Real Cases. Real Experience.
Left to Right: Clinic Students Happy Rahman, Alia Derrick and Mary Dear
Photography: Mark Rutkowski
“The Community Development Clinic was the best experience I've had in law school thus far. Prior to participating, I had begun to feel uncertain about whether I wanted to practice law and was researching alternate career paths. The Clinic provided me with the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience that made me realize that I wanted to be a lawyer after all. I appreciated the large amount of client contact we were afforded as well as the amount of responsibility we were given. Although this area of law was entirely new to me, the clinic professors provided us with the guidance and support I needed to not feel overwhelmed. I also appreciated that each of my cases involved entirely different legal issues and required a variety of work product. While this was a bit of a challenge because each case involved a lot of individual research, I feel that I gained a wide range of experience, from drafting transactional documents to learning about title issues and different forms of legal entities.
“One of my favorite cases involved working with a group of community leaders who were interested in forming a nonprofit organization to address housing issues in their community. My clinic partner and I primarily provided them with education and information on various types of nonprofit organizations and the process of formation. However, it was interesting to see what an impact this education had on the assertiveness of the community leaders. While at the beginning of the semester most of them seemed reluctant to participate in our meetings and hesitant to ask questions, by the end of the semester many were taking an active role in the meetings and overall seemed much more confident. It was nice to see that transactional lawyering is more than just writing contracts and making deals; a lot of it, at least from a client-centered approach, involves providing our clients with the necessary knowledge base so that they are able to have an active and lasting role in bettering their situation.”
—Alexa Bertinelli, ’11
“Wherever my future law practice takes me, my clients and colleagues will be lucky to benefit from the skills I have learned in the Community Development Clinic.”
—Susannah Volpe, ’10
“As a student planning to practice transactional law after graduation, the Community Development Clinic allowed me to gain hands on experience, while also making a meaningful, positive impact in the community. I have no doubt that my future practice will be greatly enhanced by the work I completed during the Clinic.”
—Michael Hamilton, ’08
“The clinic is a great way of learning transactional lawyering, and the client contact that it provides helps make the work meaningful. This was a unique opportunity for me to gain experience in transactional work while helping small businesses and nonprofits in low-income areas.”
—Happy Rahman, ’07
“The clinic prepares you extensively for real world transactional practice.”
—Alia Derrick, ’07