Mustafa Karim is a second-year law student at McGeorge School of Law. Photo by Ashley Golledge.

Working at the Elder and Health Law Clinic at McGeorge School of Law has been my greatest law school experience thus far. I am gaining the confidence and necessary practical skills I need to become a successful attorney.

During the summer of 2021, I was a law clerk at a local civil practice firm, Wilke Fleury LLP. I knew that I wanted to work in civil law and decided that the Elder and Health Law Clinic would be the perfect fit for me. During my time at Wilke, I also worked with a couple of alumni from the Clinic who highly recommended that I join.

I have been a student attorney at the Clinic since fall 2021. The best part about working at the Elder and Health Law Clinic is that we function as an actual law firm and get to represent our very own clients from the beginning, when they walk into the Clinic with a legal issue, to end, when we close their case. While working on cases, we get a vast amount of exposure to real-life lawyering such as conducting client interviews, managing case files, performing legal research, drafting demand letters, drafting estate planning documents, conducting depositions, communicating with opposing counsel,  and even representing a client in court.

These different exposures to real-life lawyering have taught me a wide variety of skills that I know I will take with me once I become an attorney. For example, my legal research and writing skills have improved since I joined, and I have become more comfortable with public speaking.  Also, our supervising attorneys, Melissa Brown and Lacey Mickleburgh, do an excellent job pushing us to become better working professionals.

We get a wide variety of legal matters that come across our desks, such as elder financial abuse, probate, civil litigation, landlord/tenant, Social Security, estate planning, and restraining orders.  I recently closed out an estate planning case where I created a trust, pour-over will, and a healthcare power of attorney for my client. I am currently working on a landlord/tenant issue, a probate matter, a restraining order, and a civil litigation case.

The most fulfilling aspect of working at the Elder and Health Law Clinic is knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life who truly needs our assistance. In addition, it is enriching to be able to provide legal services to the elderly and low-income community members of Sacramento.

Overall, the Elder and Health Law Clinic has given me the tools I need to become a successful attorney. The invaluable hands-on experience is nothing like sitting in a classroom reading textbooks. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in civil practice.

By Mustafa Karim, a second-year law student at McGeorge School of Law.