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This article proposes that clinical professors, and legal writing professors in particular, consider practicing law - in real-life, non-clinical settings - during some significant portion of their sabbaticals from teaching. This proposal would (1) improve the learning experience for students in clinics, writing classes, and skills classes, (2) offer a vital public service to the under-represented, and (3) improve the overall administration of justice. At little cost, this proposal would foster a richer engagement by clinicians and legal writing professors with the world of legal practice. This idea could also infuse increased life and meaning into our law school classes. The Carnegie Foundation’s study of legal education and the Best Practices Project of the Clinical Legal Education Association – along with their recommendations of a greater emphasis on clinics and trial or practice simulations – have generated much discussion within the academy. By challenging readers to consider alternative sabbatical engagements that would later enrich the classroom experience with a practitioner’s focus, our article addresses many of the concerns expressed by the Carnegie Foundation and by the Best Practices Project.


© 2010 Association of American Law Schools. Posted with permission.