Maureen Minson, a 3L at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, was keenly interested in civil rights and public service even before she decided to attend law school, so she was pleasantly surprised when she discovered the number of experiential learning opportunities available to her through the College’s Pro Bono Initiative. In the interview below, she describes her volunteer experiences, explains why the Pro Bono Initiative is her “favorite part” of law school, and encourages her fellow students to get involved in the College’s many volunteer service-learning opportunities.
How did you first get involved in the College of Law’s volunteer opportunities?
I came to law school to do civil rights law so when there was an opening for Rainbow Law Clinic student director I jumped at the chance. As the student director, I coordinate the student volunteers for the Rainbow Law Clinic and I make sure that things run smoothly when the clients come in.
What other clinical opportunities have you explored while in law school?
I was also the director of the Street Law Clinic for a summer and have volunteered at the Family Law Clinic, and the Expungement Clinic.
Describe some of the benefits of your Pro Bono Initiative placements.
The Pro Bono Initiative Clinics have been my favorite part of law school. They have given me a place to see the law in action, and have allowed me the opportunity to participate in it. Classes are mostly theoretical and can be very overwhelming because of it. But the clinics allow a chance to see the practical application of that theory to solving problems. This practical application gives the theory concreteness and value. It’s also a great place to meet wonderful attorneys who actually practice in the fields you might be interested in. The attorneys that volunteer with the Pro Bono Initiative are some of the best around! There is no better way to network than by working side by side with some of these fantastic attorneys.
So why should students get involved in the College of Law’s volunteer service-learning programs?
I don’t always love law school for its own sake but participating in the clinics has helped me to know that I will actually enjoy practicing law. They have helped keep me focused and renewed my motivation to do well in my studies so that I can use the amazing tools that the law gives to improve people’s lives. I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunities that the Pro Bono Initiative offers.