June 15, 2022
Legal Clinic Leaders Series - 4L Veronique Linares
Meet the students who work directly with and in the community to provide quality legal representation to underserved individuals through our Legal Clinic Leaders blog series. We're excited to spotlight these all-star advocates and showcase the many different fields of law you can explore through our legal clinics and the wide range of opportunities available at Southwestern to gain practical lawyering skills. We hope their experiences will inspire YOU to join a legal clinic.
Meet 4L Veronique Linares
- Children's Rights Clinic, Fall 2021
Why did you decide to participate in a clinic?
I am a mother to a first-grader, and I know how difficult it can be to advocate for your child in a school setting when you are not fully informed about what they are entitled to. I wanted to help other families advocate for their educational needs and help mediate disciplinary matters with their respective schools.
What stands out about your clinic experience?
The deep connections you can make in the short time you represent these families are what stays with you forever. I will never forget the kindness and graciousness with which I was met by every client I came in contact with at the clinic.
What skills and knowledge did you learn from your clinic experience?
You learn how to hit the ground running and just go with your instincts as far as advocacy. Many school matters are time-sensitive, which means you will not always have time to review with your supervising professor before submitting forms and making calls. This experience helps prepare you for working in the field in the future by being more thoughtful with the work you produce and how you communicate.
What do you think helped take you from student to advocate?
Professor Rodriguez-Fee and Professor Waterstone are kind, non-judgmental, and above all, extremely knowledgeable in Children's Law. Having them as my resource and guides in class always gave me the confidence that I could do this and count on them for support when I needed it.
What words of advice would you have for future clinic students?
Do not underestimate the time commitment in participating in a clinic. Be prepared to put in more work than for a traditional doctrinal class, but also know that the work is so rewarding that you can easily fulfill your weekly hours and then some without feeling drained. Knowing you helped real clients at the end of the day makes all the difference.
Please provide an inspiring anecdote from your clinical work experience.
I helped represent two brothers while working in the clinic. Their mother was very eager to advocate for her children's needs as they returned to school during the pandemic, but she was uninformed about new protocols and what their needs were now that school was in person again. By advocating zealously for those boys and making sure they were getting their educational needs met, my partner and I saw them flourish and thrive by the end of the semester. They started the semester being extremely dependent on their mother and ended the semester vocal, independent, and excited to continue being back on campus. All the hours put in helping that family were well worth the payoff.
Interested in learning more about the legal clinics? Visit our Clinics page here.