Kenneth R. Margolis
Professor; Director of the CaseArc Integrated Lawyering Skills Program; Associate Dean for Experiential Education
"No modern law school can claim to offer a complete legal education unless sufficient resources are put into its lawyering skills program. At CWRU we have made a major and continuing commitment to teaching students how to be excellent practitioners. This begins in the first two years of law school through our innovative CaseArc Integrated Lawyering Skills Program. In the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic, third year students are given the exciting opportunity to represent real clients in actual legal disputes, transactions and planning processes. They learn to apply the principles and skills they learned in their other courses to help actual clients solve their real legal problems. In the U.S. Attorney and City of Cleveland Law Department Externships, my students are placed with excellent government attorneys and are able to learn about these important agencies from the inside. As a faculty supervisor, I work hard to give my students a feel for the awesome responsibilities lawyers undertake - to take independent but well-thought out positions, to strive to provide real value to clients, and to act with courage and resolve in a system which at times can be hostile and unforgiving. I always try to be available to help when the inevitable crises in confidence, anxiety and uncertainty occur, even with the best lawyering. And when my students succeed, I think it's important to celebrate - so I encourage them to do that too!"In my article, Responding to the Value Imperative: Learning to Create Value in the Attorney-Client Relationship, 5 Clin. L. Rev. 117 (1998), I argue that contemporary lawyers must provide their clients with legal services their clients consider valuable. Regardless of whether high quality services are provided from the professional's point of view, those services have "value" only if they have improved a client's situation or solved a client's problem from the perspective of that client.
In the model I present, value is described as a client's perception of the benefits received measured against the sacrifices incurred from the legal services provided. The more benefits exceed sacrifices, the greater the value perceived by the client. The paper also suggests it is possible (and desirable) to "create" value in the attorney-client relationship. A lawyer can understand and affect her client's perceptions, and engage in acts which will exceed the client's expectations about the benefits received and sacrifices incurred from the relationship. Skillful counseling and context-based decisionmaking at pivotal "value points" can make the difference between a client who perceives her lawyer's services as valuable and one who does not. If a lawyer effectively manages the attorney-client relationship and the legal services provided, her client perceives the benefits received as greater than the sacrifices incurred. When this happens, the lawyer has created value for her client which will lead to high levels of client satisfaction with the attorney's services and the legal system.