Theater and law school might not seem like a perfect fit, but one legal clinic is relying on a theatrical approach to teaching about attorney-client interviewing techniques.
Early in the school year, before University of Miami School of Law students ever see a client in the school’s Health Rights Clinic, they participate in an intense training exercise dubbed Forum Theater.
It involves students who’ve already worked in the clinic who assume roles in a play about an attorney-client intake interview. The actors play the roles of lawyer, client, translator or other helper, and a “joker” who facilitates the actor-audience collaboration. The incoming clinic students in the audience who want to change the story line can yell “stop” and replace an actor on stage when they see something gone awry for the “client” in the interaction.