Policy Clinic for 2012-2013
HARRISON INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC LAW
August 18, 2012
Policy Clinic for 2012-2013
Harrison Institute for Public Law
I. OVERVIEW OF THE POLICY CLINIC
A. Introduction 1
B. Role and services 1
C. Clients and projects 1
D. Experiential learning 6
E. History of the Harrison Institute 10
II. SUPERVISION & EVALUATION
A. Student autonomy and supervision 11
B. Structure of feedback and supervision 11
C. Student evaluation of clinical program 13
D. Student responsibilities for time and participation 13
E. Grading and overall evaluation 14
F. Outline of evaluation criteria 16
Student evaluation summary
Weekly meeting – agenda template
Presentation style – comment form
Editing audit form
The Harrison Institute’s policy clinic supports actors who shape and make public policy. Some of our
clients are nonprofit coalitions that promote policy change at various levels – local, state, federal, and
international. Most of our clients are decision-makers, primarily at the state level, including
legislators, attorneys general, regulators, planners, and their national associations. These are some of
the questions we tackle:
Trade – Do foreign investor rights threaten financial reform? Will trade rules undermine authority
of governments to regulate tobacco, energy, the environment, or financial services?
Health – How can states and communities promote better nutrition, particularly in schools? Do
cities have the authority to build a new food economy? How can the law protect people from
genetic discrimination in long-term, disability and life insurance?
Climate – How can states protect their role as innovators on climate policy? How can state and
local governments adapt to higher seas and hotter summers? Do states have the authority to reduce
carbon in transportation fuels?
B. Policy Role and Services
Students in the policy clinic analyze law-making authority, identify options for changing policy, help
our clients plan their strategy, and draft policy documents based on client choices.
Focus on federalism. State governments represent local needs; they spend federal money; they
regulate most services; they link local and global interests. They are big enough to affect national
policy, yet they are flexible enough to adapt and experiment with policies that often paralyze Congress
and federal agencies. Regardless of party, issue, or geography, our clients are passionate about using
and preserving the role of states as laboratories of democracy. We therefore focus on state innovation
as a catalyst for national policy and, increasingly, on federalism as a model for international relations
and standard setting.
Range of services. The services that our clients request most frequently include:
Help develop a strategy
Analyze limits on lawmaking authority
Analyze policy options at all levels – local, state, federal, and international
Draft policy proposals including model legislation, agency rules, and association policies
Speak at a public hearing, conference, seminar or webinar
Prepare policy briefs and web pages for public education
Train community leaders and build capacity of their institutions
Create the legal structure for an association or network
C. Clients & Projects
1. Labor and the working poor. The Harrison Institute supports policy work of the Kalmanovitz
Initiative on Labor and the Working Poor, an interdisciplinary program of Georgetown University.
The Initiative was created in 2009 to develop creative strategies and innovative public policy to
improve workers' lives in a changing economy.
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Clients & collaborators
• Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor
• Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium (of state and local governments)
• International Labor Rights Fund
• Worker Rights Consortium
• International Labor Organization (ILO – Washington office)
• Procurement without sweatshops – Following the lead of universities, a growing number of
state and local governments seek to avoid purchasing apparel (e.g., uniforms for police and
athletics) that is made in sweatshops. For the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium (12 state and
local governments), we developed a model sweatfree policy that enables local governments to
screen their procurement awards to prefer supply chains that provide decent working
• New ways to empower workers – As American manufacturing has receded, the institutional
voice of working people – organized labor – is facing a crisis of its own. Despite popular
support for the idea of collective bargaining, union membership hovers near 7%; many
workers are excluded from protections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
Organizers are experimenting with new ways to empower workers – often outside of the
NLRA process – to improve working conditions and increase access to quality jobs. In the fall
of 2012, we will work with Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative to identify and support some
of these strategies.
2. Democracy and trade. For the past two decades, we have supported state governments,
international coalitions, and public interest advocates who work on trade and investment policy.
Their goal is to preserve space for governments to provide or regulate essential services (e.g.,
energy, health care, food markets), set labor standards, and regulate products that affect the
environment and public health.
Clients & collaborators
State oversight commissions – Several states have created commissions that request our
testimony at oversight hearings and analysis for corresponding with their congressional
delegations and U.S. trade negotiators.
o Maine – Maine Citizens Trade Policy Commission
o Vermont - Study Committee on International Trade and State Sovereignty
o Washington – Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Trade Policy
o Utah – Utah International Trade Commission
o New Hampshire – New Hampshire Trade Policy Commission
Government associations – National associations of state and local governments request our
presentations at their conventions and use our analysis to correspond with congressional
committees and U.S. trade negotiators.
o Council of State Governments (CSG)
o Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee (IGPAC)
o National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)
o National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
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o National Association of Counties (NACO)
o International Municipal Lawyers' Association (IMLA)
International organizations – We have collaborated with several NGOs on policy analysis and
presentations to international meetings.
o South Centre (Geneva)
o Third World Network (Geneva)
o UN Economic Commission on Latin American and the Caribbean
o International Labor Organization (ILO – Washington office)
Forum on Democracy & Trade – The Forum maintains an archive of our work as an online
resource for public officials who work on trade policy.
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) – The United States is leading negotiations to
create the TPPA, a “21st Century Trade Agreement.” Starting with 11 countries, it is likely to
become the largest trade agreement outside of the WTO. Negotiators are drafting chapters that
are WTO-plus – expanding rules and coverage beyond the baseline of WTO agreements. Our
clients ask us to identify ways in which the TPPA could shrink the policy space for
governments to provide or regulate services, investments, procurement, and products that
affect public health.
