Here are questions we hear most often. If your question is not answered here, please do contact us.
Can there be more than one client-supervisor on a project?
Each project should have only one client-supervisor assigned to it, although the students may consult with other organizational representatives , depending on the needs of the project. If the students are receiving assignments from more than one person in your organization, the client-supervisor should coordinate all assignments and be in charge of reviewing the students’ work product.
Do I need to provide the clinical students with a physical work space during the semester?
No, although they will likely make at least one site visit for their final presentation, and might visit during the semester to conduct interviews or run focus groups.
Some organizations find it useful for clinical students to work onsite. Provided your office is within a reasonable walking distance of public transportation options in the Boston area, it is fine to ask students to work at your office (note: travel time does not count towards clinical hours).
What can I expect from a clinical student?
You should assign the students responsibilities comparable to work that would be performed by a new attorney or conflict management consultant working 10 to 20 hours per week (this depends on the student’s chosen credit load for the Clinic). In addition, you should actively encourage the students to take on the most challenging work they can reasonably handle. The students should be active participants in, not just observers of, the strategic decision-making process of matters in which they are involved.
At the same time, please keep in mind that for many of our students, this will be the first time they will be working directly for a client in a professional context. Also, keep in mind that all students enrolled in our clinic are simultaneously enrolled in other Harvard Law School classes while doing their clinical work. So, while this is a primary focus of their semester, it is not their only focus.
Do I need to log the students’ clinical work hours?
No. Students track their own hours. If you suspect that a student is over-reporting his or her hours based on the amount of work product you see, you should address the matter immediately, either by speaking directly with the student, or—if you prefer—by speaking to the project’s faculty supervisor at HNMCP. Students typically will focus more on finishing the project successfully than they will on calculating the precise number of hours they work.
If, on the other hand, you suspect that a student is spending a significantly higher number of hours on his or her project than agreed upon, please let HNMCP know. In some cases we can increase the amount of credits a student receives for her/his work on a project and it helps to have independent confirmation of a high workload from the clinical-supervisor.
Can I request students with specialized skills and/or knowledge?
You may; however, we cannot guarantee that we can accommodate these requests. The only pre-requisite for participation in this course is that all students have completed the introductory negotiation course offered at the law school. That said, many students with particular knowledge of a certain subject will automatically be drawn to a project requiring those skills.
How are students assigned to a project?
Students receive a list and description of all clinical projects at the start of the semester. Students then rank their preferred projects. The clinic strives to match students with their preferences as best it can, while still ensuring appropriate staffing for each project. Whenever possible, the clinic also strives to match students’ backgrounds and substantive experiences with the needs of the project.