LEARNING BY DOING LAW CLINICS
Hands on, helping others
An infant with several older siblings born to a mother with heroin addiction. A 19-year-old client locked out of the house and asking for assistance with the transition to independence. An eight-year-old child whose grandparents are requesting visits while the child’s father is in prison.
These are a few of the recent cases handled by Loyola University Chicago’s Civitas ChildLaw Clinic. Like Loyola’s numerous other clinics and practica, the childlaw clinic provides students with valuable practical training serving real clients under the supervision of clinical faculty members.
Clinics have long been a popular choice with Loyola law students. The school’s first clinic, the Community Law Center, was founded in the early 1980s, and clinic offerings have grown as Loyola heightened its prominence in child law, health law, and other specialty areas. Since the law school significantly revised its curriculum several years ago to require substantial experiential learning credits, more students than ever are enrolling in clinics—and the clinics are continually creating new practica, programs, and initiatives to meet changing community needs.
‘As a student clinician I've gained invaluable lawyering skills—from filing motions to stepping up on my first cases—all under the supervision of a faculty expert in my field."— JAMES NAUGHTON, CHILDLAW CLINIC STUDENT
With the legal employment market increasingly demanding practical skills of its new hires, Loyola’s clinics serve a key role in helping new graduates hit the ground running in their first jobs. Employers “always point to Loyola’s breadth of clinical experience as a wonderful training ground for their attorneys,” says Michael Kaufman, dean of the School of Law.
“Students who have worked in a Loyola clinic understand what it means to deal with an actual—not hypothetical—legal situation. They understand that real problems are complex, nuanced, and most effectively approached from a multidimensional perspective,” Kaufman adds. So, besides educating students in the technical aspects of practice, Loyola clinics also focus on interpersonal and service skills like interviewing, problem solving, project management, and active listening, “all of which are indispensable to solving complex human problems,” Kaufman says.
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