Tobacco in trade and investment agreements – For over a decade, Congress has prohibited
U.S. negotiators from using trade agreements to promote tobacco trade to undermine
restrictions on tobacco products imposed by other countries. Nonetheless, the past eight U.S.
trade agreements eliminate tobacco tariffs, and they provide investors with the kind of rights
that Philip Morris is using to challenge tobacco controls in Australia and Uruguay. We work
with an international coalition that seeks to exclude tobacco from the benefits of trade and
investment agreements, starting with the (TPPA).
Foreign investor rights – There are more than 2,600 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and
investment chapters of free trade agreements (FTAs). They provide foreign investors with
greater rights than national constitutions to seek compensation when government policies
adversely affect their investments. The United States proposes an investment chapter within
the pending TPPA and has started BIT negotiations with China and India. Several South
American countries have begun to develop alternative standards of investor protection that are
more consistent with their domestic law. The debate over these negotiations is being fueled by
several high-profile investment disputes. The world’s largest tobacco company, Philip Morris
International, launched claims against Uruguay and Australia to block stringent tobacco
controls. And U.S. and Canadian mining companies are using investment disputes to
challenge environmental decrees and court rulings in Peru, Ecuador, and El Salvador. We
work with several clients on TPPA investment negotiations and the dispute in Peru.
Trade limits on domestic regulation – A coalition of countries in the WTO is pushing for
“disciplines” on domestic regulation of services that, if adopted, would limit the power of
governments to regulate service industries (energy, banking, hazardous waste, etc.) and alter
the constitutional balance of power between the federal government and states. We have
worked with both national and subnational governments that seek to moderate these proposals
in keeping with democratic traditions.
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3. Health and food. Over the past several years, we have analyzed health funding streams, legal
issues related to federal health reform, emergency preparedness strategies, support for community
health workers (CHWs), international tobacco control, consumer protection in genetic testing, and
community food policy.
Clients & collaborators
• Non-profit organizations
o School Food FOCUS, a project of Public Health Solutions (New York City)
o Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network (WSFFN)
o National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), an independent academy of state
health policymakers working together to identify emerging issues, develop policy
solutions, and improve state health policy and practice.
o Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), a coalition of international NGOs that support
tobacco control legislation in countries around the world.
o Health Care Dynamics International, a contractor for the U.S. government, in support of
policy projects for the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services: Center for Public
Integrity (CPI) and the Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs (OSORA).
o Centers for Disease Control, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.
State and local governments, policy councils, and legislators
o Washington State Department of Agriculture
o Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
o Baltimore Food Policy Task Force, along with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable
o National Conference of State Legislatures
o Individual legislators in Maryland, California, Connecticut
o Maryland Attorney General, Office of Consumer Protection
• O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law
The Institute unites faculty from Georgetown’s law and health campuses. It advances law as a
fundamental tool for solving critical health problems in global, national, and local
• Food and nutrition – As the obesity rates in the U.S. continue to rise, particularly in young
children, many cities are dealing with the double burden of obese and nutritionally deficient
children and adults, particularly in low income areas. Research indicates that children and
adults in low-income areas do not have equal access to nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and
vegetables. Children who consume school food suffer relatively higher rates of obesity and
diabetes. On behalf of School Food FOCUS, we work with school districts that want to
purchase unprocessed local food within the federal framework for geographic preferences and
state procurement law.
• Federal health reform – fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid – Reducing fraud,
waste, and abuse is often cited as a way to reduce spending on federally-subsidized health care
programs. In 2010 alone, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates it
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made over $70 billion in improper payments. Moving away from the pay and chase model,
CMS is looking at data analysis as a tool to combat fraud, waste, and abuse. This analysis will
save the federal government money as well as protecting patients from unnecessary medical
procedures. The Affordable Care Act provided additional tools for CMS and other federal
agencies to address fraud in health care more aggressively. On behalf of HCDI, we have
worked on the question, does CMS have the legal framework it needs for working with states
to share data and prosecute fraud and abuse?
• Federal health reform – legal barriers – It is critical that advocates of health reform anticipate
and resolve legal barriers to substantive health reform. On behalf of the O’Neill Institute, we
managed a project to develop 13 papers to provide policymakers with analysis of potential
barriers and a range of solutions for topics such as federal mandates and insurance exchanges.
• Genetic discrimination – People are increasing their use of genetic testing to learn about their
dispositions to disease and hereditary traits. In May 2008, the federal government enacted the
Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits the use of genetic
testing for employment or health insurance. GINA specifically omitted long-term, disability
and life insurance, and it left states to regulate this area. Genetic tests marketed directly to
consumers can be misleading and potentially harmful to consumers. For the Maryland Office
of Attorney General, we analyzed how state governments can prevent these harms by policing
the advertising of tests.
4. Climate policy. During a decade of federal inaction on climate policy, American states filled the
gap with experimental programs and regional market initiatives in the Northeast, West, and
Midwest. After a flurry of federal activity in 2008-2009, the pendulum is again shifting back to
the states. Our work on climate policy supports the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) and its
national network of public officials.
