Bliss Presents at Clinical Conference in Australia

Lisa Bliss, associate dean of experiential education and clinical programs and co-director of the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, participated in the plenary panel at the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conference at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, in November. The conference theme was “Adding Value: How Clinics Contribute to Communities, Students and the Legal Profession.”

Lisa Bliss, Associate Dean
Experiential Education and Clinical Programs
Co-Director, HeLP Legal Services Clinic

Bliss developed the plenary session, “Supporting Students to Act Consistently with Their Values,” collaboratively with a team of law professors from the United States, Czech Republic, Italy and Australia, including Georgia State Law’s externship director, Kendall Kerew. The session was based on Mary Gentile’s book Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right.

“Gentile suggests developing and practicing scripts or plans to respond to ethical dilemmas as a way for professionals to put their values into practice,” said Bliss. The team designed and facilitated a small group exercise for teachers to help students identify their core values and explore dilemmas they may face in clinic. “By practicing, students are better able to act consistently with their values when confronted with real-life ethical dilemmas.”

Bliss also co-presented “Defining and Balancing Stakeholder Expectations to Achieve Excellence in External Clinical Legal Education Opportunities,” at the conference, drawing on her experiences within the Health Law Partnership. “It can be challenging to meet the competing needs of external partners, the institution, and students,” said Bliss. “We explored different models of external stakeholder engagement to identify the essential structures for creating an excellent clinical learning opportunity for students.”

Bliss also presented in a pre-conference workshop that considered the role of emotions in reflective practice and discussed strategies for incorporating emotional responses to a client or a case in learning.

“Learning from and sharing with international clinicians who are doing similar work has tremendous impact on our teaching and provides an excellent opportunity to examine the best current thinking about clinical pedagogy,” said Bliss. She was inspired by the Australian clinicians. “They are doing excellent empirical work on clinical education and are leading the way in research.”