Extracurricular: Clinics

So it's been a while since I've posted...I had full intentions to post this summer, but time got away from me. I'm gonna pick up right where I left off and continue my series on Extracurriculars for 2Ls and 3Ls. Clinics are a great way to get hands on experiential learning and feel like you are making a difference in your community.

Clinics are typically run by a law school faculty member or professor who has a passion in the particular area in which the clinic does work. Some common areas are mediation, veterans work, domestic violence, and entrepreneurship. Most law schools have a least one, and usually more, clinic. Often times, clinics will provide services to people who may otherwise not be able to afford or access legal services.

Who participates in clinic work? While clinics are usually limited to 2Ls and 3Ls, there may not be any other requirements. Some clinics, like the one I am involved with, may require a class pre-requisite before you can participate. Others don't. Any student who wants to get involved in a clinic, usually can, and should. Even if you don't have an interest in the particular area, a clinic a good way to get hands on legal experience and to do good in the community.

Why participate in clinic work? Clinics are a great way to grow legal skills while still in law school. They can also provide skills in an area that you may not otherwise get the chance to work in. I don't plan on having a career in mediation, but by participating in a mediation clinic, I am able to be skilled in mediating and add it to my resume. Certain clinics will allow you to gain a wide variety of skills including client communication, drafting motions, or even representing a client in court (under the supervision of an attorney). Another great reason to participate in clinics is because you get to make a difference in the community. As previously mentioned, many clinics provide services to those who may not otherwise have access to legal services, so clients really appreciate the work the clinics do. If the clinic works closely with clients, you may even be able to see how the clinic can help them. Anything that increases access to justice to those who may not be able to otherwise access it helps our society as a whole.

One downfall to working in a clinics is that it can be time consuming, depending on the clinic. Some clinics may require hours of work a week and may even require more hours than you can get credit for. The work may also be emotionally challenging too. However, many people, myself included, feel that these are small prices to pay for the good the clinic does- for both the students involved and the clients served.


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