Aspiring law students often seek a well-rounded education that goes beyond textbooks and lectures, aiming to leave law school with theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Grace Dunnehoff ’24, a third-year law student at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) David A. Clarke School of Law, shared her insights on the General Practice Clinic and the Community Development Law Clinic, emphasizing the significance of experiential learning in her legal education.
Dunnehoff’s decision to choose UDC Law was grounded in its strong emphasis on practical experience. She shared, “It was very important to me that I left law school with not only knowledge of the law but with practical experience.” The clinical program at UDC Law offers students the opportunity to put their classroom knowledge into action. Dunnehoff continued, “The clinic is where I am able to put into practice everything I learned in the classroom.” Her journey through the clinics at UDC Law has been transformative.
One notable aspect of Dunnehoff’s experience is that she had the privilege of participating in clinics that were both transactional and litigation focused. She reflected on her most memorable moments, “My biggest highlights were leading a board meeting and appearing before a judge in a Civil Protection Order hearing.” These experiences allowed her to build confidence in her abilities.
Dunnehoff noted the professional advantage of participating in clinics. She observed, “The biggest takeaway from my clinic experience is how impressed employers are…when you are applying for internships during law school that you have participated in two clinics.” Her clinic experiences played a crucial role in securing her 2L summer internship with the federal government, a significant achievement in her budding legal career.
Dunnehoff offered valuable advice to fellow and future law students, encouraging them to explore clinics outside their comfort zones. “I would tell students to try a clinic that is in an area of law where you have no prior experience. You will be amazed at what you find you love and what you find you are not as passionate about,” she said. This insight emphasizes how clinic program participation assists students in uncovering their legal interests.
Grace Dunnehoff’s experience underscores the integral role that the UDC Law clinical program plays in shaping the careers of aspiring lawyers.