The dictionary defines awesome as something that is “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear; extremely good or excellent.” Awesome is how I define my summer at CCLS. Over the course of the summer, I had the opportunity to work in many different areas of law, and my cases ranged from child support enforcement to small claims and tax controversies.
The summer provided more than just a wide topic range for me to learn about. I also had the opportunity to develop many different skills. I prepared trial materials—and then conducted actual trials. I engaged in settlement negotiations with an opposing party; I conducted interviews and investigations; I drafted memorandum on unique issues of law and then used those to formulate legal arguments on behalf of my client. Throughout my summer I had the opportunity to be hands on in every case that I worked on. I was not just drafting memos that my boss would use to give advice to a client – with the guidance of my supervising attorney, I was giving the actual advice.
Despite all of the amazing skills I got to master, and areas of law I got to learn about, the most awesome part of this summer was the people I got to help. My clients were all truly amazing people. Each of them—the mother fighting an abusive ex-husband for unpaid child support, the father who walked through our door desperate for help enforcing his visitation rights with his young son, and all of the others—possessed a strength of character I can only hope to aspire to. There is something very sobering about being 24 years old, having gone straight from college to law school, and being given the responsibility to direct the course of action of a case that amounts to someone’s greatest concern in life. These were not simulations. These were not competition for Trial Team based on a fictional set of facts. These were real people, with real problems, and I was in charge. The confidence that comes from successfully negotiating a settlement on behalf of a client, or the joy of seeing a father walk out of the courtroom with his child whom he was denied visitation or the excitement of finding someone whom you had all but given up looking for—that is something I will never get in a classroom, and it is why CCLS is awesome.
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J. Inigo Soriano