Clients and collaborators
Georgetown Climate Center –The GCC supports climate partnerships at every level of
government, links states with federal policymakers, analyzes legislation and rule-making,
shares best practices, and serves as a resource to all states. The Harrison projects below
contribute to the GCC's Adaptation Clearinghouse of resources for coastal development,
public health, transportation, water and other sectors.
State and local governments – On behalf of the Georgetown Climate Center, we have worked
directly with state and local governments:
o California, the Air Resources Board
o Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources, the City of Baltimore, City of
Annapolis, and Anne Arundel County
o District of Columbia, departments of environment and planning, among others
o City of Milwaukee
Government associations – A growing number of associations request our presentations at
their conferences and use our toolkits and policy models.
o Coastal States Organization
o West Coast Governors Alliance
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o Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM)
o National League of Cities
Adapting to sea level rise – As the seas continue to rise, coastal communities face increasing
flooding, erosion and storm surge, which will destroy ecosystems and cause significant
property damage. A growing number of state and local governments seek to minimize these
effects by adapting their coastal planning, flood plain management and zoning laws. Our
Adaptation Tool Kit for Sea Level Rise (SLR) analyzes 18 different land-use tools that
governments could use to adapt, drafted a model SLR zoning ordinance, and tested the model
for state, federal and constitutional law barriers. For Connecticut, we developed legal
strategies to implement these tools, and for Maryland, we developed a model zoning ordinance
for coastal communities. We also analyzed potential barriers to adaptation posed by Army
Corp of Engineers permitting practices and the National Flood Insurance Program.
Adapting to urban heat – Pavement and buildings lack shade and absorb heat; they make cities
a “heat island” compared to surrounding rural areas: on average, about 5 degrees hotter in the
day and 20 degrees hotter at night. Between 1979 and 2003, extreme heat caused more deaths
(about 700 per year) in the United States than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and
earthquakes combined. When you consider the predictions for global warming on top of that,
U.S. heat related deaths could rise to between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths annually by 2050. Our
Adaptation Tool Kit for Urban Heat helps governments decide how to reduce their heat island
by using built-environment approaches such as cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and
urban forestry. The policy tools include mandates, incentives, and public education.
Preemption of low-carbon fuel standards – States have developed some of the most
progressive low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS) and markets for carbon trading. The industry is
challenging the leading state, California, on constitutional and preemption grounds. We have
contributed to the briefs that defend California’s LCFS, and we have analyzed alternative ways
to preserve state authority (legislation, rulemaking, litigation) that minimize the impact of
Sustainability standards – The European Union has adopted “sustainability standards” for
screening fuel imports. These standards consider a number of factors such as impact of fuel
production on land use, food prices and availability, and water pollution. At the request of
state governments, we are analyzing whether states have the authority and capacities necessary
to implement sustainability standards, and if so, what form those standards could take.
5. Utility regulation. In 2009-2010, the Institute provided services to the National Regulatory
Research Institute (NRRI), which serves as an expert advisor to the nation’s 50 state utility
commissions. The regulatory climate for public utilities is volatile due to changes in national
legislation, corporate acquisitions and sales, aging infrastructure, inadequate capital budgets,
privatization and long-term contracting. The lead project for NRRI was:
Scope of public interest regulation - Regulators struggle to cope with de-regulation of utilities
in some states, while other states deal with a web of corporate subsidiaries and contracts.
They seek guidance on where courts will uphold their authority and how to strengthen
regulation in a rapidly changing market.
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D. Experiential learning
1. Educational Goals. The role of a policy lawyer is less scripted by rules of procedure than more
traditional roles like defense counsel, prosecutor, or business counselor. A policy lawyer crafts a
new role for each project. One client might ask you to draft a bill to amend existing law; the next
might ask you to develop a strategy to create a new health care system.
Our students develop their roles as part of a team – trade, health or climate – that reflects modern
practice. We must specialize to meet our clients’ needs. But the skill set our students employ is
common to all subjects and to any government, corporate or nonprofit setting in which our
students will practice.
Our educational goal is to enable our students to draw from core skills in order to adapt their
policy role to any project or setting. We organize our curriculum, supervision methods and
evaluation criteria around three skill sets, for which our students earn 14 credits over the course of
Planning and accountability 4 credits
Research and analysis 5 credits
Communication 5 credits
Planning and accountability. Whose needs does a policy serve? Rarely is there a single
public interest, and usually, policy-making is a contest among conflicting interests. Often, a
policy lawyer is accountable to multiple clients or broader constituencies. An abundance of
policy options makes it difficult for clients to choose. Our students learn to:
o Manage supervision meetings.
o Clarify strategy and desired results.
o Manage effort and deadlines.
o Define and fill their role in groups.
Research and analysis. What problem are you solving? How many ways are there to solve
it? Who has the legal authority? How do you reach your conclusions? To answer these
questions, our students learn to:
o Define the problem or question.
o Learn the legal and policy context efficiently.
o Outline the approach.
o Use diverse sources to avoid bias.
o Explain analytic methodology.
o Use a logical framework.
o Conclude by guiding clients’ use of analysis.
Communication. Who is in your audience? What do they need to learn about the problem or
legal options? How will they use your analysis to make decisions? To communicate in a way
that empowers our clients to act, our students learn to:
o Organize documents and presentations logically.
o Meet audience needs for context in the introduction.
o Relate the analysis to audience needs.
o Use appropriate language in terms of tone, objectivity and jargon.
o Conclude actively to support client decision-making.
