What You Can Gain From A High-Quality Law School Clinic
Law clinics offer two main benefits. On the one hand, law students can apply their knowledge into the real world to make a difference. On the other, underrepresented clients can receive legal services for little to no money.
In a recent article for U.S. News, Ilana Kowarski, a reporter, talks to a number of experts who explain how law students can gage the strength of a school’s law clinic.
High-Quality Law Clinics
“In a law clinic, you’re doing everything that a real lawyer does under supervision, along with getting classes and trainings,” Aliza Kaplan, a professor and director of the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School, tells U.S. News.
According to Kaplan, a high-quality law clinic gives students the opportunity to directly communicate with clients and substantial work experiences that give students the confidence to practice the law.
“Many clinics have no real clients,” Paul Mitassov, a Toronto-based lawyer and the owner of Paul Mitassov Law, tells U.S. News. “These are more accurately called seminars and workshops. Seminars and workshops can be useful. But you are looking for a clinic. Make sure to get one.”
Pro Bono Work Through Clinics
For instance, as we reported previously, the University of Michigan Law School offers 17 clinics that emphasize both practical and interdisciplinary skills. Through these programs, students can help entrepreneurs launch businesses or work alongside global human rights organizations to stop human trafficking.
Kaplan tells U.S. News that this type of pro bono legal works can inspire students to see how their legal training can have a positive influence on society.
In addition, high-quality clinics give students the opportunity to take part in multiple legal cases to get an understanding of what a typical case is like, according to Mitassov.
“This air of reality is invaluable in keeping a student grounded,” Mitassov tells U.S. News.
Sources: U.S. News, Tipping the Scales