Graduates, current undergraduates enroll in the WVU College of Law’s clinical law program | news

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WV News) – Past and current students at WVU College of Law say clinical law school is an essential part of the curriculum.

Denali Hedrick, 25, a graduate of WVU College of Law, joined the College of Law from Seneca Rocks. The 2021 graduate lives and works in Charleston. During her third year of law school, she worked in the Litigation and Advocacy Law Clinic.






Hedrick




Looking back on my senior year, the College of Law prepared me well for the practical legal profession in the litigation clinic, despite the usual fears of my first time as a lawyer. The degree requires that you take a variety of procedural, didactic, and written courses in the first two years of study. When I was at the clinic for my third year, I was ready and excited to help my “own” clients. The main experiences I had at the College of Law that prepared me for the clinic were litigation and litigation attorney at Professor [Charles R.] DiSalvo and preparing for Lugar litigation competitions with my classmates and great litigation attorneys. The network of brilliant upstairs law professors always ready to consult clinicians on complex issues was also a great resource. …

My biggest discoveries relate to fundamental aspects of the legal world. While I had worked for a great law firm for two summers and had learned so much from these experiences, I learned a lot about the lawyer-client relationship from my “own” clients. Communicating with and advising clients on a daily basis is necessarily more practical throughout the clinical experience, as is advocacy. I had to interview clients, make statements, argue with opposing lawyers, argue in hearings and prepare my own litigation strategy. I’ve learned all about filing in several counties of West Virginia, a very important thing that law school can’t really teach you. The real meaning of something that law school taught me, namely to always be grateful and respectful of every office administrator, was perfectly clear. …

During my last law degree, I worked in two clinics, the General Litigation Clinic and the Supreme Court Clinic. One of my professors at the Supreme Court Clinic recommended me and helped me get my upcoming job as a federal justice officer for judges [Joseph R.] Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia. After my legal clerkship, I hope to be able to practice as a litigator, where I know every day that I will apply the skills I learned in the clinic.

Jordan Dishong, 24, a graduate of WVU College of Law, is from Lexington, Kentucky. Dishong serves in the Harrison County Attorney’s Office in Clarksburg.






Jordan Dishong

Dishong




Studying law certainly gave me the knowledge I needed about the legal aspects of my work in a clinical setting. In the law school core course, I learned about the law, how to spot the problems, and how to write a comprehensive legal document. However, nothing in the classroom setting can really prepare you for how to deal with clients in a criminal justice setting, or how and when to file a complaint in court. I learned that at the West Virginia Innocence Project Clinic. I have gained hands-on experience and more “real” legal skills. …

First and foremost, I learned how to deal with imprisoned clients and their families. I’ve learned to treat our customers with the respect and dignity they deserve. I also learned that hearing our clients’ stories and understanding their needs is often more important to them than anything I could do in a courtroom. I also learned how any judicial system works at both the state and federal levels – the local rules and nuances of each court. …

I have been fortunate to gain a variety of law school experiences (ie, others with recruitment agencies such as the Office of the Northern West Virginia Federal Defender and the Office of the Harrison County Public Defender). These internships, combined with the West Virginia Innocence Project clinic, all prepared me equally to go out there and be the best indigent lawyer I can be.

Holly Nye, 25, a third year student, grew up in Hartsgrove, Ohio. This summer she worked as an attorney at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis LPA in Cleveland, a medium-sized law firm that provides a full range of legal services to individuals and businesses of all sizes. She will work in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic for the coming academic year.

I want to apply the conceptual knowledge I acquired in the last two years of law school to real-world scenarios. It’s one thing to read about jurisprudence and hypotheses in class, but seeing how those concepts fit into real customer situations is another experience. In this role, I also hope to continue improving my legal writing and drafting skills while also providing services to local clients. …






Holly Nye

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In the WVU and Morgantown community, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic has a reputation for having a positive impact on both students and customers. Both previous employers and senior law students have told me that the clinical program at WVU is incredibly rewarding and offers an academic experience like no other. …

I know without a doubt that the time I will spend in this clinic will affect the type of lawyer I will one day become. The opportunity to serve the West Virginia community while honing my legal skills will help me prepare for the next step in my career after graduation.

