Graduates, Current Students Speak Out on WVU College of Law Clinical Law Program | New

CLARKSBURG, Va. (WV News) – Former and current students of WVU College of Law say the clinical law program is an indispensable part of the curriculum.

Denali Hedrick, 25, a graduate of WVU College of Law, came to Seneca Rocks College of Law. The 2021 graduate lives and works in Charleston. She worked at the Litigation and Defense Law Clinic during her third year in law school.






Hedrick




Despite the normal anxieties of practicing for the first time, looking back on my last year, Law College prepared me well for practical advocacy in the Litigation Clinic. The degree requires you to take various procedural, doctrinal, and writing courses during your first two years of study. By the time I worked at the clinic in Year 3, I was ready and excited to help my “own” clients. [Charles R.] DiSalvo and preparing for the Lugar trial competitions with my classmates and excellent litigators. The network of brilliant law professors upstairs, who are always ready to consult with clinicians on any complex matter, has also been a great resource. …

My biggest takeaways were in the fundamentals of the lawyer. While I had worked for two summers in a large law firm and learned so much from these experiences, I learned a lot about the lawyer-client relationship by having my “own” clients. Daily communication and counseling with clients is necessarily more practical throughout the clinical experience, as is advocacy. I have had the opportunity to interview clients, take depositions, bicker with opposing counsel, argue in hearings and prepare my own litigation strategy. I learned all about filing in several counties in West Virginia, a very important thing that law school can’t really teach you. The real importance of something law school taught me, namely to always be grateful and respectful to every office administrator, was very clear. …

I worked in two clinics during my last year of law school, the General Litigation Clinic and the Supreme Court Clinic. One of my professors at the Supreme Court Clinic recommended me and helped me land my next job as a federal court clerk for the judge. [Joseph R.] Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia. After my internship, I hope to practice as a litigator, where I know I will use the skills I have started to develop in the clinic every day.

Jordan Dishong, 24, a graduate of WVU College of Law, is from Lexington, Kentucky. Dishong works in the Harrison County Public Defender’s Office in Clarksburg.






Jordan Dishong

Dishong




Law school certainly gave me the knowledge I needed about the legal aspect of the work I was going to do in a clinical setting. Basic Law School courses taught me about law, how to spot problems and how to write a comprehensive legal document. However, nothing in the classroom can really prepare you for interacting with clients in a criminal justice environment or for how and when to file a case in court. That’s what I learned at the West Virginia Innocence Project Clinic. I gained real world experience and more “real life” legal skills. …

First and foremost, I learned to interact with incarcerated clients and their families. I have learned to treat our clients with the respect and dignity they deserve. Plus, I’ve learned that listening to our clients’ stories and understanding their needs is often more important to them than anything I can do in a courtroom. I also learned how each court system works both at the state and federal levels – the local rules and the nuances of each court. …

I have been fortunate enough to have a wide variety of law school experiences (i.e. other internships like the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of West Virginia and the Office of the Harrison County Public Defender). These internships, combined with the West Virginia Innocence Project clinic, all also prepared me to step out and be the best advocate I can be for needy clients.

Holly Nye, 25, a third year student, grew up in Hartsgrove, Ohio. This summer, she worked as a paralegal for Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis LPA in Cleveland, a mid-sized firm providing a full range of legal services to individuals and businesses of all sizes. She will work at the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic during the next academic year.

I seek to apply the conceptual knowledge I gained over the last two years of law school to real world scenarios. It’s one thing to read about case law and assumptions in a classroom setting, but it’s a different experience to see how these concepts fit into real client situations. As such, I also hope to continue to hone my legal writing and drafting skills while providing services to local clients. …






Holly nye

Nyé


Around the WVU and Morgantown community, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Legal Clinic has a reputation for making a positive impact, both for students and for clients. Previous employers, as well as older law students, have both informed me that WVU’s clinical program is incredibly rewarding and provides an unparalleled academic experience. …

I know without a doubt that the time I spend in this clinic will have an impact on the type of lawyer I will one day become. Having the chance to serve the West Virginia community while building my legal skills will help me prepare for the next step in my career after graduation.

