McGeorge School of Law alumni who participated in the Federal Defender Clinic spend time at the Federal Defender’s Office: (from left to right) Kendra Hall, Taylor Arthur, Alex Atkinson, Citlaly Santana-Garcia, Christopher Conde, Jacob Mendelson, and Desirae Sanchez.

McGeorge School of Law students collectively dedicated an impressive 63,993 hours of public service to the community during the 2022-2023 academic year. This outpouring of public service concretely demonstrates the law school’s and the students’ dedication to making a positive impact on our community.

The students’ provided services through two primary channels: the law school’s seven legal clinics, and the law school’s externship program, which places law students in government agencies and courts and non-profit organizations that focus on legal issues. Students in the externship program dedicated 43,465 hours, while those involved in the legal clinics contributed 20,528 hours. These efforts not only provided invaluable support to various organizations and individuals but also offered students practical experience in diverse legal settings. These totals do not include the hours students contribute in volunteer positions or assisting self-represented citizens during the law school’s annual Pro-Se Help Day.

In the legal clinics, students worked on impactful projects, such as asylum cases, assisting clients who are unhoused with legal barriers to securing jobs and housing, mediations between prisons and prison inmates who allege civil rights violates, and the development of proposed statutes, such as AB 2090, a bill that recently was approved by the California State Assembly Committee on Agriculture and moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Under the guidance of experienced faculty, students in these clinics provided ethical, competent, and compassionate legal services, significantly enriching their professional and personal development.

Professor Melissa Brown, Director of the Elder & Health Law Clinic, emphasized the impact of these experiences on students, noting that this hands-on approach allows students to have a profound impact on client’s lives while shaping students into empathetic and effective legal professionals:

“It’s impossible to quantify the service to the community our law students have provided for over fifty years and continue to provide. Their clients place their trust, secrets, and confidence with our students, who in turn provide ethical, competent, and compassionate legal services. In turn, our students benefit from their experiences and interaction with those in the community who they have the privilege of assisting and navigating through some of the most difficult and emotional times in our clients’ lives,” Brown remarked.

The externship program, which is managed by Professor Colleen Truden, ’04, places students in governmental, non-profit, and judicial settings, including the United States District Court, Caltrans, My Sister’s House, the Children’s Law Center, the California Victims of Crime Resource Center (housed on the McGeorge campus), the Yurok Tribal Court Prosecutor’s office, district attorney and public defender offices, and numerous state departments. These placements allow students to engage in critical legal work that enhances the capacity of these organizations to serve the community.

Professor Truden highlighted the indispensable role of McGeorge externs in providing high-quality legal services, saying “many of these offices could not provide the level of legal services to the community without the committed and excellent work of their externs including researching, drafting and writing, conducting discovery, negotiating, client interviewing and representing them in court, and more.” The commitment and expertise of these students have been instrumental in supporting the operations of their externship sites, underscoring the vital partnership between McGeorge School of Law and the broader legal community.

McGeorge School of Law celebrates the outstanding contributions of its students and remains committed to fostering a culture of public service and professional excellence. The dedication of these future legal professionals exemplifies the school’s mission to serve the community while providing a top-tier legal education.

For more information about McGeorge School of Law, visit our website.

Media Contacts: