The opportunity to stand up for social justice is drawing more and more students to the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
"More of our students come in with an interest in seeing justice done, seeing right prevail," said former associate dean Barbara Watts, MA (Ed) '69, JD '78. "They're eager to roll up their sleeves and begin doing the right thing."
Roughly 27 percent of upper-class law students participate in the optional real-world experiences, Watts estimated. "They feel good about helping people while they're learning. It's a lot of work, but it's compelling, engaging work. And it's amazing to see how devoted they become."
The state of Ohio allows third-year law students to work with real clients under direct supervision of an attorney. The College of Law offers its students three types of real-client experiences:
Domestic Relations/Domestic Violence Clinic -- UC students represent clients seeking relief from domestic violence or legal assistance with child support, child custody and visitation. The clinic is operated in partnership with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati.
Appellate Practice Clinic -- Possibly the first program of its kind in the Midwest, the clinic lets student teams spend a year working on appeal cases for indigent defendants and argue before the court. The firm Squires, Sanders and Dempsey pays for attorney Pierre Bergeron to work with the students one day a week. In 2005, the students won a motion to keep an immigrant from being deported while his appeal was pending. The appellate clinic lasts a year so students "see all the aspects of the appeal from beginning to the end," Bergeron says. "It's kind of daunting when you first take a case on appeal. I don't want the students to be intimidated. I want them to be comfortable with the whole process."