Participating in a Clinic at BU

When I told my parents I wanted to go to law school, they were not exactly on board.  They envisioned litigators and dramatic courtroom scenes that they had seen on television and in the movies, and could not picture their shy daughter doing such a thing.  If anyone asked me when I first began my law school career if I wanted to go into litigation, my answer was undoubtedly, “Definitely not!”  I was always quiet and very reserved, so the thought of going into a courtroom and arguing for a client terrified me.  BU’s Civil Litigation Program, however, has completely changed my mind and my outlook.

I was anxious to even register for the Employment Rights Clinic because my internship experiences had not afforded me the opportunity to work directly with clients and I was worried that I would not be ready for a real world lawyering situation.  I was completely wrong.  While I am well aware of how far I still have to go, I am confident in how much BU has prepared me for my career.

I had my first hearing for the Employment Rights Clinic at the Department of Unemployment Administration earlier this month.  My supervising attorney, who is a professor at BU, Naomi Mann, was with me every step of the way in preparing for my hearing.  The professors, whom you form great relationships with, guide you and are there for you if you need help with anything.  While I was extremely nervous going into the hearing, I felt very prepared.  I had the opportunity to meet with my client several times in order to interview her to get the facts of her case, as well as to prepare her for direct- and cross-examinations.  I also wrote an open file memo as well as a closing memo.

The hearing went even better than I expected.  While there were a few things I would have changed looking back on the hearing, I am very pleased with myself and came out of the hearing feeling confident and happy.  I received extremely helpful feedback from my supervising attorney and now we are awaiting a decision from the Department of Unemployment Administration.

I would recommend that every law student participate in a clinic at least one semester while at BU, even if you do not think that litigation is for you.  You will not only develop your interpersonal skills and be able to gain experience working with a client and actually argue cases, but you will also be able to continue to develop your research and writing skills.  Students get the opportunity to work with clients who may not be able to afford legal counsel otherwise, so it feels great to be able to give back and help those who may be less fortunate.  The experience is extremely valuable and you will come out of it feeling more confident.

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