The field work segment of this course will begin after the instructor emails your fieldwork attorney informing him or her of the placement and the fieldwork requirements (including attachment of a blank Fieldwork Agreement); this email will be copied to you.
This report will be worth 40% of your final course grade.
Format: Double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman, one inch margins on all sides. 10 - 20 pages. The grade will be reduced if the paper is less than 10 pages long; if longer than 20 pages, the grade will only be based on the first 20 pages. Number your pages and begin on page one without a separate cover sheet. Please submit in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, or Rich Text Format. Please title your text file: S13-FieldReport-[Name]. (For example, if Professor Cunningham submitted a paper in Word Perfect, the text file would be named S13-FieldReport-Cunningham.wpd.) Repeated errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar may affect your grade. You should write with the same care you would put into a memo to a law firm partner or a brief filed with a court.
When you receive a copy of the email from the instructor to the field placement attorney schedule an initial meeting with your field placement attorney at which you and the attorney will agree on and sign the Fieldwork Agreement . Make sure you print and bring two copies of the Fieldwork Agreement to that meeting; complete and sign both giving one copy to the lawyer and retaining the other to give the instructor. During this first conversation, please also discuss the confidentiality of your report and the attorney’s right to review the report and issues of attorney-client privilege and confidentiality (discussed further below). This meeting can also satisfy the requirement of an initial in-person interview. After the initial interview, you must complete at least one follow up visit focusing on one or two areas that you would like to learn more about (e.g. observation of an initial client interview or a client development activity -- observing the lawyer in court is usually not that useful).
If at any point during your fieldwork you find that your field placement attorney is unable to meet the agreed-upon deadlines, it is your responsibility to let Professor Cunningham know immediately.
Attorney-client privilege and confidentiality:
During your first conversation with your field placement attorney, you will need to discuss protocols for ensuring the preservation of attorney-client privilege and confidentiality. The draft privilege/ confidentiality agreement appears at the end of the Fieldwork Agreement. Because this is an issue of tremendous importance to your attorney and his or her clients, please be prompt and thorough in responding to any attorney requests regarding privilege and confidentiality.
Guidelines for final report:
Your field report should be accurate and interesting to read. In addition to providing a description of the realities of your attorney’s practice, your report should answer the following questions, with reference to specific examples and quotations drawn from your field work. Although your fieldwork is your primary resource for answering these questions, the answers should be the result of your own analysis of that fieldwork, not simply a repetition of the opinions of the fieldwork attorney.
1. In metro Atlanta in 2013 what is it like to be a solo practitioner or a member of a small firm?
2. What does it take to start and sustain a small firm or solo practice?
3. What knowledge, skills, and professional qualities should a law student aim to acquire to prepare for entry into small firm or solo practice?
4. How can law school better assist law students to acquire such knowledge, skills and professional qualities?
You have freedom to structure your field report as you find most effective. For example, you do not need separately titled sections for each question as long as the paper as a whole adequately addresses all four questions.