Saturday, March 1, 2008

Practicing Law AND Giving Back

I'm finishing up the second part of a year long class this year, it's atually a clinic. Our class is a mix of law AND business students and we team up and get assigned a REAL client. I know I'm partial, but I think my business student partner and I have the best client- a single mom of three who runs an international beer and wine retail store!

The nature of the clinic is that we all help enterpreneurs who are below a certain income level to live out their dreams, start up and run their business successfully and hopefully provide them with greater income in the near future. This is such an awesome clinc. I only get 4 credits for this year long class even though clinic work usually eats up ten hours a week outside of our three hour long class (during which my "morning" sickness always strikes in full force). For this reason, I have a love-hate relationship with the clinic, but I really am learning so much and I really enjoy advising my client.

By the end of the clinic, I will have so much more legal experience, I can't believe how much I have learned already about the practice of law and the law itself. One thing I learned: in my state, if you get hit by a drunk driver who just bought beer, you can sue the store for damages. Hopefully I'll help our client limit her liability. Through this clinic I took up another amazing opportunity- I volunteered to help one of the past clinic clients write a funding bill for their organization. This is a bill that one of our state senators will be sponsoring!

The best part of this clinic and related oportunities is that in addition to building my resume, I will be getting all kinds of hands on experience in practicing law AND I'll be helping the community! This is why I got into law in the first place.

I have to admit that this semester I have been feeling depressed about the lack of opportunities and the legal job outlook in my area. It seems that if you aren't in the top 15% of your class, you're left with nothing. The law schools in my city are pumping out more graduates than there are legal jobs. So firms can be picky and us "average" students get stuck with whatever is left over.

This clinic is boosting my self esteem and hopefully my chances of getting a job when I graduate.


PT-LawMom said...

Yay! Practical, applicable knowledge is always a good thing. :)

Law Student Hot Mama said...

I kind of think ALL of law school should be a clinic. Just skip the class parts.