Inside Scoop: Widener Commonwealth Civil Law Clinic

Practical experience is essential to bridge the gap from law student to practicing attorney. Participating in a law clinic provides students with the tools to bridge that gap.

Central Pennsylvania Law Clinics is a civil law clinic affiliated with Widener Commonwealth. The clinic provides legal assistance to elderly and indigent clients regarding various civil matters though certified student interns. Students who have completed three semesters of law school may enroll in the law clinic as Certified Legal Interns. Certified Legal Interns are permitted to represent clients in state and federal courts while under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Students are involved in all stages of the representation, from conducting the client interviews to appearing in court. 

Before beginning at the clinic, I previously interned with a Federal Magistrate Judge and a personal injury firm. I planned to intern with a clinic for a semester, as a way to further differentiate my practical experience. However, I valued my time at the clinic so much, I returned for a second semester as Lead Certified Intern and a third semester as a volunteer. 

While at the clinic, I have worked on numerous cases involving various areas of law. Some of which include: contract disputes; guardianships; custody; estate planning; bankruptcy; landlord tenant; divorce; and unemployment compensation. Although COVID-19 has generally hindered our ability to develop professional relationships and interpersonal skills, the clinic has remained opened and allowed for a point of access to these intangibles.[1]

The clinic has been rewarding far beyond my professional growth. My time with the clinic has allowed me to use my education to give back to the local community. 

I am thankful for my time with Central Pennsylvania Law Clinics and the great relationships I have built with clients and staff. My one piece of advice is that if you have the opportunity to participate in a pro-bono clinic take advantage of that opportunity, give back and develop your skills! Your community, career, and future self will thank you. 

[1] While abiding by social distancing guidelines and restrictions provided by the CDC. 

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