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2. Seminar Curriculum. Seminars stress active learning through student presentations, writing
exercises, peer critique, and interaction with practitioners. Seminars meet on Friday mornings for
three hours (9:00 am to noon) with additional seminars or team meetings on Tuesday afternoons
(3:30 to 5:15 pm).
o Role of policy lawyer
o Skill sets – strategy, analysis and communication
o Outlining a project strategy
o Project history and strategy
- Trade (includes labor)
• Research & analysis
o Primary sources and doctrines of interpretation
o Legal frameworks: Sources of authority and limits on authority
o Logical organization: Division and classification
o Policy analysis: Projecting a future path
o Advocacy: Developing a strategy by planning backwards
o Legal analysis of conflict and preemption
• Presentation skills
o Using stories to connect
o Showing what you mean – video and web tools
o Editing visual information
o Concluding actively
o 14 student presentations
• Writing skills
o Writing process: purpose, organization, writing, editing
o Editing fuzzy language: ambiguity, vagueness and generality
o Editing legal language and plain language
o Subtleties of legal English: grammar, punctuation and usage
• Ethics & client relations
o DC Bar rules: Confidentiality, conflicts and personal values
o University rules: Using the work of others
o Talking about work
Strategy and stages of planning
o Set goals and policy objectives
o Identify decision forum and decision makers
o Focus on policy and media networks
o Identify tactics, including need for analysis
o Secure resources and define roles
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o University program – Kalmanovitz Initiative
o Communications firm – Fenton Communications
o Law firm with a lobbying practice
o Foundations and funding
o 28 student presentations
3. Clinical methods. Students work an average of least 25 hours per week for two semesters. Half
of this time is highly structured interaction between students and faculty, which creates a blueprint
for independent student work. The following expectations for student-faculty interaction are
average hours per week.
Highly structured interaction – 12.5 hrs/wk.
o Seminars – 6.5 hrs/wk. Starting with orientation, seminars convey the theory and practice
of policy lawyering. In a typical class, students learn by using a skill or analytic method to
present an aspect of their project, and the faculty will explain the relevant evaluation
criteria. Seminars meet on most Fridays at 9:00 am and frequently on Tuesdays at 3:30
o Team meetings – 1.5 hrs/wk. Team meetings occur on Tuesdays when seminars do not
meet and at other times as needed. They involve students and staff who work on a general
topic (e.g., trade, health or climate) or a project. Team meetings serve a variety of
purposes, sometimes during the same session:
- Small group seminar on the law of one or more projects.
- Strategy sessions in which students seek broader input on their project.
- Rehearsal of presentations to clients or conferences.
- Peer critique sessions for partners or larger groups to discuss student work.
- “Rounds” to discuss problems or issues that arise from projects or client relations.
o Supervisor meetings – 1.5 hrs/wk. In weekly supervision meetings, students develop
planning skills and receive feedback on all aspects of performance. Students manage this
meeting. They prepare an agenda of analytic questions, reactions to faculty comments on
their work, and reflections on the previous seminar. Non-routine topics include end-of-
semester evaluation and students’ personal learning memos on goals and career interests.
o Client or constituency meetings – 2 hrs/wk. Students interact with clients and
collaborators in a variety of settings. For example, students may present to a planning
session or a larger coalition meeting, or they may observe a coalition meeting or
conference to gather information for strategic planning.
o Peer critique – 1 hr/wk. It is human nature that you can be more objective in diagnosing
the flaws in someone else’s work. We began using peer critique to teach presentation
skills in seminars and are now using it selectively to strengthen editing skills that students
can apply to their own writing.
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Independent student work – 12.5 hrs/wk. For every hour of highly structured time, students
spend an hour developing their skills through planning, research, analysis, drafting, formatting
work products, and practicing presentations. Students are encouraged to work at clinic
facilities, but they are free to work when and where they choose.
E. History of the Harrison Institute
The Harrison Institute is one of the longest-running clinical programs in the nation. Beginning as the
Project for Community Legal Assistance in 1972, the Institute was renamed in 1980 to honor the life
of Anne Blaine Harrison, who supported the program with her ideas and leadership. Jason Newman
was the Institute’s founder and director until 2004 when he retired.
Over the years, the Harrison Institute has been an incubator for clinical programs that respond to local
and national needs. The following chart shows the evolution of programs that have led to the current
structure of two clinics, one focusing on policy and the other on housing and community development.
Clinical Programs within the Harrison Institute
1970s Legal assistance to nonprofit organizations.
Administrative advocacy – developmental disability rights, special
education entitlements, rent control, land use, historic preservation,
support to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
DC legislation – Drafting and research for DC Council committees.
Legislation included the DC Housing Finance Agency, the DC Freedom
of Information Act, utility consumer rights, probate reform and tax
1980s DC housing legislation – Drafted successful legislation for the
citywide housing coalition: tenant rights to purchase, condo/coop
conversion and sale, rent control, housing code enforcement,
Multifamily housing advocacy – Represented tenant associations
under laws for rent control, housing code enforcement, coop and
Montgomery County legislation – Staffed the Office of Legislative
Counsel. Drafted legislation on urban districts, pesticide regulation,
land developer fees, pension reform, and a multiyear code revision
1990s Housing & community development – Focus of housing work on
tenant purchase. Addition of entrepreneurial training and expansion
of tenant ownership to other cities under HUD contract.
Agency counsel – Legal staff support to the DC Statehood
Commission and Taxicab Commission.
