What made you interested taking the Community Advocacy Clinic?
I wanted to do something more hands-on and involved so I could be better prepared to actually practice. I have always been interested in legal roles that help people who are going through tough times, so it seemed like a natural fit.
Did your experience match your expectations? Why or why not?
Absolutely! The clinic was a completely different academic experience than the rest of law school. Having an opportunity to learn by doing actual client representation, where there are legitimate consequences outside of a letter grade, was a true challenge.
How did your experience in the Community Advocacy Clinic prepare you for your current job?
My current job is exactly like my role at the clinic. I work exclusively with protective orders and the cases stemming from them, so I use my clinic experience on a daily basis.
Did your experience in the clinic play any role in helping you get your first job out of law school/current job?
I am fairly certain it was the majority of the reason I got my first job. Mentorship from Professor Anna Carpenter and the ability to use her as a reference set me above the rest of the applicants for the position. It also helped that I had some hands-on experience.
What is most rewarding about your current job?
I like how many clients thank me for helping them, even if they decided to dismiss their orders or we lost at a hearing. It seems like a lot of the clients I deal with just want to be able to have their say in court before they can move on; it’s nice to be able to guide them through the process.
What did you achieve while you were a student in the Community Advocacy Clinic?
Being a clinic student my last semester of law school made me hyper-focused. Not only was I enrolled in 16 hours, but I was working through the bar application and applying for jobs. Having so little free time meant I really had no chance to procrastinate and that helped me appreciate free time more. It also allowed me to recognize, explore, and strengthen some of my weaker legal and personal areas before I went into practice.
Anything else you would like to share about the experience of being a clinic student?
The clinic gives you the ability to work collaboratively, which is everything law school teaches you NOT to do, even though actual law practice is all about working together. Lawyers are not lone wolves. Not only do you have to work with various agencies and court staff, but you have to work with attorneys within your own firm, attorneys on the opposing side, and your own client. Knowing how to collaborate with as little drama and power-tripping as possible is an amazing talent.
Any advice for soon-to-be TU graduates?
Don’t over-stress about the bar exam; both Kaplan and Barbri are very structured programs that give you ample time to maintain a life (as long as you don’t start a month late and have to cram everything in.) Also, be polite to everyone as much as possible. Just because it’s an attorney opposing you or a court officer you don’t like, it doesn’t mean you have to show it. Everybody in the legal community gossips about everybody else; don’t be the lawyer the judge’s clerks have a snide nickname for because of your attitude.