skip to main content skip to footer

Assessing Clinical Skills in Legal Education: Simulation Exercises in Client Interviewing

Alderman, Donald L.; Evans, Franklin R.; Wilder, Gita Z.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Council on Legal Education for Professional Responsibility, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), Interview Skills, Legal Education, Measurement Techniques, Simulation Exercises


Four different groups of respondents completed a set of simulation exercises intended to reflect lawyering skills involved in client interviews. The written simulation exercises began with a brief description of a practical situation and required a series of interdependent steps to be taken toward resolution of a specific problem in client interviewing. The four response groups were: undergraduate prelaw students; law students without any direct client experience; law students completing programs of clinical legal education; and law professors and attorneys. Scores on the simulation exercises showed successive, significant increases across response groups which were independent of academic preparation and ability. These results suggest both the appropriateness of simulation exercises as measures of clinical skills in legal education and the effectiveness of clinical programs in promoting the development of such skills within law schools. (22pp.)

Read More