Why Do a Clinic? Highlights from One Intern’s Experience

A recent civil clinic intern described her feelings after winning an appeal:  “I felt so much pride that my work had created a positive result in someone’s life, and that I had done my best and my best had convinced the appeals board that a mistake was made… It occurred to me that grades are not everything— … no attorney has asked me what grades I made during my first year.  Moreover, no attorney has taken me aside and told me what grades they received.  Being a professional is about the people you help and the work you can do.  My experience … has shown me that I am capable of doing excellent legal writing and analysis.  I believe that I have a long way to go in my career, but I am confident that I will become a great advocate for causes that I believe in.” 

This intern initially felt the case seemed “hopeless”, with little supporting case law for the argument the supervising attorney proposed.  However, while writing the memo, the intern “… kept the client’s story and his dire need for my help in mind.”  The result of the advocacy was not only a victory for the client. The intern gained confidence, improved research and writing skills, and learned how hugely satisfying it is to do good work.