State legislation – Drafting model legislation for the Center for Policy
Alternatives including community banking, childcare financing, family
and medical leave, environmental justice, microenterprise, rural
development, community health services.
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2000s Housing & community development – Focus on multifamily
purchase, financing, rehabilitation and entrepreneurial training.
Policy – Focus on zoning (completed), utility regulation (completed),
health policy, trade policy, climate policy, and the needs of workers.
II. STUDENT SUPERVISION & EVALUATION
A. Student Autonomy and Supervision
Our work requires knowledge of law and policy, understanding of political context, and ability to
translate analysis for a policy audience. The pressure of tight deadlines often limits out ability to use a
nondirective supervision style that enables students to independently manage their projects.
Clinics that use a nondirective style are able to do so because they narrow the focus of practice; their
students can master skills and knowledge in a particular forum. In addition, some clinics avoid
projects with tight deadlines so that students can work through 10 to 20 drafts of a brief or report.
These options are usually not available in the policy clinic.
Our supervision style tends to be more directive in the following ways:
The Institute staff coordinates strategic planning. Students may join a project that has
developed over several years. As part of a team, they critique or improve plans, present
options to clients, and develop individual work within the context of a longer-term plan.
Student writing is sometimes limited in the number of iterations that students can complete
and revise based on supervisor comments. We strive enable students to revise an outline and
write three drafts based on supervisor feedback. If time permits, students can complete
additional drafts, but at some point, a supervisor will edit or complete the final draft.
External presentations are often made as a team, particularly in the first semester, with
supervisors introducing students to clients and constituent groups.
This approach enables the Institute staff to involve students in demanding projects that could not
otherwise be delegated. We encourage students to initiate planning, research, outlines for analysis,
definition of work products, and setting deadlines for documents and events.
B. Structure for Feedback and Reflection
Evaluation in the policy clinic is a two-way conversation. The staff evaluates student work, and
students evaluate their own performance as well as the staff’s project management.
We use a variety of feedback techniques and forms for different types of performance:
Regular weekly meetings with supervisor: On a weekly basis, students set the agenda to reflect
on past performance, account for progress, and provide evidence of planning. Supervisors use
students’ agendas to evaluate planning and accountability. In a typical weekly meeting, a student
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o discuss the relevance of the previous seminar to student work and questions about
upcoming seminar assignments;
o review the past week's activity (including a completed time sheet);
o plan the next week (including updates to the project work plan and any new client
o identify substantive issues that require discussion or guidance;
o discuss supervisor evaluation of student performance;
o identify ethical issues and potential responses; and
o evaluate client, team or supervisor relations.
Form Template for weekly agenda
Comments on written work: Supervising attorneys provide comments on all major student
written work. These usually include margin comments on drafts and feedback memos or outlines
that summarize margin notes and list major substantive questions.
Personal learning memos: Students submit four short memos at different times of the year to
promote reflection and learning from experience. Their purposes are to:
o define personal learning goals entering the clinic (September);
o identify desired changes in assignments, topics or methodology (December);
o self-evaluate performance; identify needs to improve (March); and
o comment on personal accomplishments in the clinic (April).
Formal planning: Students are required to produce a work plan for their projects. This plan
includes goals and objectives of the project, research tasks, and products the students are expected
to produce. The plan is updated at least once in the middle of the clinic term, and then revised into
a transition memo at the end of the clinic.
Form Outline of work plan
Mid-year evaluation conferences: Each student meets with his/her supervisor at the end of the
first semester and again in mid-March to discuss the student's overall performance in the clinic.
The purposes are to provide an opportunity for students to respond to supervisor comments and
improve performance during the second semester.
Form Student evaluation summary
Contents of student evaluation file
Evaluation calendar: The policy clinic has a series of target dates and deadlines in order to
provide notice of performance that students need to improve and to avoid a crush of work at the
end of the second semester, which makes it difficult to provide feedback before students run out of
time. The target dates are:
12/1 Second personal learning memo – list desired changes in assignment, topic or
methodology for second semester
1/15 Fall semester evaluation meeting to review overall performance
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3/15 Third personal learning memo – self-assessment of performance;
list of evaluation categories where improvement is desired
3/15 Mid-spring evaluation meeting to review overall performance
4/1 Deadline for first drafts of remaining written work products
4/15 Deadline for second drafts of remaining written work products
5/1 Fourth personal learning memo – comment on personal accomplishments in the clinic
5/1 Deadline for final drafts of remaining written work products
5/1 Deadline for remaining year-end tasks (transition memo, time-sheets, etc.) and
remaining work without an extension
5/10 Year-end evaluation meeting to review overall performance.
Evaluation file: Supervisors keep the following compilation of student work.
1 Weekly meeting agendas, which the student prepares, and weekly meeting notes,
which the supervisor prepares
2 Time sheets, which the student provides on a weekly basis
3 Personal learning memos or comments in which the student evaluates the clinic
4 Work plans and updates
5 Draft written products, supervisor comments, and comment forms
6 Comment forms on presentations in seminars, meetings and conferences
7 General evaluation forms and comments, including mid-year and year-end reviews
C. Student Evaluation of the Clinical Program
The Law Center's evaluation questionnaire is helpful, but it provides very limited detail. In order to
receive the full benefit of evaluation of the program by students, the Institute schedules a group
discussion at the last seminar of each semester. It covers student views on supervision, clinical
projects, seminar curriculum and the program as a whole. In addition, students may meet with the
Institute director confidentially if they prefer.
