend initial client interviews with their students as a lens through which to explore other questions about supervision theory, clinical pedagogy and professional responsibility. This analysis appears to create dichotomous positions concerning how students learn best and how clients are served best. The article attempts to deconstruct these dichotomies by proposing a different way to think about these issues. Grounded in theories about adult learning, critical reflection, and role assumption and modeling, the article concludes that the decision about whether to attend client interviews can be one that the supervisor makes on a case-by-case, student-by-student basis, and that the decision might be made in collaboration with the student. Engaging in this kind of inquiry would require supervisors to revisit often and critically their roles as teachers and lawyers, and the needs of their individual students and clients. Moreover, by involving their students in this process, the clinicians model that reflection for them, teaching not only the skill of client-centered interviewing, but also the skill of self-evaluation and critical reflection. The article is based on empirical and theoretical research that reveals and describes complex spectra of supervision style and professional role. Discussion about these spectra and how they inform our pedagogy provides a rich forum to challenge ourselves as critically reflective clinical teachers.