"My choice to pursue law school after being out of the school environment for four years was because of my desire to do public interest work. I wanted to help women that were victims of domestic violence because domestic violence had played such a large part in my childhood. I had firsthand experience with the emotional and physical side of domestic violence, but no understanding of the legal system.
Working at the Domestic Violence Litigation Clinic allowed me to gain that real-world legal experience and confidence necessary to pursue a career in this field. At first, I was very nervous because I had never really interacted with clients or appeared in court. The first time I was scheduled to appear in court, I repeated my appearance lines a thousand times in my head.
The classes were by far the most beneficial as my experience with domestic violence slowly started to make sense. Every class I walked away with an Aha! moment. We were there to help each woman find the most comfortable solution for her. If she felt an Order of Protection would make her feel safe, then I prepared the documents. If she wanted to stay, there were safety tips that I could offer to make her feel a little more secure.
Because of the constant guidance from the supervising attorneys, I began to enjoy every step of the process. Nothing is as powerful as appreciation and words of encouragement from a supervising attorney. My Clinic experience offered me the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to advocate effectively for victims of domestic violence. The reality is I am not changing the world. But hopefully, I am changing one.”
“I found writing this reflection piece intriguing; I was so busy this year that I have not been able to sit down and take it all in. But when doing so, I was able to compare how I am now to the person who first began here eight months ago. The differences are stark. My experiences here contributed to that change.
One of my favorite things about the Domestic Violence Litigation Clinic was the variety of cases I was able to do. When I first started, I thought that the only thing I would be doing is family law. But what I didn’t understand is how many areas of the law that covers. I have worked on cases involving immigration, criminal law, divorce, along with the expected orders of protection, child and spousal support, and custody. The breadth of law that the clinical students are exposed to is extensive, which I benefited greatly from.
But the thing that I enjoyed the most is the reliance that my clients had of me. One of the first times I was in court, the court officer called me over for something, and he called me “counselor.” It was the first time I was called that. And it was the first time that I felt I was truly in charge and responsible for my clients interests and well-being. The Clinic does a great job in putting the responsibility on the students and making them feel not just involved in the cases, but to also be the driving force behind those cases.”