Using a Wiki for Collaboration Between Practitioners, Professors, and Students


This week my class discussed different forums available for our use on a collaborative project (TWEN, Googledocs, wikis, and Facebook).  We also discussed Questions Presented, a topic I will write more about in March after we complete our briefs.

In his article, Public Interest Research, Collaboration, and the Promise of Wikis, Tom Cobb describes how his team-taught class used a wiki to design materials intended to advance representation of people with the disability of "compulsive hoarding and cluttering" in landlord-tenant disputes.  The Northwest Justice Project, a legal services office, provided the problem and relevant materials with which to start.  After extensive and exhaustive research, the class was able to draft a desk book for legal professionals, educational materials for family members and landlords, a lobbyist's guide, and two articles.  The class appears to have been a great way to combine legal writing and clinical education and to make use of an interesting technology.

Cobb has also taught an advanced legal writing class that functioned as a "research wing" for three clinics.  In that class, the students prepared a litigation guide for post-conviction cases, drafted a comprehensive desk book analyzing the Washington Supreme Court's approach to statutory construction, and occasionally performed research related to the clinic's ongoing litigation.

The article contains other interesting information and ideas that professors, students, and practitioners interested in collaboration will doubtlessly enjoy reading.