Ashley Jones, 3L
|“Every client has a story. As a student attorney for the VanSickle Family Law Clinic, I learned the importance of listening to my client, building a trusting rapport, managing their expectations, and creatively shaping (and modifying) legal objectives to further that story.
In law school, there is a tendency to focus on rights, duties, and nuances of the law - and those are all essential - but the clinic offers a very special human element that is also vital to being a successful attorney. From day one, you are given real clients, with real problems, who depended on you to help them. They rely on you. No other internship or law school experience will provide you with this level of client contact and responsibility. Further, clinical experience instills a sense of confidence that most graduating law students lack going into the workforce. I am comfortable meeting with clients, communicating with opposing counsel, electronically filing pleadings, keeping track of my time, and familiar with the courthouse – all of which cannot be taught in a traditional classroom setting.
I can honestly say the clinic has been, by far, the most rewarding and best practical legal experience I have gained in law school. I strongly encourage all SMU law students to take advantage of these unique clinic opportunities. You won’t regret it!”
May Crockett, 3L
|“You don’t realize how many people need legal services until you enroll in a clinic. As a student attorney in the VanSickle Family Law Clinic, you are these clients source of power; you give them the ability to get divorced from an abusive husband, to fight for custody of their children, to adopt a step-child, and more.
In my first semester as a student attorney I was able to help with a case involving a step-parent adoption. I learned about the various requirements such as social studies, fingerprinting, background checks, amicus attorneys, and general pleadings. I filed motions, attended hearings, and regularly met with my client to explain the process. Now in my second semester at the clinic, I just finalized my clients’ stepparent adoption. Knowing that I changed my clients’ lives forever is hard to explain but it is extremely rewarding.
But beyond the satisfaction I experienced from serving my clients, this was the most practical class I have taken in law school. Every interview has asked about my experience with the clinic and each time they are genuinely impressed with how SMU offers this great program to essentially be an attorney while in law school.
This clinic is the reason why I have chosen to pursue a career in family law. I cannot stress to students enough how valuable this experience is—don’t miss out.
“The VanSickle Family Law Clinic helped our family when no other attorney would take our case. They did much more than they had to, and they helped us every step of the process. It was a difficult process, but they made it smooth.
"May Crockett and Chante Prox are an incredible team! We found the attorneys to be excellent, professional and thorough in handling our case. We feel very lucky to have met them, and don’t know what we would have done without their support. May was on our side, and we knew that we were going to be successful. She always made sure we felt comfortable and advocated for us inside and outside of the courtroom. We’re very grateful that this program exists and can provide such expertise to ordinary people like us. Thank you so much for helping to make our family complete!”
"Please extend my sincere and personal appreciation to Mr. Patterson for the outstanding work he provided in my divorce case. His actions exemplified dedication to excellent customer service; Yet, he was diligent and sensitive to the information that was provided. He was kind and courteous at all times, and he kept me well informed about the progress in my case. Mr. Patterson helped relieve a great deal of my anxiety and stress in regards to my life changing situation.Well done is better than well said and he has proved it with great effort. I would recommend this gentleman to anyone! Thank you for providing quality students with quality work ethics!"