“A Message to current students about MLPS: I know there’s pressure to take all the bar courses offered, but as someone who’s gone through bar study and taken a substantial amount of bar courses, I can tell you that participating in clinics helped just as much for bar study—if not more than taking bar courses! Here are four reasons why I think you should apply to MLPS:
Wills & Trusts – The clinic helps folks with estate planning matters so you’ll cover some of the substantive law that you should know for the bar exam. You’ll work with the Probate Code often and guest speakers (experts) will lecture during the class component of MLPS to help explain these areas of law. When you graduate from law school, family members and friends will ask you about this area of law so it’s good to learn this and do some good at the same time!
Mentor(s) – Professor Yvonne Troya is an excellent professor-supervisor. She will challenge you to develop your lawyering skills in the following areas: interviewing, counseling, writing and record/timekeeping (yes, this is very important! Especially if you aspire to be at a firm) etc. Most law students take the first two skills for granted, but you will be surprised to know that this requires skill—arguably, the most important skill you’ll need as a lawyer. You’ll meet with Professor Troya more formally every other week to discuss your work performance and areas for improvement, and informally several times throughout the week. She’s friendly, supportive, and wants you to succeed in your representation. Finally, an opportunity to get feedback in law school!
Also, when you graduate, and even now, you’ll need references. Clinic professors are the best people to be future references and mentors for you. Think: Do I know three people who can speak highly about my lawyering skills/work ethic to employers? Now is your chance to develop those relationships. I’ve gotten a couple job offers because of my work at MLPS.
Transferable Skills – You’ll be working with the elderly—an often vulnerable and neglected population, but it’s not about who you’re serving (although, you will find the work meaningful and worthwhile, trust me), but it’s about developing skills that are transferable to any job setting. I brushed upon it earlier, but also being able to tell employers that you worked effectively with clients, UCSF physicians, social workers, and attorneys is very impressive and will stand out on your resume.
And More – In Spring 2016, I worked on a case that involved issues of probate and immigration law. In addition to learning about conservatorship law, I had to consider and research immigration law because of how it affected the outcome of my case. It required us to craft a novel legal argument that ultimately succeeded in Superior Court. As you may know, immigrants need legal help in areas that aren’t only specific to immigration law, but that legal status inevitably plays a role in. In addition to this case, I had two other monolingual Spanish speaking clients—you can be the difference in the quality of representation for these folks! It’s also an opportunity to hone your Spanish in a legal setting.”
“I don’t typically work with elders in my profession [partner of criminal defense law firm]. However, I DID learn a lot from MLPS by way of communication. I often go back to some of the core principles about active listening, etc., we learned at the beginning of the MLPS clinic and apply them to my practice now. Funnily enough, a more senior attorney commented on how well I deal with clients, and she sometimes pays me hourly to deal with some of her more difficult clients. She asked how I learned how to communicate so effectively, and I spoke about how much I learned in MLPS!”