Dan Granfield, 27, a third year student, is from West Haven, Connecticut. He spent the summer in the District of Columbia, where he interned with the Justice Department in the Disability Rights Division of the Civil Rights Division. He will work at the Immigration Law Clinic in 2021-22.

I finally want to put into practice everything I’ve learned so far. The experiences the clinic offers are not necessarily reproducible in the classroom and I look forward to taking on my own clients and practicing as a lawyer under supervision. Not only do I get a feeling for life as a lawyer, but I also build up the self-confidence that I can bring with me to my work after graduation. …






Dan Granfield

Granfield




One of the first questions most students ask about clinics is what the supervisory staff are like, and every student I asked just had great things to say about the professors and supervising attorneys involved. Being responsible for real cases can make a newcomer nervous, so it was a relief to hear how much the students appreciated your support. Most often, however, students discuss their time, how much their work meant to them. Many of the students end up working for very good causes helping many of our vulnerable neighbors along the way. Not only is it a great hands-on experience for everyone, but very meaningful work that has a big impact. …

I think joining the Immigration Law Clinic is a critical step in preparing for the real world. I have an advantage over other new lawyers who haven’t used their school’s clinic because I have the confidence and experience to be more independent. As for the Immigration Law Clinic, immigration law is not easily self-taught. Rather, the best way to learn how to become an immigration attorney is to experience it, and that’s what I look forward to the most. When someone’s livelihood is at stake, you need to be prepared for whatever the situation calls for. Practicing through the clinic will help with this.

Zoey Vilasuso, 25, a third year student, is from Morgantown. She worked at Childlaw Services Inc. in Princeton this summer and will work at the Child and Family Advocacy Clinic from 2021-22.

We do a lot of family court work, we do divorce, we do child abuse and neglect, we do domestic violence, and I think some of us work with housing and things like that. This is only for the third year, but I really get involved in public interest advocates in law school and do this type of work for my summer experiences. …

We can basically practice with our Supreme Court Rule 10s. We are allowed to practice and give legal advice under an approved supervisor. It’s a lot of hands-on experience representing clients in hearings, writing court documents, all kinds of things really. I think it’s something like the icing on the cake: you learn so much in law school, but now we can do it actively – see what we learned. …

It’s not the same for every clinic, but I know mine and a few others have 14 hours for the whole year. It is a seven credit course. So I’m going to two more courses with it, but it’s going to take most of my time personally. …

I hear amazing things about it. I know all of my co-workers did the exact clinic I’ll be in this summer, so it’s also a cool way to connect with lawyers across the state.

Samuel Burkhardt, 25, a third-year student at WVU College of Law, is from Lyndhurst, New Jersey. He worked at Sarmasti PLLC in Fairfield, New Jersey and Sammons, Olivero & Paraschos in Huntington that summer. He will work at the Litigation and Advocacy Law Clinic from 2021-22.






Samuel Burkhardt

Burkhardt




I think it’s a great opportunity to really apply the skills we learned in our courses to underserved people in West Virginia. And it really gives us a good opportunity to practice the skills we’ve learned in courses like Trial Advocacy and Professional Responsibility and really be able to sit down and empathize with these people based on their lived experiences. And having this opportunity for individuals in West Virginia is a great experience. It is incredible to be able to give something back to the community we live in. …

An information event was held last year. I’m a member of the Law Review, and there were a number of people who took the Law Review last year who had experience in the clinic and they really just talked about that it’s a great opportunity, not only the individuals in practice serving the West Virginia community, but really beginning to hone the skills we learned in law school that are really … aligned in ways that are conducive to professional development. …

With Klinik I will also be in three other classes. So it’s going to be a little tough, especially with Law Review. But I think after working all summer and had the opportunity to do such work in the past on internships and internships, I think that it will definitely be manageable.


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