Lawyers are counselors, too: Social workers can train lawyers to more effectively counsel clients

  • Stephanie K. Boys Indiana University
  • Carrie A. Hagan Indiana University
  • Valerie Voland Indiana University
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Education, Transdisciplinary Education, Social Work Practice Skills


Attorneys new to practice often find themselves completely unprepared to assist emotionally distraught clients. Traditional law school curricula do not mandate coursework on how to interview clients or how to involve clients in the representation plan. The knowledge, values, and skills taught in schools of social work can be useful tools to address many common challenges faced by lawyers. The authors argue for transdisciplinary education in which social work educators teach courses in law schools. Systems theory, cultural competence, and the strengths perspective are used as examples of practice approaches that could greatly enhance the services provided to clients seeking legal services.

Author Biographies

Stephanie K. Boys, Indiana University
Assistant Professor of Social Work
Carrie A. Hagan, Indiana University
Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Valerie Voland, Indiana University
Doctoral student of social work