Power dynamics play a role in all workplace relationships and are of particular significance in field placement programs where such dynamics can have an impact on the learning opportunities for law students. This article examines power issues in relation to supervision of law students. The article begins by exploring the parameters of the problem through examples, and then examines the potential consequences of failing to address such issues in field placement programs, including ethical ramifications. Faculty in field placement programs, who generally are not responsible for client work product, have a unique opportunity to address power and supervision issues with students and supervising attorneys. The goal of field placements is to equip students to fully exploit opportunities in the programs, and to prepare them for workplace issues they may face in the legal workplace. The article contains extensive suggestions for teaching about power in each phase of field placement programs, in hopes of enabling students, faculty and supervisors to identify and address problems of power and supervision and to maximize student learning.
Robert F. Seibel & Nancy M. Maurer, Addressing Problems of Power and Supervision in Field Placements, 17 CLINICAL L. REV. 145 (2010).