D. Student Responsibilities for Time and Participation
In 2002, credits for the policy clinic were increased to 14 credits total, seven per semester, based on the
expectation that students will work a minimum of 25 hours per week on average (including seminars
but not travel or “down” time during fieldwork). The expectation of average time takes into account
considerable fluctuation in weekly time throughout the semester. Meeting this time commitment does
not entitle a student to an “A” for effort. Rather, it is the minimum level of effort that the staff expects
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a student will need in order to perform competently and show personal initiative in all aspects of
evaluation. Most students have to work more than this minimum average to attain excellent
The only way to evaluate time and whether it is used efficiently is to keep time records. Weekly
completion of time sheets is mandatory.
The clinic does not preclude extracurricular activities such as work or journal participation. However,
time conflicts are not acceptable reasons for failure to meet clinic deadlines or responsibilities.
Students should anticipate time conflicts far enough in advance to avoid them. Clinic work can
sometimes be shifted, but lead-time is essential.
Seminar participation is mandatory and constitutes a major portion of performance on which students
E. Grading and overall evaluation
The policy clinic grades each of three skill sets for the role of policy lawyer. These grades appear on a
student’s transcript at the following levels of credit:
Planning and accountability 4 credits
Research and analysis 5 credits
Communication skills 5 credits
Law Center policy requires clinic grades to reflect an historical curve, which requires supervisors to
compare overall student performance over the past several years. This policy aims to dampen grade
inflation, and it requires our supervisors to synchronize their evaluations. Such a comparison of
overall performance is not feasible until the end of the second semester. At that point, our grading
process involves the following steps.
1. Supervisors review each student file of work products, supervisor comments, weekly agendas,
time sheets, personal learning memos, and other notes.
2. The student and supervisor both complete an evaluation summary, which lists the subsets of
skills for each of the three core skill sets.
3. The student and supervisor meet to assess the student’s performance. Using the evaluation
summary as the agenda, the student takes the lead in self-evaluation, and the supervisor
responds with points of agreement, disagreement or additional observations.
4. After this meeting, the supervisor recommends a letter grade (to the clinic director) for each of
the three skill sets.
5. Supervisors meet to compare each grade and its supporting evaluation summary in order to
assure fairness among students with different supervisors.
6. The clinic director decides and registers the final grade.
Well before final evaluation and grades, students and supervisors need a mid-course measure of overall
performance and a language to talk about it. We use two mid-course intervals for evaluation: the end
of fall semester and mid-March. Distinct from evaluation of discrete work products, these evaluations
provide an overview of relative strengths and weaknesses among skill sets.
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Our skill sets (planning/accountability, research/analysis and communication) each have several
subsets that students can internalize for future self-evaluation. For example, evaluation of planning
and accountability is based on five subsets starting with “manage supervision meetings.” That subset
has several evaluation criteria, starting with “prepare weekly agendas to report progress.” The skill
sets and subsets cover 80 discrete evaluation criteria.
Our language for overall evaluation uses terms that approximate levels of performance for grades.
This gives students a sense of how they are doing without locking in expectations for a particular
grade. For example, the term “very good” equates roughly to B+ level of performance for a given skill
set. In terms of a skill subset, “very good” performance means that a student meets all but one or two
evaluation criteria that need improvement. Skill performance equates to work readiness. For example,
“very good” skill-level equates to written work that requires moderate editing.
The following chart shows how grades correspond with approximate evaluation terms and how we
define these terms based on skill performance and work readiness.
Grade Evaluation Skill performance: Evaluation Work readiness:
term criteria E.g., written analysis
A Excellent Sustained and high-level Work is ready to deliver or
performance in all criteria publish
A- Excellent Meets all criteria Work requires only light editing
B+ Very good Meets all but one or two Work requires moderate editing
criteria, which need
B Good Meets most criteria; several Work requires substantial
need improvement editing
B- Adequate Meets some criteria; several Work requires revision, more
need significant improvement than just editing
C+ Not adequate Meets few criteria; many need Work requires substantial
below significant improvement revision; it is not focused on
client needs (e.g., incomplete or
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F. Outline of Evaluation Criteria
The following outline covers each of three core competencies for the work of policy lawyers for
purposes of student evaluation and grading. It is not exhaustive, however, and students will be
credited and critiqued for performance that is “outside of the box” so long as the work is responsive to
client or program needs. The outline is designed to provide notice of what students are expected to do,
promote consistent evaluation among multiple supervisors, and help focus seminars and supervision
tools to support students in the areas where they are graded.
1. Planning and Accountability
a. Manage supervision meetings.
(1) Prepare weekly agendas to report progress, identify next steps, and raise substantive or
(2) Submit weekly time sheets with task details.
(3) Be on time, and notify clients or supervisors in advance of schedule conflicts.
(4) Initiate self-assessment and respond to constructive criticism.
(5) Anticipate ethical issues and personal value conflicts.
b. Clarify desired results and strategy.
Interview supervisors, collaborators or clients – recurrently – in order to:
(1) Generally, define the problem and desired policy change.
(2) More specifically, discern general goals from specific objectives in these categories:
(a) Desired policy change or preservation
(b) Outreach and network development
(c) Media visibility or avoidance thereof
(d) Access to resources (expertise, services or money)
(3) Do additional strategy work if it is useful:
(a) Prepare intermediate or fall-back objectives.
(b) Identify deciding events; plan backwards to develop a causal theory of change.
