Jump Starting my Legal Career

By G. Kevin Mathis, Fall 2019 Investor Advocacy Clinic Student Intern

I enrolled in the Clinic thinking that I could gain some valuable practical legal experience.  I expected to support Professor Iannarone as she handled FINRA arbitration claims.  I thought my fellow clinic colleagues and I would meet with Professor Iannarone weekly to receive a few assignments, give her updates on my progress, ask some questions, and seek advice.  I did receive experience I sought but not as I expected.

The other clinic interns and I did meet with Professor Iannarone weekly but not so that she could direct us on how we could support her.  We met with Professor Iannarone so that she could offer us her support.  Professor Iannarone expected us to act as more than just supportive interns.  I learned that to gain the practical legal experience I sought I needed to fully engage and immerse myself in real-world legal issues.

Thanks to the Clinic I learned to identify legal issues in a law school setting that was not a timed hypothetical.  I was able to analyze legal matters for individuals who would normally not be able to receive legal assistance.  While helping these individuals I was able to learn how to use incomplete information to identify legal issues and draft substantive legal documents.     The Clinic gave me an opportunity to truly experience law practice while under the supportive guidance of Professor Iannarone.

My Clinic experience gave me the opportunity to gain more than just some practical legal experience.  The Clinic gave me a chance to jumpstart my legal career.