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Sturm College of Law


Clinical legal education, Experiential learning, Simulation model


This article offers in Part I the major sources for a possible new definition of experiential learning, and describes the limitations of the definitional elements that we currently have. Part II argues that the definitions we currently have are not only limited but their limitations are being further exposed by the growth and variety in experiential learning opportunities currently being offered in many law schools. Part III offers a new definition for experiential learning in law, together with a series of questions that can be used in applying the definition. Finally, Part IV offers application of the new definition to examples of course work that are currently being offered in law schools around the country, so that the reader can see the definition at work.

Publication Statement

Originally published as David I.C. Thomson, Defining Experiential Legal Education, 1 J. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING 1 (2015). Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.