(c) Map networks to show lines of accountability or communication between
(d) Summarize opposing arguments or narratives for policy change.
c. Manage effort and deadlines.
(1) Plan tasks including time required; update plan if the tasks take longer than expected.
(2) Schedule work and deadlines in relation to external events.
(3) Manage division of labor when working in groups.
(4) Manage external time conflicts.
(5) Meet deadlines once they are set; avoid extraneous work in the face of deadlines.
(6) Meet the clinic's time expectation of 25 hours per week on average.
d. Fulfill role in groups.
Group settings include seminars, team meetings, conferences, panel presentations, coalition
meetings, informal receptions, etc.
(1) Participate in seminar discussion and peer critique.
(2) Identify your role in external meetings.
(3) Time your intervention for best effect (e.g., when you speak up, how much you speak).
(4) Polish diplomacy skills (e.g., establishing a professional tone when criticizing someone’s
point of view, criticizing someone’s performance, debating sensitive topics, etc.).
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(5) Manage differences when working in groups.
e. Meet ethical standards.
(1) Comply with:
(a) The Student Code of Professional Responsibility and Annex (Law Center Bulletin)
(b) D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct (all students are provided a copy)
(2) Evaluation note: Standards of professional conduct could also be relevant to other skill
sets. If you violate a rule of professional conduct, it will affect your grade. A violation
does not average out or diminish simply because it occurs early in the academic year.
2. Research and Analysis
a. Define the problem.
(1) Define the problem or question as presented by your client or as it appears to the public.
(2) As necessary, define a more specific legal or policy question that you must analyze.
(3) As you begin, state your “approach” – a tentative answer that you test or a theory of
change that you develop.
b. Identify and apply one or more analytic methods.
A method entails a name (e.g., “preemption analysis”) and provides the logical steps or
sequence of questions for analysis. This logic guides your research and informs the outline of
your work product. For example –
(1) Legal questions –
(a) Analysis of conflict and preemption (or sanctions).
(b) Analysis of authority to make policy (sources or limits on authority).
(c) Comparative analysis of sources or limits on authority.
(d) Analysis of liability (sources or breaches of duties).
(2) Policy choices –
(a) Comparison of elements of policy alternatives.
(b) Evaluation of policy alternatives. Criteria might include –
- Administrative feasibility.
- Political feasibility and interest group positions.
- Cost – benefit.
- Fiscal impact.
- Precedents (and their success or failure).
- Risk of adverse litigation.
(3) Framework –
If you are analyzing or comparing two or more issues, use a logical framework, usually in
two dimensions (i.e., a matrix with rows and columns). Examples –
(a) Best practices (axis 1) and how they are used in a number of jurisdictions (axis 2).
(b) Types of domestic laws (axis 1) and whether they conflict with disciplines imposed by
an international agreement (axis 2).
(c) Alternative means of implementing a policy (axis 1) and how they satisfy a set of
evaluation criteria (axis 2).
c. Learn the legal and policy context efficiently.
Primary sources (statutes, treaties, case law) are essential, but they rarely provide sufficient
context. For that, you should –
(1) Use general secondary sources (e.g., treatises and restatements) to get your bearings.
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(2) Find specific secondary sources (e.g., journal articles), if they exist, to refine your
approach. Look for specialized collections or libraries (e.g., agency libraries or files or
web-based collections) including in-house documents.
(3) Seek out contact with actors in the field and potential collaborators or advisors.
d. Outline your approach.
As you do research, your analytic method should enable you to develop an outline that first
organizes your thinking and then organizes your document.
(1) Start with a rough outline of your approach to resolving the analytic problem or question.
(2) Refine your outline based on the questions or steps of your analytic method.
(3) Expand your outline as research progresses.
(4) Edit your outline based on principles of division, classification and sequence.
e. Apply your analytic method.
To a great extent, we evaluate your analysis based on the logical elements and sequence of
(1) Explain the method and the source of authority from which it derives (if doctrinal
(2) Find and compare or contrast relevant case law or policy models.
(3) Synthesize legal rules or elements of policy.
(4) Apply the rules or elements to the specific facts and law of your problem.
f. Use and cite diverse sources.
(1) Use both primary and secondary sources.
(2) Use recent as well as seminal sources.
(3) Use politically and legally balanced sources.
(4) Cite authority for facts and ideas derived from others. Use appropriate citation and
quotation form. As a default, use Bluebook style unless it is not appropriate for the
a. Writing style
(1) Meet audience needs for introductory material.
(a) Explain the purpose of the document and audience role, if there is one (e.g., to make
(b) Establish an appropriate tone to reflect the purpose (e.g., informative vs. advocacy).
(c) Write your lead paragraphs in a way that is interesting and narrative, not technical.
(d) After your lead, explain the context for understanding the issues and analysis.
(2) Present the logic of organization.
(a) Set an appropriate length and degree of technical detail.
(b) Use the analytic outline for headings and a table of contents for long documents.
(c) Use logical graphics for headings, body text, tabulation and white space.
(d) Implement your outline with clear topic sentences for paragraphs.
(e) Use parallel structure in format and syntax to show parallel logic.
(f) Identify documents for purposes of critique through multiple drafts (e.g., author name,
file name, draft number, date and page numbers). Use the clinic style manual.
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(3) Relate the analysis to your audience.
(a) Explain your analytic method for legal questions or policy choices.
