Participating in the Juvenile Justice Clinic was a nice way to make an impact on the community here in Michigan, and to help youth who are going through hard times and making tough decisions. To fill the role of their attorney is incredibly empowering, it's a lot of responsibility, and it's something that really brings home the gravity of being an attorney.
—Beth Kerwin, 'll
"The Clinic allowed me to dive into the important and rewarding work of representing juvenile clients, pushing myself to develop as a lawyer while feeling fully supported at all turns. The intellectual and personal challenges were ones I could not find in the classroom, and became integral to my time at Michigan."
"The Juvenile Justice Clinic revealed that diligent client service is personally fulfilling. It was inspiring to receive my clients' trust, and that motivated me to spend long hours handling client matters. Simultaneously, Professors Kim Thomas and Frank Vandervort emphasized ethical issues bearing on client interests, thus imparting a client-centric paradigm. The experience was invaluable."
"In the Clinic, you realize there are all of these skills involved in lawyering that you don't think about during your first year of law school when you're taking doctrinal classes. Communication skills, interpersonal skills, negotiating—these sorts of things are really central to being a lawyer. Having the opportunity to combine the legal skills you're learning with the other skills you've already acquired before or during law school, really helps you to put it all together and learn what it's like to be a lawyer."
"As a first-year associate, I regularly interact with pro bono clients who have the same issues and concerns as the clients in the Clinic. The Clinic provided me with the skills and confidence to be both a zealous advocate and a trusted counselor to my clients in their hour of need."
"More than any other experience in law school, working in the Juvenile Justice Clinic provided me with skills and training that I put to use on the job at my firm. I am constantly thinking back to our lessons on client interactions, attorney-client privilege, and admissibility. Prof. Kim Thomas helped me develop a method and structure for thinking through client-based problems that I have often put to use on the job."
"The Juvenile Justice Clinic taught me the importance of collaboration, through working with my partner and professors, and engaging in class discussions. Now, I often write draft opinions in a similar manner, through discussions with my co-clerks and judge. Recognizing the importance of collaboration makes our chambers more cohesive."