My Clinic Story

By Geoff Hafer, Fall 2016 Student Intern

Clinic this semester was really an incredible learning experience.  Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the semester for me was getting to work individually with a new client.  From the initial intake call, to document research, communications with general counsel from the opposing side, etc., I was able to handle it all.  In my opinion, that’s what makes the Clinic experience so special.  Not only are you handling real clients with real problems, but you are shaping who you are and who you will become in the legal profession.  It is important to have the right tools at your disposal, i.e. core legal curriculum, but until you start putting those tools to work it’s difficult to understand their significance.  The clinic allows you to do that under the supervision of a mentor.

In addition to my individual work experience, I was able to work on several exciting projects within our team.  We as a clinic, worked with the Secretary of State’s Office on an investor outreach project.  The final product will be one that we hope will create a long lasting relationship with the Secretary of State’s Office and will continue well beyond the end of the semester.  Coordination on the project involved communication between all six members of the clinic and really hit home the importance and significance of team work.   Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of clinic for me initially was giving up or rather sharing responsibility.  My team this semester worked exceptionally well together and accomplished far more than I could do on my own. Experiencing that kind of teamwork, where you can not only lean on each other when needed, but learn from each other and push each other to be better, is invaluable as we prepare to enter the legal profession.

My first semester in the clinic felt like an absolute whirlwind.  I was unsure of myself, afraid to even speak with a client in fear of saying something wrong, and uncertain of my work product.  But I wouldn’t take any of it back.  Near the end of my second semester now, I see it as growth.  You aren’t expected to know everything the moment you walk through the door, and trust me you won’t, but you have to be willing to learn.  I wish my fellow interns the best, thank them for their support and comradery, and know that they will all achieve great things.