(b) Illustrate abstract concepts with graphics (e.g., a framework or Venn diagram),
examples, or stories.
(c) Provide user aids (e.g., action agendas, policy options, decision criteria) when the
value of analysis is not self-evident to the audience.
(d) Summarize complex analysis at transition points.
(4) Use appropriate style.
(a) Use plain language unless the context requires otherwise.
(b) Use a tone that is appropriate for the purpose and audience.
(5) Conclude actively.
(a) Summarize complex analysis.
(b) Address the purpose, particularly when you can guide the reader’s use of your
(1) Identify client needs to make decisions or choose among policy options.
(2) Provide options, and summarize pros and cons.
(3) Anticipate next steps.
(6) Edit your document.
(a) Follow grammar rules. (Chicago Manual of Style)
(b) Follow punctuation rules. (Chicago Manual of Style)
(c) Follow formatting rules. (Policy Clinic Style Manual)
(d) Use guidelines for clarity. (Policy Clinic Style Manual)
b. Speaking style
(1) Meet audience needs for introductory material.
(a) Explain the purpose of the presentation and audience role.
(b) As necessary, introduce yourself and your role.
(c) Explain the context for understanding the problem or legal issues.
(2) Organize the presentation logically.
(a) Identify and keep to an appropriate length.
(b) Provide a “roadmap” – an outline or agenda of the points you cover. For complex
presentations, present your roadmap in writing or text of a slide.
(3) Relate the analysis to audience needs.
(a) Show what you mean: Present abstract concepts with graphics, examples or stories.
(b) Summarize complex analysis at transition points.
(c) Provide user aids (e.g., action agendas, policy options, decision criteria) when the
value of analysis is not self-evident to the audience.
(4) Use appropriate style.
(a) Contact – Maintain eye contact with the audience; do not rely on extensive written
notes or text; take a visible position; avoid counter-productive body language.
(b) Language – Use plain language or explain terms of art; avoid habitual interruptions
(e.g., unnecessary phrases or “ums”).
(c) Tone – Use an emotional tone that is appropriate for the purpose and audience.
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(d) Sound – Use volume, pace and tone that are appropriate for the purpose, audience and
(5) Conclude actively.
(a) Reiterate your theme and purpose, including audience role.
(b) Reiterate your main argument, conclusion or theory.
(c) Invite dialogue with questions or next steps.
(d) Respond to questions without defensiveness or overstatement.
(e) Respond to questions with substantive information, but decline to respond when you
are not sure of the answer.
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Student Evaluation Summary ~ Harrison Institute Policy Clinic
Levels of student performance – Criteria for performance are listed in categories below
□ Excellent – Competent in all criteria; work requires only technical editing
□ Very good – Competent in all but a few criteria; one or two need improvement; work requires modest editing
□ Good – Competent in most criteria; several need significant improvement; work requires substantial editing
□ Adequate – Competent in some criteria; several need significant improvement; work requires revision
□ Not adequate – Meets few criteria; many need significant improvement; requires substantial revision
Planning and accountability □ Excellent □ Very good □ Good □ Adequate □ NA
□ □ x □ □ Manage supervision meetings
□ □ x □ □ Clarify strategy & desired results
□ □ x □ □ Manage effort & deadlines
□ □ x □ □ Fulfill role in groups
□ □ x □ □ Meet ethical standards
Research and analysis □ Excellent □ Very good □ Good □ Adequate □ NA
□ □ x □ □ Define the problem
□ □ x □ □ Identify analytic methods
□ □ x □ □ Learn context efficiently
□ □ x □ □ Outline your approach
□ □ x □ □ Apply analytic method
□ □ x □ □ Use/cite diverse sources
Communication □ Excellent □ Very good □ Good □ Adequate □ NA
□ □ x □ □ Meet audience needs (intro)
□ □ x □ □ Present logic of organization
□ □ x □ □ Relate analysis to audience
□ □ x □ □ Use appropriate style
□ □ x □ □ Conclude actively
□ □ x □ □ Edit your document
□ □ x □ □ Meet audience needs (intro)
□ □ x □ □ Organize presentation logically
□ □ x □ □ Relate analysis to audience
□ □ x □ □ Use appropriate style
□ □ x □ □ Conclude actively
Weekly Meeting Template
Harrison Institute Policy Clinic
1. Meeting management
□ Student agenda
□ Student time sheet
2. Work in progress
□ Progress on research / analysis
□ Collaboration with other students
□ Supervisor comments
3. Project planning
□ Deadline management
□ Next client meeting / expectation
□ External events or contact
□ Project goals and objectives
□ Accountability issues
□ Student participation / presentation
□ Relevance of previous seminar
□ Assignment for previous seminar
□ Assignment for next seminar
5. General evaluation
□ Student work
□ Clinic operations
Comments on Presentation Style Presenter
Harrison Institute for Public Law – Policy Clinic Evaluator
Topic ___________________________________ Time from to
Introduce purpose / theme
Introduce self / role
Main body & analysis
Show what you mean:
Frame of analysis
Frame of choices
Flow of logic
Quality of visuals:
Minimize data ink
Responses to questions
Contact & visibility
Language – jargon
Language – habits
Pace & tone
Editing Audit Harrison Institute for Public Law
Document Topic _____________________________ Date ___________________
Purpose Note page of occurrence – successive drafts
Intro purpose or theme
Outline, logical format
Abstract / examples
Citations / cite form
Legal language, jargon
Hyphen / dash