Third-year LSU Law student Porche Saulsberry “wanted to get out of the classroom and into the courtroom.” She found the perfect fit as a student in the Family Law Clinic where students represent indigent victims of domestic violence in protective order and other family law proceedings.
The Family Law Clinic, one of six clinics in the LSU Law Clinical Program, provides students, under close faculty supervision, the opportunity to represent actual clients with real legal issues before various courts and administrative agencies. Third-year Clinic students are certified to practice law under Supreme Court Rule XX. The Law Clinic allows students to put the substantive law they have been studying into practice.
“Custody, child support and domestic disputes were the main legal issues that I faced,” said Saulsberry, who took the Family Law Clinic to gain practical experience.
The student attorneys appeared in Family Court in East Baton Rouge Parish every Wednesday during the fall 2013 semester. 134 new cases were referred to the Family Law Clinic during the fall semester. The total number of court appearances in all cases was 306. Total client contacts included 340 in-person client conferences, 290 telephone conferences with clients, and 379 conferences with defendants, opposing counsel and/or witnesses.
“Before being in the clinic, I had not taken Family Law,” said Saulsberry. “The clinic gave me a crash course of family law from a realistic approach,” she said.
“Not only does it provide an excellent service to our community, but it is highly beneficial to our students,” said John Leech, a third-year law student who took the Family Law Clinic in fall 2013. It was Leech’s interest in family law and the opportunity to litigate that led him to the Family Law Clinic.
“I feel that the Family Law Clinic was the most beneficial thing I’ve done at LSU Law,” said Leech when asked why he took the clinic. “Personally, I learn best from doing so that’s one reason why. But there’s also something to be said for taking things you’ve learned and applying them to help those who need help the most. On top of that, the clinic offered an opportunity to not only apply family law and matrimonial regime concepts to real life situations, but other areas of law, like civil procedure and even some criminal law practice concepts. It was a unique chance to pull together a lot of different concepts.”
The LSU Law Clinic is directed by Robert Lancaster, the J. Nolan and Janice D. Singletary Professor of Professional Practice and Judge Earl E. Veron Professor of Law. The Clinical program is supported, in part, by the Rick and Donna Guzman Richard Charitable Foundation. Additional information about the LSU Law Clinic can be found here.