Students enrolled in the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic during the academic year receive their JD degrees in May, but the work of the clinic continues over the summer. During the summer of 2022, the clinic hired eight law clerks, including spring start and rising 2L and 3L students. Students were tasked with helping the faculty teach, as well as representing clients in the appellate, community development, first amendment, health, human trafficking and reentry clinics. The students were given a wide range of responsibilities, including interviewing and counseling clients, attending court hearings, drafting motions, reviewing discovery and meeting with potential clients at shelters.
"The Kramer Law Clinic provides an opportunity for law students to practice lawyering skills like client interviewing and counseling, engage in pre-trial practice such as discovery review, hone legal analysis and writing skills and help clients who can't otherwise afford an attorney, all under the careful supervision of clinic faculty,” said Sarah Polly, managing attorney at the Kramer Law Clinic. “Plus, our summer externs create close bonds with one another and with their supervisors in what is a very supportive and welcoming environment."
A few of the 2L students were eager to share their experiences working in the clinic.
“The highlight of my summer was working directly with clients, and feeling like the work I did provided necessary help to them. A couple of experiences really stood out—At the start of the summer, I prepared a client for her hearing for a Civil Protective Order (CPO), and then attended the court hearing where the CPO was granted. Towards the end of the summer, I was able to successfully work with a client who is a survivor of human trafficking and with a prosecutor to have a case with an open warrant dismissed. After my first year of law school, being able to provide help to those who needed it, and to even get some results in the short time period in which I worked at the Kramer Law Clinic, truly reinforced my decision to pursue a legal career.”
“My summer working at the Kramer Law Clinic was an enriching experience. At the beginning of the summer, I was not exactly sure what practice area I wanted to pursue, so I deeply appreciated the opportunity to work in the different clinics. Some of my favorite projects included working on motions for expungements, discovery, attending appointments in the community with clients and conducting outreach at local shelters. The faculty allowed me a lot of leeway in that I had my own caseload of clients, and I believe that having that independence helped me to grow as an individual and professional. I highly recommend other law students try working at the Kramer Law Clinic at least once during their time at the law school because the experience is so fruitful!”
“My time at the clinic was extremely rewarding. I received amazing support from my supervising attorneys and gained mentors who will help guide me in the future. From solo client meetings to writing formal court documents, my lack of knowledge in the area never hindered me because I knew I had supervisors to catch me if I stumbled. I never for a second felt alone or lost.
On top of my support system, the peers I worked with were amazing. My summer would not have been the same if it weren’t for the clinic, and although my time in our frozen student work room in the clinic (too much air conditioning!) made me wonder if it was even summer, I wouldn’t change the experience for the world.”
“Of all the skills I strengthened this summer, the one I most developed would have to be client counseling. While I had worked on this skill as a 1L in Legal Writing, Leadership, Experiential Learning, Advocacy and Professionalism (LLEAP), I had never counseled clients in the real world. At the beginning of the summer, I took more of a “back seat” during client interviews and took notes. However, by the end of my experience, I was able to sit down one-on-one with clients and conduct meaningful and thorough interviews. I learned what questions to ask and how to have a productive conversation with a client. I also learned how to counsel an emotionally distressed client, and a client that is somewhat reluctant to give details on his or her history or disability. While working at this externship, I also developed and strengthened several professional relationships.
The Kramer Law Clinic will accept applications for Summer 2023 Law Clerks in the spring.