Third-year student Dan Granfield, 27, is from West Haven, Connecticut. He lived in the District of Columbia over the summer, where he interned with the Department of Justice in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division. He will work at the Immigration Law Clinic in 2021-2022.

I’m finally looking to put everything I’ve learned so far and apply it to actual practice. The experience offered by the clinic may not necessarily be replicated in a classroom setting, and I am delighted to take on my own clients and practice as a supervised lawyer. In doing so, not only will I get a feel for life as a lawyer, but I will develop the confidence I can bring to my job after graduation. …






Dan Granfield

Granfield




One of the first questions most students ask about clinics is what supervisory staff look like, and every student I asked had nothing but good things to say about professors and lawyers. supervisors involved. Being in charge of real cases can make a newcomer nervous, so it was a relief to hear how much the students appreciated those who helped them. However, more often than not what students discuss about their time is the importance of their work to them. Many students end up working for very worthy causes and helping many of our vulnerable neighbors along the way. Not only does everyone consider it a great practical experience, but it is very meaningful work that has a great impact. …

I think joining the Immigration Law Clinic is a crucial step in preparing for the real world. I will have an advantage over other new lawyers who have not used their school clinic because I will have the confidence and experience to be more independent. Regarding the Immigration Law Clinic specifically, immigration law is not easy to learn on your own. On the contrary, the best way to learn to be an immigration lawyer is to experience it, and that is what excites me the most. When someone’s livelihood is at stake, you must be prepared for whatever the situation calls for. Practicing this through the clinic will help with this.

Zoey Vilasuso, 25, a third year student, is from Morgantown. She worked this summer at Childlaw Services Inc. in Princeton and will be working at the Child and Family Advocacy Clinic in 2021-2022.

We do a lot of work with family courts, we deal with divorce, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and I think some work with housing and things like that. It’s only for the third year, but I’m really involved in public interest lawyers in law school, so I did this kind of work for my summer experiences. …

We basically train with our Supreme Court rules 10. We are therefore licensed to practice and give legal advice under the direction of a supervisor who is a licensed lawyer. It’s a lot of hands-on experience, getting to represent clients at hearings, drafting court documents, all kinds of things really. I think it’s kind of like the icing on the cake: you learn so much in law school, but now we’re starting to actively do it – see what we’ve learned. …

It’s not the same for every clinic, but I know mine and a few others last 14 hours for the whole year. It is a seven credit course. So I’m taking two more classes with it, but that will personally take the majority of my time. …

I hear incredible things about it. I know all of my colleagues this summer did exactly the clinic I’ll be in, so it’s also a cool way to connect with lawyers across the state.

Samuel Burkhardt, 25, a third year student at WVU College of Law, is from Lyndhurst, New Jersey. He worked this summer at Sarmasti PLLC in Fairfield, New Jersey, and Sammons, Olivero & Paraschos in Huntington. He will work at the Litigation and Defense Law Clinic for 2021-2022.






Samuel Burkhardt

Burkhardt




I think this is a great opportunity to really use the skills we’ve learned in our courses and apply them to underserved people in West Virginia. And it really gives us a great opportunity to put into practice the skills we’ve learned in courses like Advocacy and Professional Responsibility, and to really be able to sit down and empathize with these people based on their lived experiences. And having the opportunity to do it for individuals in West Virginia is a great experience. It is amazing to be able to give back to the community in which we live. …

An information session was held last year. I’m a member of the Law Review, and there were a number of people who were on the Law Review last year who had experience in the clinic, and they really said it was a great opportunity. not only to serve the people in the West Virginia community, but to really start honing the skills we learned in law school and really … aligns in a way that is conducive to professional development. …

Along with the clinic, I will also be in three other classes. So it will be a bit heavy, especially with Law Review. But I think after working all summer and having the opportunity to do this kind of work in the past in clerkships and internships, I think it will definitely be manageable.

Comments are closed.