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Student Clinic Experiences

  • Jeremy Gagas L’18

    “I took the Civil Practice Clinic during my last semester of law school, and I begin my career with confidence because of it. Lawyers of course must learn to argue and negotiate, to research the law, and to navigate court rules and procedures—the Clinic offered me practical experience in those respects. But perhaps more importantly, the Civil Practice Clinic taught me that effective advocacy requires first that we deeply understand our clients’ problems and goals. We cannot do this without listening intently and expressing genuine curiosity and compassion. Down the road, I likely will not recall exactly which legal arguments I made in Clinic, but I will certainly remember the relationships of trust I developed with clients.”

  • David Pennant L’18

    “My semester with the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic gave me the opportunity to implement some of the many concepts I learned throughout law school and reaffirmed the importance of being a competent and compassionate attorney. Learning the required legal framework is an important academic exercise but working on a matter for a real client with real ramifications reminded me of the reason I decided to attend law school. Through this experience, I have learned how to foster an effective working relationship with my clinic partner, diligently working together to achieve a favorable outcome for our client. Starting the semester with a court date on the docket allowed us to methodically develop a timeline and kept us on task. Further, the opportunity to manage my own case, administratively and substantively, has taught me to better manage my time by prioritizing tasks and being flexible while also staying organized. Overall, this experience has provided me with clarity about the type of pro bono work I would like to dedicate my time to as a practicing attorney.”

  • Danielle Sekerak L’18

    “As a student in the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic, I worked alongside another law student and a student from Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice to achieve favorable outcomes for youth clients. One of the most important lessons I learned was how to navigate roadblocks in real time. I think it is an underrated skill to be able to manage a case while it is unfolding rather than reading about it after-the-fact, as is the norm in our doctrinal classes. Because I was challenged to respond to and engage with the unpredictability of the legal profession as a student in the Clinic, I felt prepared to graduate from Penn Law and tackle issues like trauma, immigration, and insurance head-on.” 

  • John Wray L’17

    “The Supreme Court Clinic took my writing to a whole new level and taught me to think about law in a dynamic and multifaceted way that has proven invaluable in every area of the law, even outside the confines of Supreme Court litigation. Getting to work so intimately on a real Supreme Court case is an honor few lawyers– let alone law students– ever achieve, and it was an experience I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

  • Samar Jha L’15

    “My work at the Detkin IP Clinic had a massive impact on my career in public policy and government affairs. My clients at the Clinic were non-profits, for-profits, and entrepreneurs. This is exactly the kind of people you interact when you work in the public policy field. The Clinic prepared me for this phase of my career. And Professor Cynthia Dahl is probably the best professor/supervisor I have ever had. I always say, if I am 10% of what Professor Dahl is, I can safely call myself to a good lawyer.”

  • Tara Grigg Garlinghouse L’14

    “I would not be nearly as successful in my job right now if I had not taken the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic. During the clinic I spent hours learning how to interview a client, communicating with outside parties, going to court, and receiving mentorship during challenging client experiences. Working with youth in foster care is unlike any other practice — it requires empathy, fortitude, and managing the multitude of complex issues facing an adolescent client. Learning that all in clinic allowed me to start day one of my job ready to practice.”

  • Anna Deknatel L’14

    “The Civil Practice Clinic was formative and foundational in developing the skills that I now use in providing client-centered civil legal services. There is simply no better way to learn to lawyer than being given the responsibility for a client from intake to the courtroom. The clinic professors supported us as we learned the building blocks of case management, and also challenged us to use those tools to vigorously advocate for our clients and to creatively find solutions to meet our clients’ goals. I am enormously grateful that Lou Rulli’s in the voice of legal insight and wisdom in my head as I start my career.”

  • Sean Grammel L’13

    “I chose to attend Penn Law precisely because of opportunities like the Child Advocacy Clinic.  It was an exciting, interdisciplinary program where we learned from experienced practitioners and colleagues from a variety of backgrounds. We got first-hand experience as advocates, appearing on behalf of our client in Family Court and federal immigration proceedings. And the skills I learned in the Clinic — interviewing, oral advocacy, client communications — have all benefited my post-law school career.”

  • Dwayne J. Bensing L’12

    “The Mediation Clinic was one of my favorite courses at Penn. And, it turns out, extremely useful: just two weeks ago I successfully mediated my first matter between a complainant and school district in my role as an attorney with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The skills learned in the Mediation Clinic were imperative to this success, and I look forward to applying those skills in future matters.” 

  • Dustin Marlan L’12

    “As a third-year law student, my interest in public service led me to participate in the Penn Law Legislative Clinic, where I had the privilege of working as a legislative intern at the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. Interning for Senator Bob Casey of my home state of Pennsylvania was fantastic; however, the most profound aspect of my experience was Professor Rulli’s related classroom seminar, which combined realistic simulated exercises with theoretical and policy-oriented discussions. The Legislative Clinic provided me great context into the legislative drafting process, as well as the opportunity to reflect deeply on my own professional development goals. The experience ultimately motivated me to pursue a clinical teaching career path where I am able to similarly combine introspective pedagogy with pragmatic advocacy.”

  • Sarah Carroll L’11

    “Participating in the Supreme Court Clinic was a formative professional experience for me, and it was a great capstone to my time at Penn Law. I’m now an appellate litigator for the federal government, and I routinely draw on the great lessons that Professor Bibas and the other clinic faculty taught us. My work in the clinic helped me practice thinking creatively, while also crafting rigorous and meticulous legal arguments. The clinic also gave me a great opportunity to get to know Professor Bibas and other faculty members, who have served as important mentors for me during and after law school.”

  • Spencer Pepper L’11

    “Thanks to the Legislative Clinic, I secured an internship with the House Budget Committee when now-Speaker Paul Ryan was its chairman, giving me a front row seat to the federal government’s budgetary process. In our seminars, Professor Lou Rulli did a masterful job weaving together the Clinic’s coursework with my experiences in D.C. My participation in the Legislative Clinic gave me a unique perspective on the legislative process, which I continue to find helpful in understanding the intricacies of current events in D.C. today.”

  • Conor Lamb L’09

    “Thanks to the Civil Practice Clinic, the first case I ever tried was a case that mattered. I was given the chance to defend a family that did not deserve to be kicked out of public housing, and I will never forget the feeling of walking to the courthouse that day. I felt like I could take on the world, because Lou Rulli was with me and his moral example left me with no doubt that we were doing the right thing. Since then, I’ve turned to that memory before every trial as a military and federal prosecutor, and it reminds me that trial advocacy is about much more than technique; it starts with being on the right side, and telling the truth.”

  • Judd Grossman L’04

    “I have the highest regard for Professor Rulli and the Civil Practice Clinic.  I can confidently say that no program better prepared me for the practice of law than my semester in the Clinic. Not only did it afford the opportunity to actually litigate cases, but under Professor Rulli’s tutelage and mentorship, we learned how to approach the difficult decisions that litigators face on a daily basis — whether the matter involves $500 or $500 million. The Clinic and Professor Rulli are the very best in their field, and I am so happy to congratulate them on this wonderful milestone.”