Publication Title

Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing


collaboration, hoarding, wikis

Document Type



One of my central goals in teaching law is to help students find ways to apply their emerging analytical powers and professional skills to promote the public interest.A related goal is to create an engaging learning experience in which students see each other—and other members of the legal community—as key resources in their education.

To help accomplish these goals, I have been formally and informally collaborating with clinics—the traditional home of public interest law and collaborative learning in most law schools— to find ways to infuse my legal writing classes with clinical methods and values. This article describes a class for first-year law students addressing a pressing legal and social problem—compulsive hoarding and cluttering leading to eviction from the home.

The class involved extensive collaboration and was largely student-driven. I served as a facilitator but the students were the primary agents and, as a group, they were responsible for setting the agenda and constructing solutions. A reference librarian and former teaching assistant joined the class to provide research suggestions and other guidance. The class used a wiki to post and discuss their findings, making it a truly collaborative project.



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